WHY is it that 20th-century physicists could ask some of the most grandiose questions in science, but if a researcher wondered aloud where language came from, the response was derisive at best. Not only can you not answer the question, they were told, you shouldn't even ask... New Scientist
LiveScience brings together two fascinating studies on motherese--the swooping, exagerated way that mothers speak to their babies. In the first study, scientists played different examples of English baby-talk to a group of non-literate, hunter-horticulturalists in Ecuador who speak Shuar. The Shuar-speakers could tell what the English mothers intended over 70% of the time. But baby-talk isn't just human. It turns out that rhesus monkey mothers also speak to their babies with exagerated, musical pitch.