What words can’t tell:
This paper investigates the particularities of vocal communication betweenmothers who suffer from Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) and theiryoung infants. One of the characteristic signs of BPD is a marked difficulty insustaining long-term interpersonal relationships. Social interactions betweenmothers with BPD and their 3-month-old infants were found to include lessinfant participation, longer interruptions, more repetition and unvoiced sounds.The study presented in this paper highlights prosodic specificities in BPD mothers’speech to infants as well as a lack of sensitivity to infants’ emotional statesreflected in the content of mothers’ speech. It sheds light on the role of sharedemotion in enabling the first forms of human social interaction, before infantscan speak.