ROSEMBERG Celia Renata
congresos y reuniones científicas
Are SES differences related to the proportion of nouns and verbs in toddler?s linguistic environment? A study with an Argentinean Spanish-speaking population
Workshop; Workshop on Infant Language Development (WILD2019); 2019
Institución organizadora:
Universität Potsdam
This study explores the vocabulary composition (nouns and verbs) of the input to which Argentinian Spanish-speaking children are exposed in their daily experiences. Findings from cross-linguistic studies highlight the fact that specific properties of the input could explain the distribution of nouns and verbs in child production (eg.: Choi & Goptnik, 1995; Tardif, Shatz & Naigles, 1997). While these studies showed that certain aspects of language structure determine input characteristics, other studies provided evidence that activity contexts and caregiver-child interactional routines that configure the child linguistic experience shape what the children receive and grasp from their input and therefore early vocabulary composition (Tardif, Gelman & Xu, 1999; Jackson Maldonado, Peña & Aghora, 2011; Stoll, Bickel, Lieven & Paudial, 2012). Given that socio-economic background frequently implies, variations in these socio-cultural and pragmatic aspects and in input frequency this study asks whether socio-economic status (SES) implies differences in the characteristics of children?s linguistic environment and consequently in the vocabulary they access. SES has been shown to have an effect on the proportion of child-directed speech (CDS; Rowe, 2008; Rosemberg, Alam, Stein Migdalek, Menti, Scaff & Cristia, 2017); thus, from a naturalistic perspective, it is relevant to study the entire language environment surrounding the child, comparing the distribution of nouns and verbs in CDS and overheard speech (OHS). The participants of the study are 20 infants and their caregivers, from low and middle SES (10 females, age: 14 months) residing in the metropolitan area of Buenos Aires. Children were audio-recorded for 4 hours, using a digital recorder in a vest, without the presence of the researcher. The middle 2 hours of each child?s recording were transcribed using the CHAT format (40 hours). The input was analysed in CLAN (MacWihnney, 2000), and coded for CDS and OHS. Nouns and verbs were identified using MOR command for Argentinean Spanish. Following Stoll, Bickel, Lieven & Paidyal (2012) the noun-verb ratio was calculated. Logistic regression analyses showed that middle SES toddlers heard a greater proportion of nouns than verbs in CDS than in OHS; the opposite was observed among low SES toddlers. This difference seems to indicate that in middle SES households children might hear a greater proportion of referential language, that is of words refering to entities, such as concrete objects that can be seen, heard, or touched, and which may be used in joint attention contexts, (Hoff, 2006, among others). The fact that the opposite is observed in low SES households ? a significantly lower proportion of nouns than verbs in CDS than in OHS ?could reflect the fact that, in these households, utterances addressed to the child are to a greater extent commands aimed at regulating children?s behavior in activities in which they are not necessarily the center of attention; as it was previously noted in several studies (e.g.Hoff, 2013; Sperry, Sperry & Miller, 2018).