el THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN MOTHERS' PRONOMINAL MODIFICATIONS AND CHILDREN'S ACQUISITION OF PRONOMINAL REFERENCE by E. JANE FEE B.A., The University of B r i t i s h Columbia, 1978 A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS i n THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES (Department of Linguistics) Ve accept this thesis as conforming to the required standard THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA October 1980 © E. Jane Fee, I98O In p r e s e n t i n g t h i s t h e s i s i n p a r t i a l f u l f i l m e n t o f the re q u i r e m e n t s f o r an advanced degree a t the U n i v e r s i t y o f B r i t i s h Columbia, I agree t h a t the L i b r a r y s h a l l make i t f r e e l y a v a i l a b l e f o r r e f e r e n c e and s t u d y . I f u r t h e r agree t h a t p e r m i s s i o n f o r e x t e n s i v e c o p y i n g o f t h i s t h e s i s f o r s c h o l a r l y purposes may be g r a n t e d by the Head o f my Department o r by h i s r e p r e s e n t a t i v e s . I t i s underst o o d t h a t c o p y i n g o r p u b l i c a t i o n o f t h i s t h e s i s f o r f i n a n c i a l g a i n s h a l l not be a l l o w e d w i t h o u t my w r i t t e n p e r m i s s i o n . Department o f L i n g u i s t i c s The U n i v e r s i t y o f B r i t i s h Columbia 2075 Wesbrook P l a c e Vancouver, Canada V6T 1W5 Date October 8. 1980 D E - 6 B P 75-51 I E i i A b s t r a c t T h i s s t u d y i n v e s t i g a t e d t h e p r o n o m i n a l m o d i f i c a t i o n s u s e d b y m o t h e r s w h e n a d d r e s s i n g t h e i r y o u n g c h i l d r e n a n d t h e i r c h i l d r e n ' s a c q u i s i t i o n o f p r o n o m i n a l r e f e r e n c e . T h e q u e s t i o n s e x a m i n e d w e r e : ( a ) h o w e x t e n s i v e l y d o m o t h e r s r e p l a c e c o n v e n t i o n a l E n g l i s h p r o n o u n s w i t h n o u n s o r u n c o n v e n t i o n a l p r o n o u n s w h e n s p e a k i n g t o t h e i r c h i l d r e n ? ( b ) a r e t h e r e i n d i v i d u a l d i f f e r e n c e s i n t h e d e g r e e t o w h i c h c o n v e n t i o n a l p r o n o u n s a r e a v o i d e d ? ( c ) w h a t a r e t h e r e f e r e n c e s y s t e m s u s e d b y y o u n g c h i l d r e n ? a n d ( d ) d o t h e s y s t e m s o f r e f e r e n c e u s e d b y m o t h e r s i n f l u e n c e t h e i r c h i l d r e n ' s l a n g u a g e i n a n y w a y ? S p e e c h s a m p l e s f r o m e i g h t c h i l d r e n a n d t h e i r m o t h e r s w e r e c o l l e c t e d i n t w o o n e - h a l f h o u r s e s s i o n s , s e p a r a t e d b y a n i n t e r v a l o f f r o m t h r e e a n d o n e - h a l f t o s e v e n m o n t h s . A t t h e t i m e o f t h e f i r s t s e s s i o n , f o u r c h i l d r e n w e r e i n S t a g e I ( B r o w n 1973) sxA f o u r w e r e i n e a r l y S t a g e I I . B y t h e s e c o n d s e s s i o n t h e f i r s t f o u r c h i l d r e n h a d p r o g r e s s e d t o S t a g e I I a n d t h e o t h e r s t o S t a g e I I I . E a c h s e s s i o n c o n t a i n e d t h r e e s i t u a t i o n s , e a c h a p p r o x i m a t e l y t e n m i n u t e s i n l e n g t h . I n b o t h s e s s i o n s t e n m i n u t e s w a s s p e n t d r e s s i n g t h e c h i l d a n d t e n m i n u t e s r e a d i n g a b o o k . I n a d d i t i o n , t h e f i r s t s e s s i o n c o n t a i n e d a p e r i o d o f f r e e - p l a y a n d t h e s e c o n d a d i s c u s s i o n o f a s e t o f p h o t o g r a p h s o f t h e m o t h e r a n d c h i l d . T h r e e t y p e s o f a n a l y s e s w e r e p e r f o r m e d . T h e f i r s t e x a m i n e d t h e m o t h e r s ' u s e a n d a v o i d a n c e o f p e r s o n a l p r o n o u n s a t S e s s i o n 1, a n d t h e c h i l d r e n ' s s y s t e m s o f n o m i n a l a n d p r o n o m i n a l r e f e r e n c e a t S e s s i o n 2. T h e s e c o n d w a s a c o r r e l a t i o n a l a n a l y s i s b e t w e e n t h e m e a s u r e s o f m a t e r n a l s p e e c h a t S e s s i o n 1 a n d c h i l d s p e e c h a t S e s s i o n 2. F i n a l l y , d i f f e r e n c e s b e t w e e n t h e i n d i v i d u a l r e f e r e n c e s y s t e m s o f t h e m o t h e r s a n d c h i l d r e n w e r e e x a m i n e d . T h e r e s u l t s s h o w e d t h a t t w o t y p e s o f s u b s t i t u t i o n p r o c e s s e s r e p l a c i n g c o n v e n t i o n a l p r o n o u n s c o u l d i i i be found i n the mothers' speech. The most common process, called 'objectification', was the use of proper nouns or kinship terms for f i r s t or second person pronouns. F i r s t person plural pronouns or third person pronouns were also used as replacements for f i r s t or second person pronouns, although less frequently. When using conventional pronouns, mothers used the second person more often than the f i r s t , and subjective case pronouns more often than objectives or possess-ves. The use of second person reference decreased as the age of the child increased. Children at Stage II used nominal and pronominal reference to approximately the same extent, but by the time Stage III was reached pronominal reference was used almost five times more often than nominal reference. Children were sensitive to the reference systems used by their mothers. Their use of individual pronouns changed over time as their mothers' use of the same forms changed. It was also found that children's use of nominal reference was positively related to the mothers* use of objectification at an earlier time. The more objectifications used by a mother, the slower her child would be to encode referents i n a pronominal mode only. Two explanations of the interrelatedness of maternal and child reference systems are possible. Following the explanation given by Newport, Gleitman and Gleitman (l977)» the maternal speech may have had an effect on children's acquisition of personal reference because the latter i s a language-specific aspect of speech. Alternatively, i t may be that children are sensitive to only those aspects of the input language, such as mother's reference systems, which vary from speaker to speaker. i v Table of Contents .Page Abstract . . . . . . . ' i i List of Tables i v Acknowledgements v Chapter 1. Introduction Background 1 The Present Study 8 Chapter 2. The Acquisition of Pronominal Reference The English Pronominal System 12 The Child's Acquisition of English Pronouns . . . . 15> The Pronominal System of Baby Talk 21 Chapter 3. Method Subjects 26 Materials 28 Procedure 29 Analyses 30 Chapter 1+. Results Mothers' Use and Avoidance of Conventional Pronouns . 