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Title: Social class influences on speech patterns in the homes of four year old children
Author: Wootton, A. J.
Awarding Body: University of Aberdeen
Current Institution: University of Aberdeen
Date of Award: 1972
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This investigation is concerned with specifying the ways In which language use varies In the homes of young children from different social classes and the consequences this has for the complexity of the language used by the four year old. In order to assess this twenty first born four year old children were selected on the grounds that they wore representative of certain groups within semi-skilled workers and within professional/managerial workers. The sample was also equally divided between boys and girls and all children were born In Aberdeen. Speech samples were obtained with the aid of a radio microphone system which was built Into the back of a small jacket which the child wore as It walked around the home. The middle class children addressed more speech to their parents even when certain Issues (e.g. fantasy discussions) which occurred more frequently in middle class homes were omitted. Our conclusions were that this was mainly due to a larger amount of play discussion and other non-control discussion occurring in these homes and the greater length of such conversations. Class variations in control discussion were found in that middle class parents questioned their children more In such sequences, used more suggestions, fewer threats and a lower proportion of regulative statements. More marked, however, were the social variations in the extent of non-control discussion and the type of dialogue strategy adopted by parents in such sequences. Middle class parents extended such dialogue more through criticism of their children's remarks or by providing more information not minimally required. We argue that such variation in dialogue development does not lead to less elaboration of the working class children's language, that in certain respects It fosters more elaborated forms (e.g. questions), and that what Is more significant than linguistic variation in this age group is the variation In the amount of knowledge being built up about the world around them.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available