Cultural Differences in Beliefs and Practices Concerning Talk to Children

University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada.
Journal of Speech Language and Hearing Research (Impact Factor: 2.07). 11/2002; 45(5):916-26. DOI: 10.1044/1092-4388(2002/074)
Source: PubMed


Sporadic observations of non-Western culture groups have made it clear that the large literature on child-directed talk primarily describes Western parent-child interaction patterns. The current study used a survey instrument to contrast the childrearing beliefs and related verbal interaction practices of Chinese and Western mothers of preschoolers. Stepwise regression procedures indicated that culture differences in ratings for 6 belief statements and 5 interaction patterns accounted for 66-67% of the total variance. Discriminate functions derived from the regression analyses identified members of the two culture groups with 94-95% accuracy. The findings call into question the advice commonly given to parents of children with language delay and point to specific areas where practices more harmonious with Chinese culture could be recommended.

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    • "An important qualification to this summary is that it is based primarily on research in literate, technological, primarily Caucasian Western societies. There is also much research that parent–child verbal interaction patterns are quite different in traditional, nonliterate societies, and also (in different ways) in East Asian cultures (Johnston & Wong, 2002; Ochs & Schieffelin, 1984). Although not as specifically focused on parental language as the preceding research, research in African- American communities on parent–child interaction and its predictive significance for language development has shown that both the meaning and predictive effects of specific behaviors, e.g., sensitivity, and negative-intrusive behaviors, can vary by racial group (Pungello, Iruka, Dotterer, Mills-Koonce, & Reznick, 2009; see also Dudley-Marling & Lucas, 2009, for an alternative, critical perspective on Hart & Risley). "
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    ABSTRACT: Learning outcomes: The reader will understand why correlations between parental language and rate of child language are by themselves ambiguous, and how twin studies can clarify the relationship. The reader will also understand that, based on the present study, at least two aspects of parental language style - informal language stimulation and corrective feedback - have substantial genetic influence, and that for informal language stimulation, a substantial portion of the prediction to child language represents the effect of shared genes on both parent and child. It will also be appreciated that these basic research findings do not imply that parental language input style is unimportant or that interventions cannot be effective.
    Full-text · Article · Aug 2015 · Journal of Communication Disorders
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    • "Differences in uses of social–pragmatic behaviors such as the use of directives may also have a cultural basis. Johnston and Wong (2002) found that compared to Western mothers, Chinese mothers used more directives in their speech and were less likely to follow their children's topic of conversation (for similar differences in interactions between American and Chinese mothers and their deaf children, see also Goldin-Meadow & Saltzman, 2000). Similarly, Vigil and her colleagues (Vigil, 2002; Vigil, Tyler, & Ross, 2006) found that compared to American and British caregivers, Chinese and Mexican caregivers are more directive in their communication. "
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    ABSTRACT: The relation of social and linguistic input measures to early vocabulary development was examined in 30 low-income African American mother–infant pairs. Observations were conducted when the child was 0 years, 1 month (0;1), 0;4, 0;8, 1;0, 1;6, and 2;0. Maternal input was coded for word types and tokens, contingent responsiveness, and directiveness. Children's outcome measures included productive vocabulary at 1;6 and 2;0. Patterns of social and linguistic input were highly consistent over time. Significant positive relations were found between linguistic input measures and child vocabulary development. Findings for social input measures included positive relations between directive input and child word types, which differs from previous research with European American middle-class samples.
    Full-text · Article · Oct 2012 · Applied Psycholinguistics
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    • "The training technique was highly focused – just four lexical categories of unambiguously same-shaped things that matched on no other properties. This method was remarkably effective and potentially relevant to intervening in cases of language delay (see Jones, 2003; also Johnston & Wong, 2002). However, the procedure did not mimic the natural statistics in the world –which are much messier. "
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    ABSTRACT: Young children's skilled generalization of newly learned nouns to new instances has become the battleground for two very different approaches to cognition. This debate is a proxy for a larger dispute in cognitive science and cognitive development: cognition as rule-like amodal propositions, on the one hand, or as embodied, modal, and dynamic processes on the other. After a brief consideration of this theoretical backdrop, we turn to the specific task set before us: an overview of the Attentional Learning Account (ALA) of children's novel noun generalizations, the constrained set of experimental results to be explained, and our explanation of them. We conclude with a consideration of what all of this implies for a theory of cognitive development.
    Preview · Article · Apr 2008 · Developmental Science
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