36 Children's Systems of Pronominal and Nominal Reference 39 Correlations 1+3 Individual Variation 1+7 Chapter $. Discussion The Systems of Reference Bk Relationships Between the Two Systems 57 Bibliography 61+ V L i s t of Tables Page Table 1. The English personal pronouns 12* Table 2. Measures of general linguistic a b i l i t y for two groups of children and number of utterances produced by two groups of dyads at two sessions 27 Table 3» Pronouns used by two groups of mothers at Session 1 37 Table I I. Nominal objectifications and pronominal substitutions used by two groups of mothers at Session 1 38 Table $. Pronouns used by two groups of children at Session 2 UO Table 6. Nominal reference and non-standard pronouns used by two groups of children at Session 2 U2 Table 1. Correlations l\k Table 8. Correlations between measures of Group 1 mothers' and children's speech at Sessions 1 and 2 1+6 Table 9 . Eight mothers* use and avoidance of pronouns at Session 1, and eight children's pronominal growth and pronominal a b i l i t y at Session 2 Acknowledgements I wish to thank the eight mothers and their children for their time, their comments and their patience. I would also l i k e to thank the four experimenters involved i n the data collection and transcription: David Ingram, Judy Lapadat, Renate Preuss and Sou-mee Tse. 1 ^Chapter 1. Introduction In recent years there have been numerous investigations into the characteristics of the language used by mothers to address young children. Studies have shown that speech to young children i s simpler than conversational speech between adults, as measured by MLU (cf. Drach 1969» Fraser and Roberts 1975, P h i l l i p s 1973, Snow 1972), type-token ratio (Drach 1969, Broen 1972, P h i l l i p s 1973, Remick 1976), the number of complex sentences used (Pfuderer 1969» Snow 1972) and semantic complexity (Cross 1978, Snow 1977). Also, a special lexicon of baby talk words, generally derived from adult lexical items, exists i n most languages (Ferguson 1961+) • Lastly, the prosodic characteristics of child-directed speech d i f f e r from those used when addressing adults (Garnica 1977» Remick 1976)* The above studies, and many others like them, have demonstrated that the language children hear i s not nearly as 'meagre and degenerate' (Chomsky 1968, p. 88) or 'fragmentary' (Chomsky 1977» p. 7) as has been suggested. While the above studies suggest a speech register shared by a l l speakers, several f a i r l y recent studies have reported s t y l i s t i c differences of individual mothers. In the f i r s t important study of this kind, Nelson (1973) identified two types, which she cal l s referential and expressive. This classification i s based upon variation within the lexical and grammatical parameters of speech. Referential mothers talk mainly about objects i n the child's environment, ask questions a great deal of the time, and are relatively concise i n what they have to say. Expressive mothers, on the other hand, spend much more time commenting on the child's behaviour and tend to be more discursive. Children may be classified as referential or expressive, although mothers and their children do not - 2 -n e c e s s a r i l y h a v e s i m i l a r s t y l e s . L i e v e n (1978a, 1978h) f o u n d a m a r k e d d i f f e r e n c e i n t h e t u r n - t a k i n g a b i l i t i e s o f t h r e e m o t h e r - c h i l d d y a d s . T h e m e m b e r s o f o n e d y a d r e s p o n d e d m o r e o f t e n t o e a c h o t h e r ' s q u e s t i o n s a n d c o m m a n d s a n d w e r e m o r e l i k e l y t o r e s p o n d a p p r o p r i a t e l y t o a p r e c e d i n g u t t e r a n c e t h a n t h o s e o f t h e o t h e r t w o d y a d s . A s t u d y e x a m i n i n g v o i c e o n s e t t i m e h a s f o u n d e v i d e n c e o f p h o n o l o g i c a l v a r i a t i o n i n m o t h e r s ' s p e e c h . B a r a n , Z l a t i n L a u f e r a n d D a n i l o f f (1977) i n v e s t i g a t e d t h e a d u l t a n d c h i l d -d i r e c t e d s p e e c h o f t h r e e m o t h e r s o f c h i l d r e n w h o w e r e n o t y e t p r o d u c i n g m e a n i n g f u l s p e e c h . O n e m o t h e r h a d a s l o w e r r a t e o f s p e e c h a n d s h o w e d a s i g n i f i c a n t d i f f e r e n c e i n t h e n u m b e r o f m e a s u r a b l e s t o p c o n s o n a n t s p r o d u c e d i n t h e t w o c o n t e x t s t h a n t h e o t h e r t w o m o t h e r s . T h e a u t h o r s s u g g e s t e d t h a t t h i s p a r t i c u l a r m o t h e r w a s e n c o d i n g v o i c e o n s e t t i m e m o r e o f t e n i n h e r c h i l d - d i r e c t e d s p e e c h , i . e . w a s b e i n g m o r e c a r e f u l i n h e r p r o d u c t i o n o f s t o p c o n s o n a n t s . G i v e n t h a t m o t h e r s a d j u s t t h e i r s p e e c h , a n d t h a t t h e y m a y v a r y i n t h e e x t e n t t o w h i c h t h e y d o i t , m o s t r e c e n t r e s e a r c h h a s b e e n c o n c e r n e d w i t h t h e r e a s o n s f o r t h e s e c h a n g e s , a n d t h e e f f e c t s o n t h e c h i l d . F e r g u s o n d e f i n e s t h r e e m a i n t y p e s o f b a b y t a l k p r o c e s s e s ; s i m p l i f y i n g , c l a r i f y i n g a n d e x p r e s s i v e . S i m p l i f y i n g p r o c e s s e s a r e t h o s e w h i c h s u b s t i t u t e s i m p l e u n m a r k e d s o u n d s f o r m o r e d i f f i c u l t o n e s , h a r m o n i z e v o w e l s , r e d u c e i n f l e c t i o n s , a n d r e p l a c e p e r s o n a l p r o n o u n s b y k i n s h i p t e r m s o r p r o p e r n o u n s . T h e s e p r o c e s s e s a r e n o t n e c e s s a r i l y u n i v e r s a l , s i n c e t h e y d e p e n d b o t h u p o n t h e s t r u c t u r e o f t h e t a r g e t l a n g u a g e a n d t h e b a b y t a l k s y s t e m d e v e l o p e d b y a p a r t i c u l a r s p e e c h c o m m u n i t y . T h e s e c o n d s e t o f p r o c e s s e s a r e t h o s e w h i c h c l a r i f y p a r t i c u l a r a s p e c t s o f l a n g u a g e f o r t h e c h i l d . C l a r i f y i n g p r o c e s s e s i n c l u d e r e p e t i t i o n s , e x a g g e r a t i o n s o f i n t o n a t i o n c o n t o u r s , a n d s l o w , c l e a r l y - 3 -enunciated speech. The third type, the expressive and identifying processes, are the most commonly recognized components of "baby talk. These are processes such as the use of hypocoristic and diminutive affixes, euphoniams, higher pitch and 'softening' of particular speech sounds, which may a l l be adaptations to the child's way of speaking. Reviewing Ferguson1s article, Brown (1977) claims that simplification and clarification processes both result from a desire to communicate with the child and to be understood, and that both may be combined under a more general connminication-clarification function of baby talk. A consequence of these intentions may be that some aspects of language are taught to the child, although Brown stresses that language teaching is not a conscious, primary intention of mothers. Specific research has investigated the determinants in the child's speech which lead to maternal speech modifications. Cross (1975» 1977) studied the verbal interactions of 16 mothers and their second-born children in hour long play sessions, examining both the child's productive and receptive abilities. Correlations between the maternal and child variables showed that mothers were more sensitive to the children's receptive abilities than to age or productive ability. Mothers' MLTJ's were maintained at a level slightly above their children's but other syntactic variables did not seem to be consistently related. Van Kleeck and Carpenter (1979) on the other hand, found that while children's receptive abilities may have had some influence on mothers' speech modifications, this certainly was not the major factor involved. - k -Another