FROM THE MOUTHS OF BABES. . . AND MOMS - An Analysis of Mother-Child Interaction: Focus on the Mothers’ Questions

Maria Corazon Aspeli-Castro


This study revealed the important role of adult input in the development of children’s communicative competence. The results of the investigation showed that mothers asked more questions that were meant to gauge the children’s linguistic and cognitive development. The mothers also used a variety of verbal and nonverbal communication strategies and techniques (i.e.,repetition, extension, expansion, preformulation, reformulation, gestural support, use of deixis, and contingent queries) that help the children develop their pragmatic skills such as turn-taking, initiating, maintaining and closing conversations, noticing and responding to nonverbal features of the interaction, observing conversational principles and knowing how to respond to questions. In addition, this study also showed that the mothers’ discourse styles strongly influenced the quality of responses from children. Variation in speech style often signaled to the children important aspects of the context which needed to be considered before formulating a response.

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ISSN: 2012-0788