ERIC Number: ED201399
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1981-Apr
Reference Count: 0
"If That's What You Mean, Why Didn't You Say So?": Differential Uses of Maternal Action-Directive Sub-Types.
Schneiderman, Maita H.
Ways in which mothers adjust the explicitness of their speech to the capabilities of their children were explored among 38 mothers and 40 of their children. All children ranged in age from 1 1/2 to 3 1/2 years. Children were grouped by mean age in 6-month intervals, with eight subjects per group, and paired with their mothers. Each mother-child pair participated in a 1/2-hour naturalistic interaction focused on the child's toys. Two observers each taped on separate tape recorders whenever the mother made a verbal request for any action. Six months later, 15 of the mother-child pairs, three at each mean age, participated in a second session conducted like the first. Identified action-directives were classified into one of three sub-types: Standard Imperatives, Embedded Imperatives, and Implied Action-Directives. The results show a simple progression: the less sophisticated the child, the more explicit the mother's speech to him or her. Cross-sectional analyses show that Standard Imperatives declined significantly with increases in the child's age. Implied Action-Directives increased in a linear fashion with the child's age. Embedded Imperatives increased to age 2 1/2 and then decreased. Longitudinal analyses indicate that mothers used a significantly lower proportion of Standard Imperatives and a significantly greater proportion of Implied Action-Directives in the second session than they had in the first. The change in Embedded Imperatives was consistent with the cross-sectional analysis. The analysis of maternal repetition sequences indicated that mothers used a more explicit sub-type when children failed to obey less explicit sub-types. (Author/RH)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Directive Speech
Note: Paper presented at the Biennial Meeting of the Society for Research in Child Development (Boston, MA, April 2-5, 1981).