issue that can be raised concerns the effects of mothers' speech on the child's linguistic development. This question has been examined i n a number of f a i r l y recent longitudinal studies. Ringler (1978) examined relationships between the speech of ten mothers when their children were approximately two years of age, and the children's speech at age f i v e . She found that the mothers who used the largest number of words per proposition when their children were two years of age had children with larger receptive vocabularies and who produced more phrases containing four c r i t i c a l items at five years. The use of adjectives was positively correlated with expressive a b i l i t y at f i v e , while the number of content words addressed to the child was negatively correlated with this same variable. The proportion of imperatives used to the child at two was negatively correlated to the child's MLU at age five. Although cause and effect could not be assigned, i t was apparent that even over a three year span, some consistent relationships could be found between a mother's speech and her child's. The most important study of the relationships between maternal speech and the linguistic a b i l i t i e s of young children was performed by Newport, Gleitman and Gleitman (1977)• Speech samples from 1$ mothers and their daughters were collected at two time periods, six months apart. At the time of the f i r s t session the children were divided into three age groups: 12-15 month olds, 18-21 month olds and 21+-27 month olds. The children's speech was analyzed for syntactic complexity and total vocabulary size for both sessions. A growth rate measure was then computed by finding the difference between these scores at the two sessions. A growth rate measure was then computed by finding the difference between these scores at t h e t w o s e s s i o n s * C o r r e l a t i o n s w e r e c a l c u l a t e d , r e l a t i n g s t y l i s t i c a n d s y n t a c t i c a s p e c t s o f t h e m o t h e r s ' s p e e c h t o t h e c h i l d ' s g r o w t h r a t e , a g e a n d l i n g u i s t i c a b i l i t y , a f t e r p a r t i a l l i n g o u t t h e c h i l d ' s a g e a n d l i n g u i s t i c a b i l i t y a t t h e i n i t i a l s e s s i o n . T h e f i n d i n g s s u g g e s t t h a t c e r t a i n l a n g u a g e s p e c i f i c a s p e c t s o f c h i l d r e n ' s s p e e c h , s u c h a s t h e n u m b e r o f i n f l e c t i o n s u s e d p e r n o u n p h r a s e a n d t h e a c q u i s i t i o n o f a u x i l i a r i e s a n d m o d a l s , w e r e i n f l u e n c e d b y t h e m o t h e r s ' s p e e c h . C h i l d r e n ' s u s e o f c o m p l e x s e n t e n c e s , c o n s i d e r e d b y N e w p o r t e t a l . a l a n g u a g e u n i v e r s a l m e a s u r e , w a s n o t a f f e c t e d b y a s p e c t s o f t h e m o t h e r s ' l a n g u a g e u s e . T h e a u t h o r s b e l i e v e d t h a t t h e p r o d u c t i o n o f c o m p l e x s e n t e n c e s w a s d e p e n d e n t u p o n g r o w t h o f t h e c h i l d ' s o w n c o g n i t i v e a n d l i n g u i s t i c a b i l i t i e s , n o t t h e l i n g u i s t i c e n v i r o n m e n t p r o v i d e d b y t h e m o t h e r . T h e s e c o n d m a j o r f i n d i n g w a s t h a t f e a t u r e s o f t h e m o t h e r s ' l a n g u a g e c o u l d o n l y b e h e l p f u l t o t h e c h i l d i f t h e y f i t t h e c h i l d ' s l i s t e n i n g b i a s e s . M o t h e r s ' u s e o f d e i x i s , f o r e x a m p l e , w a s i n s t r u m e n t a l i n t h e c h i l d ' s a c q u i s i t i o n o f n o u n p h r a s e i n f l e c t i o n s . A s e n t e n c e l i k e ' t h o s e a r e b a l l e t s l i p p e r s ' w o u l d d i r e c t t h e c h i l d ' s a t t e n t i o n t o t h e n o u n p h r a s e a n d h o p e f u l l y t o t h e p l u r a l i n f l e c t i o n a s w e l l . A s i m i l a r b u t m o r e r e c e n t s t u d y w a s p e r f o r m e d b y F u r r o w , N e l s o n a n d B e n e d i c t (1979)* A t t h e b e g i n n i n g o f t h e s t u d y , t h e s e v e n c h i l d r e n w h o p a r t i c i p a t e d w e r e 1;6, w i t h M L T J ' s o f 1.0 t o 1.1+. T h e s e c o n d s e s s i o n t o o k p l a c e n i n e m o n t h s l a t e r w h e n t h e c h i l d r e n w e r e 2;3. T h e m o t h e r s s p e e c h w a s a n a l y z e d u s i n g a n u m b e r o f s e m a n t i c a n d s y n t a c t i c m e a s u r e s t h a t h a d b e e n u s e d i n p r e v i o u s s t u d i e s , a n d t h e c h i l d r e n ' s s p e e c h w a s a n a l y z e d u s i n g a s u b s e t o f t h o s e u s e d i n t h e N e w p o r t e t a l . s t u d y . C o r r e l a t i o n s w e r e c o m p u t e d b e t w e e n t h e m o t h e r s ' s p e e c h c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s a t t h e f i r s t ; - 6 -session and the children's at the second. Furrow et a l . found that complexities i n the mothers' speech were negatively correlated with the children's language development. The greater number of words, pronouns and verbs per utterance used by a mother, the slower her child's linguistic development. Pronouns were considered syntactically more complex than their noun alternatives, while verbs were less concrete and consequently more d i f f i c u l t to learn than nouns. The factors positively related to language growth were interjections and the number of nouns per utterance. Furrow et a l . also attempted to determine i f mothers' speech to children differed from normal adult-to-adult speech i n just those characteristics that should be beneficial to the child. It was predicted that for variables which have a lower mean i n adult-to-chiL d speech, there would be negative correlations between mothers' use of this variable and children's language growth. The opposite should be true of variables which have lower mean frequencies i n adult-to-adult speech. Unfortunately, adult-to-adult speech samples were not obtained from the mothers i n this study, and the predictions were based on means reported i n studies by Newport (1977) and P h i l l i p s (1973). Eleven of the 12 correlations were i n the predicted direction, although only five were significant. Furrow et a l . conclude that some of the characteristics which cause child-directed speech to d i f f e r from speech addressed to adults f a c i l i t a t e language growth. There are a number of problems with the type of study that has been designed to examine the effects of mothers' speech on language acquisition. One i s that the effects are often investigated by means of significant correlations found between measures of maternal and child speech. The nature of correlations i s such that the presence of possible confounding - 7 -variables make i t extremely d i f f i c u l t to assume a cause and effect relationship between any two primary variables. A researcher may usually only speculate on the direction of possible effects. In studies of verbal interaction confounding variables may be numerous, due to naturalistic settings and the assumptions that are often made. For example, i t i s often assumed that the mother i s the most important source of input i n the child's environment. This may no longer be true, especially i n the academic