Are Some Parents' Interaction Styles Associated With Richer Grammatical Input? Purpose Evidence for tense marking in child-directed speech varies both across languages (Guasti, 2002; Legate & Yang, 2007) and across speakers of a single language (Hadley, Rispoli, Fitzgerald, & Bahnsen, 2011). The purpose of this study was to understand how parent interaction styles and register use overlap with the tense-marking ... Research Article
Research Article  |   August 01, 2013
Are Some Parents' Interaction Styles Associated With Richer Grammatical Input?
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Colleen E. Fitzgerald
    University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign
  • Pamela A. Hadley
    University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign
  • Matthew Rispoli
    University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign
  • Correspondence to Colleen Fitzgerald: fitzger7@illinois.edu
  • Editor: Carol Scheffner Hammer
    Editor: Carol Scheffner Hammer×
  • Associate Editor: Barbara Rodriguez
    Associate Editor: Barbara Rodriguez×
Article Information
Development / Cultural & Linguistic Diversity / Normal Language Processing / Language Disorders / Attention, Memory & Executive Functions / Research Articles
Research Article   |   August 01, 2013
Are Some Parents' Interaction Styles Associated With Richer Grammatical Input?
American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, August 2013, Vol. 22, 476-488. doi:10.1044/1058-0360(2012/11-0111)
History: Received August 17, 2011 , Revised February 16, 2012 , Accepted October 21, 2012
 
American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, August 2013, Vol. 22, 476-488. doi:10.1044/1058-0360(2012/11-0111)
History: Received August 17, 2011; Revised February 16, 2012; Accepted October 21, 2012
Web of Science® Times Cited: 3

Purpose Evidence for tense marking in child-directed speech varies both across languages (Guasti, 2002; Legate & Yang, 2007) and across speakers of a single language (Hadley, Rispoli, Fitzgerald, & Bahnsen, 2011). The purpose of this study was to understand how parent interaction styles and register use overlap with the tense-marking properties of child-directed speech. This study investigated how parent interaction style, measured by utterance function, and parent register use when asking questions interacted with verb forms in child-directed input to identify interaction styles associated with the richest grammatical input.

Method Participants were 15 parent–toddler dyads. The communicative function of parent utterances and the form of their questions were coded from language samples of parent–child play when children were 21 months of age. Verbs were coded for linguistic form (e.g., imperative, modal, copula).

Results Directives and reduced questions were both negatively related to input informativeness (i.e., the proportion of unambiguous evidence for tense). Other-focused descriptives were positively related to input informativeness.

Conclusion Predictable overlap existed between the characteristics of parents' interaction styles and register use and their input informativeness. An other-focused descriptive style most strongly related to richer evidence for the +Tense grammar of English.

Acknowledgments
Collection of archival data was supported by R15 DC005374, from the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders awarded to Matthew Rispoli. Data analysis was supported by BCS-082251 from the National Science Foundation awarded to Matthew Rispoli and Pamela Hadley. This article is based on Colleen Fitzgerald's master's thesis. Portions of this article were previously presented at the 2011 Symposium for Research in Child Language Disorders, Madison, WI. We are grateful to numerous students who assisted in data collection and analyses and especially to the participating parents and children.
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