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How Adults Talk To Young Children

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How Adults get children to attend.

Speakers depend on their listeners being  cooperative  and listening when they are spoken to.But listeners are children ,adults speakers normally have to work a bit harder. They use attention getters to tell children which utterance are addressed to them rather than to someone else,and hence which utterance they ought to be listening to. And they use attention  holders whenever they have more than one thing to say for example, when  telling story.

            Attention getters and attention holders fail into two board class. The first consist of names and exclamations. For example ,adults often use the child’s name  at the beginning of an utterance as in ned there’s car. Even four year olds know that is an effective  way to make two  adults use for talking to small children.
Another modulation adults use is whispering . if children are sitting on their laps or standing right next to them ,adults will speak directly into their ears so it is clearly they are intended to listen . speaker often rely on gestures as well and may touch a child’s shoulder or cheek for example , as they begin talking. They also use gestures to hold child’s attention and frequently look at point to objects they name or describe.
Control. The control function of language serves a number of goals: from getting a person’s attention, to establishing a social pecking order, to monopolizing a conversation. Only the first of these is relevant to baby talk, especially in phonology. Listen to mothers addressing infants. Typically, one hears a greater range of frequencies than in speech directed to adults. This range is heavily motivated by a desire to get–and hold–the baby’s attention. Intuitively, mothers seem to understand that babies attend more to novel and varied signals than to monotones. Another critical device is to increase speaking volume. A loud “Stop!” will generally get a toddler to halt in her tracks, even if she doesn’t yet understand the meaning of the word.
B.   What Adults Say To Young Children.
Adults both observe and impose the cooperative principle when they talk to young children. They make what they say relevant talking about the “ here and now “ of the child’s  world. They encourage children to take their turns and make their contribution the conversation . and they  make sure that children make their contribution truthful by correcting them.
C.   The Here And Now
            Adults talk to young children mainly about the :” here and now “ they make running commentaries on what children do, either anticipating their actions for example bulid me a tower now said just as child picks up a box of building blocks or describing what has just happened.
In talking about here and now  usually whatever is directly under the child’s eyes adults are usually very selective about the words they use. They seem to be guided by the following  assumptions :
·         Some words are easier for children to pronounce than others
·         Some word are more useful for children than others
·         Some words are hard to understand and best avoided.
Most language contain baby talk words that are considered appropriate in talking to very young children. For example, adults speaker English often replace the words for animals by words for their sounds like meow, woofwoof, or by a diminutive form adult world like kitty ( cat or doggie ). As one would expect the domains in which baby talk words are found overlap considerable with the domains young children first talk about.
Adults are selective in another way too, they omit some word and word endings and avoid other words. Adults tend to use fewer word endings ( plural  S  or possessive ‘s )and article like the or a when  speaking to two year olds than to ten year olds, and fewer to ten years old than adult.
D.    Taking Turns
From very early on ,adults encourage children to take their turns as speaker and listener in conversation. Even when adults talks to very small infants, they thrust  “ conversational turns “ upon them. During the first months of life ,adults respond to small infants as their burps,yawns and blinks count as turns in conversation. This is illustrated in the following proto- dialogue.
Mother            : hello, give me smile then { gently pokes infant in the ribs }
Infants             : { yawns}                                                                                                      
Mother            : sleepy, are you ? you woke up too early today.
Infant              : { open fist }
Mother            : { touching infants hand }. What are you looking at ? can you see
something?
 Infant             :  { grasps mother’s finger }
 Mother           : oh, that’s what you wanted . in friendly mood ,then. Come on ,give us a
smile.
            One children begin to use one and  two word utterance ,adults begin to provide both implicit and explicit information about conversational turns .  
Making correction
Adults seldom correct what children have to say , but when they do ,they only seem to do make  sure the child ‘s contribution is true. They make correct children explicitly as in example 1 or implicitly in example 2 the child’s is being corrected with regard to the truth value of the utterances but the adult also uses the corrected from the verb :
1.      Child         : { points } doggie.
Adult         : no that’s a horse.
2.      Child         : { pointing to a picture of bird on nest } bird house.
Adult         : yes the bird sitting on a nest.
E.     How  Adults Talk To Children.
Speech addressed to two years old is only half the speed  of speech addressed to others adults, when adults talk to children aged four to six, they go a little faster but still speak more slowly than they do to adults. To achieve a slower rate adults put in more pause between wordys rather than stretch out each word. Adults also use very  short sentence when talking to young children. The short sentence are generally very simple ones. There is great deal repetition in adult speech to children . one reason for this is the adult use of sentence frame  like those in the left hand .
            These repetitions provide structural information about the kinds of frame the repeated unit (here the red one ) can be used in. also these contrast are often highlighted  by emphasizing  the differences in color ( this is indicated by the capitalization ). Repetitions also allow children more time to interpret adult utterances, because they don’t have to try to remember the whole sentence.
Baby talk differs from talk between adults in characteristic ways . even addressing babies, adults voice frequently assume a higher pitch than usual. Adults also exaggerate their intonation and speak slowly and clearly . repetition and partial repetitions  ( is baby smiling at mommy? Baby is smiling at her mommy? )
F.    How Necessary Is Adult Speech?
            The fact that adults systematically modify the speech they address to very young children forces us to ask two question. First are the modifications adults make necessary acquisition . second, even if they are not necessary, are they at least helpful ?  for example, whether children could learn language if their only information came from speech they overhead between adults, or from what they heard on the radio or television. If they could, it would be clear that adult modifications are not necessary ,even if though they might be helpful.
Experiments on these topics are difficult if not impossible to devise, but occasionally a real life situation present it self in a way that provides a glimpse of the answers to these questions. For example , the hearing children of deaf parents who only use sign language . sometime have little spoken language address to them by adults until they enter nursery school.

Exposure to a second language on television constitute another naturalistic situation in which children regularly hear adults talking to each other. However the psychologist C snow and her colleagues reported that young dutch children who watched german television every day did not acquireany german. There are probably at two reason  why children seem not to acquire language from radio or television. First none of the speech on the radio can be matched to a situation visible to the child and even on television people rarely talk about things immediately accessible to view for the audience. Children therefore receive no clues about how to map their own ideas onto words and sentence. Second the stream of speech must be very hard to segment  : they hear rapid speech that cannot easily to be linked to familiar situation. All this suggest that one ingredient that might prove necessary for acquisition is the “ here and now “ nature of adult speech

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