environments that are so often studied. A second major d i f f i c u l t y concerns the features of baby talk that are investigated, and the amount of specific information that i s given on any one feature. A very limited number of features, usually grammatical i n nature, have been the focus of a great many studies. These are often examined only as part of a larger research question, and so information on specific features i s lacking. Specific characteristics of the child-directed speech code must be examined i n greater detail i f we are to determine why these characteristics exist, and i f and how they influence the process of language acquisition. Studies of the effect of the linguistic environment on the child have been too few to determine whether features of baby talk may be clas s i f i e d according to their effects, as well as by function. Two features may be the result of adults attempting to c l a r i f y or simplify language for the child, but may have t o t a l l y different ways of influencing the child's speech. Newport, Gleitman and Gleitman (1977)» for example, propose that only language-specific aspects of the child's speech, or those features that relate to the surface representations of speech, may be influenced - 8 -by maternal input. This kind of proposal, however, only begins to answer the above question. It i s also necessary to determine which aspects of the mother's speech may have an effect, and whether there are different kinds of language-specific effects. And, just as importantly, whether semantic, syntactic and phonological features dif f e r i n the kinds of effects they produce. The Present Study In this study, the feature of baby talk which replaces the conven-tional pronouns of English with nouns or unconventional pronouns was examined. Ferguson (1977) c l a s s i f i e d the process replacing f i r s t and second person pronouns by nouns of kinship terms as a s i m p l i f i e s -tion process of baby talk. It i s simplifying to the extent that the adult pronominal system i s reduced to a level more easily handled by children. Several questions regarding this feature were addressed: 1. To what extent does this characteristic exist as a general feature of English baby talk? 2. What are the systems of personal reference used by young children? 3. Do a l l mothers avoid conventional pronouns to the same extent?, and 1+. Does the reference system used by a mother have an effect upon the language-learning child? In order to investigate these questions samples of mother-child verbal interaction at two times were collected. Two groups of children, at different ages and linguistic levels, and their mothers participated. The feature of pronoun avoidance was examined i n detail i n the maternal samples to determine the extent to which individual mothers diff e r i n the use of this feature. The kinds or pronominal reference used by children - 9 -was also examined, again noting individual differences. In Newport, Gleitman and Gleitman (1977) i t was found that variation i n maternal speech styles was s t i l l i n evidence when the variation caused by the different ages and linguistic a b i l i t i e s of the children being addressed was partialled out. In the present study, different styles were immediately apparent because the children within each group were approximately the same age and had comparable linguistic a b i l i t i e s . Newport et a l . also found that children's growth rates differed, even when their ages and linguistic a b i l i t y were partialled out. Again, because the age and linguistic level of the children i n the two groups of the present study were approximately the same, i t was possible to examine these differences. The reference systems used by children at the two times were examined, allowing measures of growth to be determined. To investigate the f i n a l question above, correlations between the maternal and child variables were calculated, although the relationships found are subject to the previously mentioned limitations. The correlations were to demonstrate the kinds of relation-ships that existed between ( l ) a mother's use and avoidance of pronouns at the f i r s t session and the child's general linguistic a b i l i t y at this time, (2) the mother's use and avoidance of pronouns at the f i r s t session and the child's use of pronominal and nominal reference at the second session and, (3) the child's use of pronominal and nominal reference at the second session and his or her general linguistic a b i l i t y at that time. It was predicted that there would be negative correlations between mothers' avoidance of pronouns and the measures of children's speech, and that there would be positive correlations between mothers' use of pronouns and measures of the children's speech. No predictions were made as to the direction of - 10 -the relationships "between mothers' pronominal systems at the f i r s t session and the children's at the second. I t was predicted that measures of the child's use of pronominal reference would be positively related to general speech measures, while the relationship between nominal reference and measures of general linguistic a b i l i t y would be i n the opposite direction. A f i n a l caveat regarding the term 'baby talk' must be inserted here. This term has been used with a number of distinct meanings i n the literature. In one sense baby talk refers to the speech of very young children, usually with special reference made to the kinds of words used. A second meaning refers to the speech used by adults to address children, but with special reference to the lexical items, hypocoristic affixes and higher pitch that i s often indicative of this special register. These are often considered the characteristics that may be consciously controlled. For example, when a mother protests the use of baby talk, i t i s usually these features which she w i l l try to avoid when conversing with her child. The f i n a l meaning also refers to the speech of adults to children, but may be used even i f i t i s not characterized by special lexica l items or paralinguistic features. In this sense the term 'baby talk' i s interchangeable with 'child-directed speech 1, 'adult-to-child speech' or 'speech modifications'. In the present study 'baby talk' w i l l be used i n this third sense, mainly because of the d i f f i c u l t i e s involved i n separating those features of adult-to-child speech which are used consciously and with intent from those that seem to be controlled by some internal notion of how one speakB to a child. In summary, three sets of analyses were performed i n the present study: 1. An i n depth analysis of mothers' use and avoidance of pronouns at one point i n time and an i n depth analysis of children's systems of nominal and pronominal reference at a later date, - 11 -A correlational analysis between measures of maternal and child speech, An analysis of the differences between individual mothers and children on measures of their pronominal systems. Chapter 2. The Acquisition of Pronominal Reference The English Pronominal System Deixis i s the system of pointing out or indicating objects or people i n relation to discourse participants. Deictic terms include pronouns, demonstratives, adverbs of place, come