Social Networks of Children, Adolescents, and College Students

By Suzanne Salzinger; John Antrobus et al. | Go to book overview

is more positively related than the child network. These measures, vocabulary and total speech output, both representing the general level of language acquisition, may reflect individual differences, perhaps even differences in intelligence. Possibly at this age, when the rate of acquiring new words is very rapid (see Table 2.4) and the mean length of utterances is increasing for all children, only a minimal amount of social contact is needed for adequate development to proceed -- an idea that has been put forth by some investigators to account for the acquisition of language universals ( Newport, Gleitman, & Gleitman, 1977).

However, this hypothesis certainly does not seem to account adequately for all of the other aspects of children's language examined in this study. On the contrary, the amount and nature of the child's social contacts at this early age seem to influence, in a differential manner, both the child's linguistic competence and the communicative, or motivational, function of the child's speech. It does indeed seem to be the case that adult social contact serves a teaching role in the child's language acquisition, shaping and molding the child's speech to conform to the adult model and standards for communicative competence. On the other hand, child contact serves quite another, albeit distinct, function, that of providing children with the social stimuli that increase their motivation to communicate.


REFERENCES

Bates E. ( 1975). "Peer relations and the acquisition of language". In M. Lewis and L. A. Rosenblum (Eds.), Friendship and peer relations (pp. 259-292). New York: Wiley.

Brazelton T. B. ( 1972). "Implications of infant development among the Mayan Indians of Mexico". Human Development, 15, 90-111.

Bronfenbrenner U. ( 1979). The ecology of human development. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Camaioni L. ( 1979). "Child-adult and child-child conversations". In E. Ochs & B. B. Schieffelin (Eds.), Developmental pragmatics. New York: Academic Press.

Caudill W., & Weinstein H. ( 1969). "Maternal care and infant behavior in Japan and America". Psychiatry, 32, 12-43.

Clarke-Stewart K. ( 1973). Interactions between mothers and their young children: Characteristics and consequences. Monographs of the Society for Research in Child Development, 38 (Nos. 6-7).

Cross T. ( 1978). "Motherese: Its association with the rate of syntactic acquisition in young children". In N. Waterson & C. E. Snow (Eds.), The development of communication. London: Wiley.

DeBlauw A., Dubber C., Van G. Roosmalen, & Snow C. E. ( 1978). "Sex and social class differences in early mother-infant interaction". In O. Garnica & M. King (Eds.), Language, children, and society. New York: Pergamon Press.

Ellis S., Rogoff B., & Cromer C. C. ( 1981). "Age segregation in children's social interactions". Developmental Psychology, 17, 399-407.

Furrow D. ( 1984). "Social and private speech at two years". Child Development, 55, 355-362.

Furrow D., Nelson K., & Benedict H. ( 1979). "Mothers' speech to children and syntactic development: Some simple relationships". Child Language, 6, 423-442.

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