ROSEMBERG Celia Renata
congresos y reuniones científicas
Children´s Talk About the Future. A Study with three social groups from Buenos Aires, Argentina
Congreso; Society of Research in Child Development Biennial Meeting; 2011
This study aims to analyze the future talk that children from different social groups in Buenos Aires, Argentina -children from marginalized urban neighborhoods, Toba native suburban communities and middle class families with university educationproduce while interacting at home and in their communities. The theoretical perspective assumes that discourse development results from human cognitive and linguistic organization as well as from cultural models expressed through linguistic forms and social interaction (Nelson, 2007). That is why this study explores eventual differences in the future accounts produced by the three groups of children considering the way in which children’s accounts fit functionally into the social context and how this is reflected in the textualization processes. Recent studies that have shown how adult–child interaction affects the production of narratives of future events (Hudson, 2006), indicate that conversational analysis is a fruitful approach to understanding how children learn to think and talk about the future. The data consists of 150 episodes of child talk about future events produced by 36 children (4:5), 12 of each group. The units of analysis are interactive episodes that include a child contribution of at least 2 utterances referring to a future event. The analysis considers a) whether the narration was auto- or hetero-regulated, b) the way in which it is rooted into the context -in the “here and now” activity, in the ongoing conversation or displaced from the immediate context and not related to the ongoing conversation-, c) some linguistic resources used by children to express temporality and causality in the accounts. Findings showed that in the three groups, auto-regulated narratives were far more frequent than hetero-regulated ones. There were no important differences in the way the children fit their auto-regulated accounts in the interactions: most of the children’s contributions were rooted in the “here and now” activity to codify events in the very near future. Accounts rooted in the ongoing conversation -either in its general topic, in another account of a habitual event, a personal experience or a future event- were less frequent. Children’s contributions that had no evident relationship to the activity or to the ongoing conversation were very rare. Quantitative differences between the groups were found regarding the linguistic resources they used: temporal adverbs -“después” (after/later), “antes” (before), “mañana” (before)- ,causal conjunctions -“porque” (because)- temporal constructions or conditional constructions, were used more frequently by middle class children. To elaborate accounts rooted in the “here and now” activity children from marginalized populations and from native communities used less than 2 resources average per narrative (1.31, 1.51) while middle class children used 2.10 resources. The three groups of children differed even more regarding the use of linguistic resources in the accounts rooted in the ongoing conversation (middle class children: 3.67 resources per account, children from marginalized populations: 1.17, indigenous children: 1.07). All the children showed difficulties in using the linguistic resources considered to elaborate narratives which were displaced of the spatial and discursive context (middle class: 1; urban marginalized: 0.8; native communities: 1).