and go, etc. Person deixis i s the system which determines the relationship between the persons referred to i n an utterance and the speaker and hearer. By using a particular personal pronoun i t i s possible to indicate the relationship between an utterance and the speaker, listener or person talked about, or to refer back to a person mentioned i n an earlier utterance. In the present study the system of person deixis used by mothers when speaking to their children and the system used by young children w i l l be studied. The particular focus w i l l be the non-conventional personal pronouns that are used to refer to either the speaker or hearer. I w i l l not be examining 'anaphora', the system of syntactic cross-referencing of pronouns and their referents. Children's early utterances generally refer to concrete elements i n the immediate environment, and thus do not contain complex anaphoric elements. One of the major complexities of the English personal deictic system concerns the problem of 'shifting reference' (Bruner 197U/5* Clark 1978, Jespersen I96I+). It i s usually assumed that words refer to persons, objects, events or ideas i n the real world. In order that the speaker of any one language understands other speakers, these referents are neces-sar i l y fixed and stable. When a word i s used the speaker's mental representation of that word must be approximately the same as the listener's. - 12 -- 13 -Personal pronouns, however, have "been called 'shifters' because they do not have fixed referents. I. i n ordinary discourse, refers to the person who i s at that moment speaking and you i s used by the speaker to refer to the person spoken to: Thus the indicators I_ and you cannot exist as potentialities; they exist only insofar as they are actualized i n the instance of discourse, i n which, by each of their own instances, they mark the process of appropriation by the speaker. (Benveniste 1971, p. 220). A knowledge of the reciprocal roles involved i n discourse i s necessary before one can possibly determine the referents of either of these pronouns. The personal pronouns of English are given i n Table 1. (Since this study focuses solely on the personal pronouns used when children and their mothers refer to themselves or to each other, the neuter pronoun i t w i l l not be dealt with at a l l ) . Each pronoun has different forms as i t s grammatical role within a sentence changes. Three different cases, subjective, objective and possessive, are marked, showing the relationship between the pronouns and the verb of the sentence. The subjective case i s used only when the pronoun occurs directly before the main verb i n the surface representation of a sentence. I f the pronoun i s preceded by a preposition, i f i t i s a direct or indirect object, or i f no verb i s present, the objective cased i s used: - Ik -Table 1. The English personal pronouns. Subjective Objective Possessive Prenominal Substitutional Singular F i r s t Person Second person Third person you he, she me you him, her my your his, her mine yours his, hers Plural F i r s t person we Second person you Third person they us you them our your their ours yours theirs I fed the horse The horse was fed by me. She'd go i f she could. He wants her to go. He gave me the book. He gave the book to me. Q. Who did this? A. I did. Q. Who did this? A. Me. The genitive or possessive case generally has two forms: the prenominal when the pronoun precedes a noun, and the substitutional when the pronoun replaces an entire noun phrase: This i s my_ blanket. This i s mine. Where i s her new dress? Where i s hers? -1$ -The Child's Acquisition of English Pronouns Pew empirical studies have investigated how children acquire the f u l l pronominal system of a language, although a large number have looked at specific problems influencing this acquisition. Many of the early studies examined the pronouns produced by large numbers of children (e.g. Davis I93O t Groodenough 1938* McCarthy 195U) while the more recent ones have looked i n detail at the pronominal systems of individual children (e.g. Huxley 1970, Strayer 1977). Many of these authors have observed that children i n i t i a l l y use proper nouns or kinship terms i n place of pronouns, and that this usage may con-tinue long after some pronouns have been learned. Menyuk (1969), for example, notes that the two children she studied used names to refer to themselves and kinship terms such as Mommy or Daddy to refer to others u n t i l approximately 2^ years of age. Strayer (1977» 1979) found these same forms i n the speech of her young subjects. She proposes that the use of nouns for pronouns allows the child to overcome the reference confusion, since proper nouns do have fixed and stable referents. Children vary a great deal i n the extent to which they make use of nominal reference. Bellugi (1971) studied speech samples from Adam, and found that he was using his name much more often than the f i r s t person pronoun at 28 months. Huxley (1970) found that one of the two children i n her study often substituted names for both I_ and you, and did so u n t i l more than three years of age. Sentences such as the following occurred frequently i n this child's speech: 'Douglas give letter', 'Douglas able to stand i t up', 'Douglas want this' (Huxley 1970, pp. 160-161). The - 16 -second child i n the study (Katriona) used substitutions of this kind much less frequently. Bloom, Lightbown and Hood (1975) studied four children who were using one of two systems of reference. The two boys, Eric and Peter, encoded the majority of objects pronominally i n their early multi-word speech. The g i r l s , Kathryn and Gia, used a predominantly nominal system of encoding. Their nominal encodings included forms such as proper nouns and kinship terms. By the time an MLU of 2.5 was reached, a l l four children expressed affected-objects nominally and agents pronominally. In a chapter on norms of development, Gesell and Armatruda (19U7) state that by 30 months of age children have generally ceased using nominal reference when referring to themselves. The transition from nominal to pronominal reference may take several months or even years, and may often be visible i n children's dialogues. Both Adam and Gia used two versions of a sentence i n a single conversation, one with nominal encoding, the other pronominal: 'Adam write/l write', 'Mommy read/You read' (Brown 1973, P. 211), 'Gia l i e down/l l i e down' (Bloom et a l . 1975. P. 20). Douglas, from Huxley's study, f i r s t produced I_ at 31 months but often substituted other pronouns or his name u n t i l 39 months of age. Katriona used I at the beginning of the study when she was only 2% months, and by 31+ months had i t well established i n her system. Strayer (1977) gives 22.2 months as the mean age when four subjects f i r s t produced I_. The children studied by Sully (1895) produced I i n i t i a l l y at anywhere from 19 to 29 months. Each of these authors agrees that I i s the f i r s t personal pronoun used appropriately by children. - 17 -There has "been very l i t t l e research i n the order of acquisition of the f u l l pronominal system of English, or the age at which individual pronouns, other than I, are learned. Markey (1928) discusses a number of trends that characterize the way children learn pronouns. He states that there i s a tendency for: 1. "The personal pronouns to appear i n the order: 1. f i r s t person; 2. second person; 3» third person". 