Four master–dog dyads were studied to determine whether the language that is used in speaking to dogs (doggerel) resembles the language that is used in speaking to children (motherese). The structural properties of doggerel are strikingly similar to those that have been reported for motherese. Certain differences between motherese and doggerel may arise in functional and social areas. The similarities between the two language registers suggest that motherese is not elicited in response to either the linguistic level or the cognitive/intellectual level of the child. Rather, the social responsiveness of the listener may be sufficient to elicit the motherese register.
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