WORKING PARENTS' CONVERSATIONAL RESPONSES TO THEIR TWO-YEAR-OLD SONS (LINGUISTIC INPUT, LANGUAGE ACQUISITION).
AuthorDEMETRAS, MARTHA JO-ANN.
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractDespite claims by some theorists to the contrary, investigators have shown that information about grammatical errors is available to young children learning language via the conversational responses of their parents. The present study described five categories of responses in the conversations of working mothers and fathers to their normally developing two-year-old sons, and investigated whether any of these responses were differentially related to well-formed vs. ill-formed child utterances. Subjects were six middle-class, monolingual (English) parent-child dyads. Parents worked full-time jobs and the children were enrolled in full-time daycare. Within a two week period, four 20-minute conversational samples were audio and video recorded for each dyad in the subjects' homes during freeplay activities of the subjects' choice. Results indicated that the pattern of responses for these six parents was very similar to that reported for other parent-child dyads. The most frequent type of response for all parents was one that continued the conversation without either repeating or clarifying the child's previous utterance. The least frequent type of response was one that explicitly corrected portions of the child's utterance. Of all responses, repetitions--both clarifying and nonclarifying--appeared to be the type of response most differentially related to well-formed and ill-formed child utterances. Exact repetitions were more likely to follow well-formed utterances, while the remaining repetitions were more likely to follow ill-formed utterances. This pattern of differential responses was similar for all six dyads. Very few differences regarding the style or pattern of interaction were noted for fathers and mothers. Implications were drawn regarding the nature of linguistic input that is available to two-year-old children learning language.
Degree ProgramSpeech and Hearing Sciences