1st Edition

Talking to Adults The Contribution of Multiparty Discourse to Language Acquisition

Edited By Shoshana Blum-Kulka, Catherine E. Snow Copyright 2002
    360 Pages
    by Psychology Press

    360 Pages
    by Psychology Press

    This volume provides a comprehensive and in-depth analysis of the contribution of multiparty intergenerational talk in a variety of cultures to the development of children's communicative capacities. The book focuses on the complexity of the cultural and interactional contexts in which pragmatic learning occurs and re-examines certain assumptions implicit in research on language socialization to date, such as primacy of dyadic interactions in the early ages and the presupposition of a monolingual social matrix.

    One of the aims of the book is to demonstrate the degree of cultural diversity in paths of pragmatic development. Individual chapters present empirically grounded analyses of talk with children of all ages, in different participation structures and in a variety of cultures. In pursuing this theme the volume is meant to further enrich cross-cultural perspectives on language socialization by providing in each of its chapters an empirically grounded analysis of the development of one specific dimension of discursive skill.

    The nine invited chapters comprise new empirical work on the development of specific discourse dimensions. Authors have been asked also to adopt a reflexive stand on their line of research and to incorporate in the chapter a comprehensive and critical perspective on former work on the discursive dimension investigated. The discourse dimensions represented in the volume include narratives, explanations, the language of control in intergenerational and intragenerational talk, the language of humor and affect, and bilingual conversations. The volume offers a rich spectrum of cultural variety in pragmatic development, including studies of American, Greek, Japanese, Mayan, Norwegian, and Swedish children and families.

    Contents: Editors' Introduction. Part I: Issues in the Development of Extended Discourse: Narratives and Explanations. D.E. Beals, C.E. Snow, Deciding What to Tell: Selecting and Elaborating Narrative Topics in Family Interaction and Children's Elicited Personal Experience Stories. A. Georgakopoulou, Greek Children and Familiar Narratives in Family Contexts: En Route to Cultural Performances. V.G. Aukrust, "What Did You Do in School Today?" Speech Genres and Tellability in Multiparty Family Mealtime Conversations in Two Cultures. S. Blum-Kulka, "Do You Believe That Lot's Wife Is Blocking the Road (to Jericho)?" Co-Constructing Theories About the World With Adults. A. Nicopoulou, Peer-Group Culture and Narrative Development. Part II: The Language of Affect and Humor: Pragmatic Developmental Perspectives. C. Hérot, Socialization of Affect During Mealtime Interactions. R. Nevat-Gal, Cognitive Expressions and Humorous Phrases in Family Discourse as Reflectors and Cultivators of Cognition. A. Fasulo, V. Liberati, C. Pontecorvo, Language Games in the Strict Sense of the Term: Children's Poetics and Conversation. Part III: Issues of Context and Culture in Pragmatic Development. P. Brown, Everyone Has to Lie in Tzeltal. K. Aronsson, M. Thorell, Voice and Collusion in Adult-Child Talk: Toward an Architecture of Intersubjectivity. H. Kasuya, Bilingual Context for Language Development. C.E. Snow, S. Blum-Kulka, From Home to School: School-Age Children Talking With Adults.


    Shoshana Blum-Kulka, Catherine E. Snow

    "Readable, well edited, and relevant, the papers demonstrate what can be learned about children's language acquisition by investigating the mixed-age, multiparty linguistic environments that play a large role in linguistic and social development. This informative and exciting collection is highly recommended for institutions with graduate programs in child language acquisition."

    "...Talking to Adults represents an important contribution to the field of language development. The range of cultures and contexts for interaction discussed sheds light on study of input to children. The dialogues presented throughout the book provide colourful examples of the topics considered."
    Child Language Teaching and Therapy

    "...this volume achieves its aim to increase awareness among readers of the importance of rethinking and broadening the 'social context' employed until now by most empirical research in the field of language socialization. It is thought-provoking and interesting reading for all people working in the area of language and social development in the child, but also for novices in the field."
    Language in Society

    "...it provides a strong descriptive basis for further, more focused study of effects on children. Another contribution of the volume is its very rich variety of language vignettes, which are a wealth of resouces for students of child language."
    Contemporary Psychology APA REVIEW OF BOOKS