2. "The subject-pronoun to appear before the possessive pronoun i n each case". 3. "The subject 'I', 'we' and 'they* to appear before object 'me1, »us» and 'them'". (Markey 1928, p. 77). Based on the age when eight children f i r s t produced pronouns, Markey gives the following order of acquisition of f i r s t and second person pronouns: I_, you, me, my, your. Strayer (1977) gives a slightly different order based on the mean age at f i r s t production for four children: J_, my_, me, you (subject), your, you (object). In a study by Morehead and Ingram (1973) the order of acquisition of personal pronouns was related to the linguistic level of the children. Using 1$ normal subjects, i t was found that I was acquired f i r s t , when children had an MLU of slig h t l y over 2.00, at approxi-mately 20 months of age. Me. and my_ were acquired next, by an MLU of approximately 2.75 (21 months) followed by you, your, she and them at an MLU of approximately 3*70 (33 months). We, he, they, us, you, him and his were acquired by the time an MLU of approximately k*5 was attained, and the rest had been learned by the time the children's MLU's were approximately 5.5* Thus a l l three authors would agree that the f i r s t and second person pronouns are among the f i r s t acquired. - 18 -There are three main d i f f i c u l t i e s that children may encounter i n learning the pronominal system of English. The f i r s t concerns the acquisition of the I-you subsystem. Clark (1978) and Shipley and Shipley (1969) discuss two hypotheses children may adopt to understand personal pronouns. The f i r s t i s called 'absolute* comprehension. If the child understands pronouns i n an absolute manner, he w i l l assume that each pronoun has a specific fixed referent. Since parents are heard using I_ to refer to themselves, their children may assume that I_ means the same thing as Mommy or Daddy. Since you i s used by the parents to refer to the child, the child may f i r s t assume that i t i s merely a substitute for the child's own name. The second hypothesis i s that of 'relative' comprehen-sion, where the child immediately recognizes the shifting nature of the system, 1_ refers to the speaker, whether i t be a parent or the child, and you to the listener or addressee. Strayer (1977) gives three stages i n the development of this hypothesis. At f i r s t the child recognizes you when i t i s used to address the child, and can use I_ correctly i n self-reference. At the second stage, the child realizes that IE can also refer to the mother when she i s speaking and you to her when she i s listening. Only at the f i n a l stage does the child generalize these rules and conclude that 1^ refers to the person talking and you to the listener. There are reports of children who appear to have i n i t i a l l y chosen the f i r s t of these two hypotheses (Clark 1 9 7 8 , Cooley 1 9 0 8 , Jespersen 1 9 6 U » Sully 1 8 9 5 , YanderGeest 1 9 7 5 ) . These children produce sentences like the following: 'Will I t e l l a story?' instead of 'Will you t e l l a story?' (Jespersen 1961;, p. 1 2 U ) » 'That's your chair' instead of 'That's my chair (Jespersen 1 9 6 U t p. 12l*)t 'I carry you' instead of 'You carry me' (Cooley - 19 -1908, p. 352). This kind of confusion can occur "between 23 and 30 months of age, persisting sometimes as long as three to four months. The majority of children do, however, choose the correct hypothesis. Strayer (1977) found that even though a l l four of her subjects made pronoun reversals at some time, they were very rare. Reversals were made more often when referring to themselves than when referring to others. Shipley and Shipley (1969) note that only one child of the twenty i n their study made this type of error consistently. Huxley found no reversals i n the speech samples from her two subjects. The second stumbling block children may encounter i s the pronominal case system. Not only do children have to deal with the problem of shifting reference, but they also must learn that most pronouns have a num-ber of different case frames and several specific forms. As Bellugi (1971) points out, a simple positional analysis of adult sentences w i l l not teach a child how and when to use a specific form. T_, the subject pronoun, may occur both i n i t i a l l y , as i n 'I am going now', or sentence medially, as i n 'Bob wants to know i f I am going'. The most common case error made by children i s the substitution of objective pronouns for subjectives. This type of error has been noted by Bellugi (l97l)» Brown (1973). Huxley (1970) and Ingram and Webster (1972). Subjective pronouns are used correctly by most children by approximately three years of age, although Hatch (1969) found some preference for objective pronouns i n imitation tasks performed by older children. Pre-kindergarten and pre-second graders were asked to imitate reversible sentences of which half had the correct pronoun and half had either a subject pronoun i n an object slot, or an object pronoun i n a subject slot. It was found that the - 20 -children changed an incorrect subjective case pronoun i n object position significantly more often than an objective pronoun i n a subject slot. Several of the pre-kindergarteners even changed correct subjective case pronouns into the objective case. Reviewing the literature on children's errors i n case-marking, Tanz (197U) found that these errors could be explained by two of the operating principles proposed by Slobin (1973). Th e f i r s t principle i s 'avoid exceptions' (Slobin 1973* P» 205*). Since the objective form of the pronoun occurs i n more syntactic positions than the subjective, the most economical assumption i s that the objective case forms are the underlying ones. On this basis rules can be formulated to account for the occurrence of subjective pronouns. The second operating principle i s 'pay attention to the ends of words' (Slobin 1973* P« 191). I f the child can apply such a strategy to words, Tanz suggests that a similar rule can be applied to larger constituents such as phrases or sentences. The child w i l l then select the objective form of the pronoun as basic, since i t s position at or near the end of phrases w i l l make i t more perceptually salient. Mackie, a child studied by Gruber (1969), appeared to have chosen the objective form as the basic or more generalizeable one. In this child's speech, objective pronouns and nouns were grouped together to function as topics, with the unmarked subjective pronouns functioning as comments. This distinction was made through distributional and intonational differences between the two groups of lexical items. Gruber suggested that Mackie, and perhaps other children, do not recognize subjective pronouns as actual noun phrases or subjects of sentences, but rather as introductory particles or verbal inflections. - 21 -The third type of mistake children may make i n their use and under-standing of pronouns i s that of gender. Two experiments, one hy Ingram and Webster (1972) and the other cited i n Wales (1979) used an experimental