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Effect of Interaction Type on the Characteristics of Pet-Directed Speech in Female Dog Owners

Abstract : Recent studies focusing on the interspecific communicative interactions between humans and dogs show that owners use a special speech register when addressing their dog. This register, called pet-directed speech (PDS), has prosodic and syntactic features similar to that of infant-directed speech (IDS). While IDS prosody is known to vary according to the context of the communication with babies, we still know little about the way owners adjust acoustic and verbal PDS features according to the type of interaction with their dog. The aim of the study was therefore to explore whether the characteristics of women's speech depend on the nature of interaction with their dog. We recorded 34 adult women interacting with their dog in four conditions: before a brief separation, after reuniting, during play and while giving commands. Our results show that before separation women used a low pitch, few modulations, high intensity variations and very few affective sentences. In contrast, the reunion interactions were characterized by a very high pitch, few imperatives and a high frequency of affectionate nicknames. During play, women used mainly questions and attention-getting devices. Finally when commanding, women mainly used imperatives as well as attention-getting devices. Thus, like mothers using IDS, female owners adapt the verbal as well as the non-verbal characteristics of their PDS to the nature of the interaction with their dog, suggesting that the intended function of these vocal utterances remains to provide dogs with information about their intentions and emotions.
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Contributor : Administrateur Hal Nanterre <>
Submitted on : Tuesday, February 28, 2017 - 10:45:35 AM
Last modification on : Tuesday, November 19, 2019 - 9:35:40 AM



Sarah Jeannin, Caroline Gilbert, Gérard Leboucher. Effect of Interaction Type on the Characteristics of Pet-Directed Speech in Female Dog Owners. Animal Cognition, Springer Verlag (Germany), 2017, ⟨10.1007/s10071-017-1077-7⟩. ⟨hal-01478437⟩



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