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Title:Parent-Examiner Differences in their use of Toy Talk and its Influence on Input Informativeness
Author(s):Jansen, Brittany A.
Contributor(s):Hadley, Pamela A.
Subject(s):Toy Talk
Abstract:Input contributes to children’s grammatical development. Specifically, verbs and their overt and ambiguous evidence for tense revealed on a variety of verb forms have been found to facilitate children’s development of grammar (Hadley, Rispoli, Fitzgerald, & Bahnsen, 2011). That is, differences in grammatical properties of parent input provided to children account for a substantial portion of the between-child differences in the acquisition of tense marking. Fitzgerald (2010) has also shown that English-speaking parents who use proportionately more other-focused discourse produce proportionately more overt evidence for tense marking in their input. The purpose of this study was to describe differences in parents’ and examiners’ use of a special type of other-focused input, namely “toy talk”. It was hypothesized that examiners would produce more toy talk than parents while interacting with the same toddlers. The examiners’ levels of input informativeness for tense marking were also expected to be greater than the parents’ levels. The participants were twelve parent-child dyads and 3 trained examiners. Language samples were collected when the children were 21 months of age. Using SALT, the utterances were then analyzed to determine the amount of toy talk used by each parent and examiner. Adult sentences which contained an explicitly stated 3rd person subject that referred to an object present in the physical context were coded for toy talk. Results show that trained examiners used more toy talk and had higher levels of input informativeness than untrained parents. The discussion addresses the benefits of using toy talk to increase adults’ input informativeness.
Issue Date:2011-05-10
Publication Status:unpublished
Date Available in IDEALS:2011-07-11

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