paradigm involving the manipulation of dolls to study pronominal errors. In the Ingram and Webster study, two groups of subjects, normal and l i n g u i s t i c a l l y deviant, were tested for comprehension and production of he, she, him and her. The normal subjects ranged i n age from 3»0 to while the ages of the deviant children ranged from 5;9 to 7>8. It was found that almost half the comprehension errors made by normal subjects were of gender distinction. In the deviant group, gender errors were even more prevalent, occurring i n 31•8% of instances where pronouns were used. With the production task, be was used as a substitute for she by normal subjects, but she was never substituted for he. Him and her were used as substitutions for one another. Wales (1979) tested solely for the comprehension of personal pronouns, using two groups of children with mean ages of U>6 and 6;0. Both groups found third person references more d i f f i c u l t than either f i r s t or second. Gender was interpreted correctly 8^ 6 of the time. The Pronominal System of Baby Talk The use of personal pronouns i n child-directed speech has been examined recently by Strayer (1977, 1979) and Wills (1978). Wills (1978) investigated the speech addressed to one child learning French and English and to four monolingual English speakers. This study focused on the kinds of reference used by parents that were departures from the conventional system of pronominal reference. The most frequent departures from this system were the following: (where S=Sender and R=Eeceiver) - 22 -Objectification S —»3P H —»3P Unification S — » w e R — 7 we Disassociation S — » ^ R >jr4 The substitution of third person pronouns, proper nouns or kinship terms for f i r s t and second person singular pronouns (rules 1 and li) i s called objectification. This process may be further broken down into the components: S or R —>kinship term or name, and S or R >3rd person pronoun. This division allows one to study the process replacing a f i r s t or second person pronoun by a noun separately from the process replacing a f i r s t or second person pronoun by a non-conventional pronoun. Kinship terms replace I_ more frequently than third person pronouns, although both may occur i n a single sentence, e.g. 'You come to mean old mama, she'll put i t on ya', 'Mommy's got holes i n her shoes' (Wills 1978, p. 278). Substitutions for second person pronouns were the most frequent type of baby talk reference found by Wills. The process of objectification, according to Wills, obscures the individual roles of sender and receiver by placing them i n the larger category of people referred to by name. This blurs the distinction between the parent and child, at least i n a linguistic sense. By objectifying, pronouns the parent also allows the child to hear his or her own name more often and to learn that everyone may be addressed i n a number of ways. Ferguson (196I4., 1977) and Jespersen (196I4.) report that objectification i s a cross-cultural phenomenon. - 23 -In Serbo-Croatian, adults frequently use kinship terms i n place of pronouns, often doing so u n t i l the child i s more than four years of age (Jocic 1978)» It i s unusual for Japanese parents to begin using f i r s t and second person pronouns u n t i l long after their children have reached school age (Fisher 1970). Objectification has further been attested i n Marathi (Kelkar 1961+), Romanian (Avram 1967) and Dutch (VanderGeest 1975). In a comparative study of English and Spanish baby talk, Blount and Padgug (1977) found that although parents i n both cultures often used nouns to replace pronouns when speaking to their children, this process occurred more frequently i n Spanish than English. Both VanderGeest and Jocic believe that objectification i s an adaptation to the child's limited linguistic system, aimed at f a c i l i t a t i n g the child's understanding. Jespersen disagrees, claiming that the child's understanding may be aided at that moment: 'but on the other hand the child i n this way hears these l i t t l e words ([pronouns] less frequently and i s slower i n mastering them'. (Jespersen 1961+, p. 123). Wills' next category, comprising rules 2 and 6, i s called unification. This process replaces the adult I. and you by the f i r s t person plural pronoun, we. Unification blurs the distinction between the child and the parent as separate entities, emphasizing instead the dyadic unit as a whole. This kind of substitution i s most often used i n formulaic utterances such as: 'There we go!', 'We'll see ya later', or 'Up we go!'. Unification reportedly occurs i n both Serbo-croatian (Jocic 1978) and Romanian (Avram 1967). Disassociation, which deletes either f i r s t or second person pronouns (rules 3 and 5)» de-emphasizes both the entity and role of the participants - 2k -i n a dialogue. The deletion of sender most often occurs i n ritualized games such as 'gotcha', where the mother attempts to involve her child as much as possible i n the activity at hand. Second person pronouns are frequently deleted i n narratives describing the child's a c t i v i t i e s , as the mother attempts to involve herself i n the action. Strayer (1977* 1979) has also investigated parents* use and avoidance of I and you, along with their children's acquisition of these two pronouns. She found that when parents were conversing with their children, you was used more frequently than I_ by parents while children used I_ more frequently than you. Parents used personal pronouns more often than names when referring to either the child or to themselves. Children, on the other hand, used personal pronouns more often than names when referring to them-selves, but names more often than second person pronouns when referring to adults. The non-linguistic contexts of I- and you-class utterances differed significantly. Adult utterances containing I_ tended to describe ongoing act i v i t y and required a response from the child only ll$> of the time. You-class utterances were generally directed towards the child, and required verbal responses from the child almost half the time. Very l i t t l e i s known about the influence of linguistic?'input on the child's acquisition of personal pronouns, with the exception of the early acquisition of I_ and you. It i s not known i f the order i n which pronouns are acquired i s related to some aspect of the input language such as frequency of use, or whether the order i s determined by innate mechanisms. Although the use of noun substitutions and non-conventional pronouns has been studied i n adult speech to children, i t has not been determined whether these kinds of substitution processes influence the amount of nominal reference or the kinds of pronominal errors made by children. And l a s t l y , i t i s not known i f differences i n children's pronominal systems are caused by differences i n the linguistic input that i s heard. The present study was undertaken to shed light on these questions. Since the reciprocal relationship between the I-you subsystems used by children and adults has been investigaged by Clark (1978)» Shipley and Shipley (19&9) sad Strayer (1977* 1979)» "this aspect was largely ignored here. Chapter 3. Method Subjects Two groups of subjects, a l l l i v i n g i n the greater