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ERIC Number: ED169787
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1978-Jun
Pages: 36
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: 0
Form and Function in Mother-Toddler Conversational Turn-Taking, Occasional Paper No. 5.
Donahue, Mavis L.
Most studies of language acquisition overlook the fact that a child learns language in the context of acquiring the social skill of conversing known as "turn-taking." The few studies of verbal turn-taking in children suggest that prosodic features (suprasegmentals) and turn-taking skills are integrated by the age of two years, nine months, and that prosodic patterns may play an important role in calibrating turn-taking. This study sought to determine what happens in the second year of life to facilitate this process. Subjects for this study were four mother-toddler dyads. The children, two boys and two girls, ranged in age from 12 to 19 months at the start of the study. Half-hour samples of each dyad's conversations were audiotaped and videotaped every two to three weeks for seven to nine months. A coding system was devised to categorize utterances within conversational exchanges. Two strategies of conversational turn-taking were discerned among the dyads: (1) one demonstrating that conversation is symmetrical and imitative; and (2) the other indicating that conversation is asymmetrical and complementary. The evolution of these strategies can be described in three phases, involving: (1) conversation-initiating strategies; (2) response-turn strategies; and (3) an increase in the use of function-based response-turns. The study suggests that children learn formal conversational conventions which effectively calibrate the language addressed to them long before the appearance of two-word constructions. (AM)
Institute for Research on Teaching, College of Education, Michigan State University, 252 Erickson Hall, East Lansing, Michigan 48824 ($1.75)
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: National Inst. of Education (DHEW), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: Michigan State Univ., East Lansing. Inst. for Research on Teaching.