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ERIC Number: ED250947
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1981-Nov
Reference Count: N/A
A Language of Families: English, Hausa and Wolof. Sociolinguistic Working Paper Number 90.
Wills, Dorothy Davis
Study of the use of baby talk in parental speech can illuminate the parent-child relationship, acquisition of adult language, the permissible modifications to language structure without diminishing meaning, and code-switching. This is illustrated in the baby talk embedded in adult-child conversation in the context of family and household in three cultures speaking Wolof, Hausa, and English. The major difference among the three societies is the frequency of interaction between different age groups in them. North American adults have less contact with any-aged children than Africans, and American children have a much smaller acquaintanceship with adults, and with other children until they start school, so they have fewer adults speaking baby talk with them. To an African, this would seem an impoverished communicative environment. Hausa and Wolof children do not appear to commence or complete their language acquisition any sooner than English-learning Americans of any ethnic group, but they do seem to become sociolinguistically competent faster. In all cases, children receive basically the same kind of talk from adults, whatever the differences in number or identity of the latter. (Author/MSE)
Descriptors: African Languages, Child Language, English, Hausa, Interpersonal Communication, Language Acquisition, Language Styles, Parent Child Relationship, Sociocultural Patterns, Sociolinguistics, Wolof
Southwest Educational Development Laboratory, 211 East 7th St., Austin, TX 78701.
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: National Inst. of Education (ED), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: Southwest Educational Development Lab., Austin, TX.