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ERIC Number: ED184066
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1980-Mar
Lexical Sharing in Mother-Child Interaction. Technical Report No. 161.
Hall, William S.; Dore, John
An investigation was conducted of socioeconomic differences in the cognitive style and content of mother/child interaction, through the use of a task in which mothers attempted to get their children to point to the target item in an array of four pictures. Subjects were 32 mother/child dyads, half black and half white. Within each ethnic group, half of the subjects were from professional class families and the other half from nonprofessional class families. The children in the sample were between four and a half and five years old and attended nursery school. All of the children in the study performed at the same high level of proficiency--98% or above. The primary focus of this study was therefore the mothers' talk--characterizing its semantic content, structural complexity, and pragmatic function, and discovering the variety of techniques and verbal strategies the mothers used to accomplish their task. Three general categories were noted: verbal relations, visual relations, and pragmatic relations. Findings indicated that social class was by far the most frequent main effect and that there were no significant differences between racial groups. The finding that working-class mothers used more requests for action and imperatives than professional-class mothers corroborates similar findings in other research. Unexpectedly, professional-class mothers used significantly more functional definitions than did the working-class mothers. (MKM)
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: National Inst. of Education (DHEW), Washington, DC.; Carnegie Corp. of New York, NY.
Authoring Institution: Illinois Univ., Urbana. Center for the Study of Reading.; Bolt, Beranek and Newman, Inc., Cambridge, MA.