Vancouver area, participated i n the study. Each group was comprised of four mother-child dyads, a l l of which participated i n two naturalistic sessions. The ages, MLU's, upper bounds and ratios of lexical types over utterances produced for the eight children are given i n Table 2. This table also gives the number of utterances produced by each mother and child at the two sessions. The ratio of lexical types over utterances produced, designated as LT/U, was developed for the purposes of this study. This measure represents the ratio .of total number of lexical items i n the child's vocabulary to the number of utterances produced at that session. It was designed to measure the child's vocabulary size, taking into account possible differences i n sample size. Using the mean MLU's from Table 2 i t can be seen that at the i n i t i a l session the children from Group 1 were i n Stage I and those from Group 2 were i n early Stage II (see Brown 1973)* At the time of the second session Group 1 children were i n late Stage II, and Group 2 children were i n Stage III. Since one of the purposes of this study was to examine individual differences i n children's and mothers' speech, no attempt was made to control for family or socio-economic variables. Seven of the children came from two parent families. At least one of each child's parents had completed some level of post-secondary education, and i n six out of eight dyads, both parents had further education. Three of the eight mothers did not work - 26 -- 2 7 -Table 2 . Measures of general linguistic a b i l i t y for two groups of children and number of utterances produced hy two groups of dyads at two sessions Group 1 Group 2 Session Session Parameters 1 2 1 2 Children Age Mean 1 ; 5 Range 1 ; 1 + - 1 ; 7 MLU Mean 1 . 3 3 Range 1 . 1 3 - 1 . 5 3 Upper hound Mean 3 Range 3 - 1 + LT/U Mean . 2 0 Range . 1 3 - . 2 3 Utterances Mean 3 2 6 P r o d u c e d Range 2 1 + 6 - 1 + 3 0 Mothers Utterances Mean 6 2 9 produced R a n g e 5 8 U - 6 8 7 2;1 2;1+ 2;8 2;0-2;3 2;2-2;6 2;6~2;10 2 . 1 3 2 . 3 9 2.89 1 . 5 5 - 2 . 9 5 2.09-2.71+ 2.68-3.16 6 7 1 3 1+-8 5 - 9 8-19 • U 3 . 5 0 . 5 5 .1+2-.52 .1+1+-.56 .1+6-.65 2 9 5 261 1+51 1 5 7 - 3 9 U 1 7 6 - 1 + 2 7 21+3-568 1+97 1+89 657 207-71+1 2 2 5 - 6 8 1 + 36I-823 - 28 -during the day. The remaining five either worked part-time or were attending university. The children of the university and working mothers a l l attended day-care at least half-time. A l l parents had been l i v i n g i n Canada for at least eight years; six had been born i n Canada, the remaining two i n the United States. Pour of the children had no siblings, and one had twin sisters born while the study was i n session. Materials Photographs of the mother and her child, both alone and playing together, were taken by the experimenter. At least seven pictures were taken of each of the dyads, and the mothers were asked to supplement this set with pictures of their own i f possible. The photographs, which were taken approximately one week before the second session took place, were presented to each of the mothers for use at this session. I t was expected that the presence of these pictures would encourage the members of each dyad to talk about themselves and hence to increase the use of speaker and hearer reference. Richard Scarry's Best Work Book Ever (1963) was supplied by the present author for use at the second session. This book contains a large number of vocabulary items with matched pictures, supplemented by stories about day-to-day l i f e . The mothers were asked to read certain prose sections to the child and to attempt to have the child name particular objects and people i n the book. The passages and words that the mothers were to try to e l i c i t were circled i n red ink. - 29 -Procedure Speech samples from the eight children and their mothers were collected i n two one-half hour sessions. Each session contained three conversational situations, each approximately ten minutes i n length. In the f i r s t sessions, speech samples were collected while the mother dressed the child, during free-play and while reading a hook. Mothers were asked to spend ten minutes playing with their child i n whatever way was the most natural for the free-play situation. The hooks for the hook-reading situation were supplied by the mothers, and they were usually ones the child was familiar with. The second session took place approximately seven months after the f i r s t for Group 1 dyads, and approximately 3§ months later for Group 2 dyads. The interval between sessions was shorter for Group 2 dyads since i t was f e l t that the older children would be advancing l i n g u i s t i c a l l y at a faster pace than the younger children. Since the length of this interval i s essentially arbitrary, no claim i s being made that the same amount of growth would take place for both groups of children. The second session contained a dressing situation and a book-reading situation, along with a ten minute period during which the mother and her child were to discuss the photographs supplied by the experimenter. The book used for the second sessionlwas the one supplied by the experimenter. The investigator was not present at any of the sessions, but supplied a tape recorder so that the mothers could do the tape recording themselves. Each was given instructions concerning the use of cassette recorders and the volume and tone controls were preset. Although this method of taping may cut down on the amount of contextual information available to the - 3 0 -investigator or transcriber, i t was f e l t that a more natural sample of mother-child interaction would take place i f a stranger was not present. Mothers were asked to tape each of the three conditions for each session within a 1+8 hour period. On the day the tape recorder was picked up, after the f i r s t session, a 15 minute interview with the mother was tape recorded. During the inter-view, the experimenter asked the mother eight questions concerning the kind of verbal interaction she and her child usually engaged i n , and her use of and feelings toward baby talk. These interviews represented samples of adult-to-adult speech that could be compared to the samples of adult-to-child speech. Pour experimenters, including the author, were involved i n the data collection for Group 1 dyads at Session 1 . These same four experimenters conducted the interview sessions for the four mothers from Group 1 . A l l subsequent interviews and home v i s i t s were carried out by the author. Analyses Tapes from a l l 1 6 sessions were transcribed either phonetically, when a child's production did not match the target word, or i n standard orthography, when i t did. Three of the f i r s t sessions were transcribed by the experimenters conducting these sessions, although the tapes were checked and corrected where necessary by the author. A maximum of 3 5 0 maternal utterances per situation were analyzed. This had an effect on speech samples from two mothers, and i n these cases the analyses do not include utterances from the mother or her child after this cut-off point. The number of utterances analyzed for mothers and children are given i n - 31 -Table 2 . The f i r s t 100 maternal utterances addressed to the experimenter were analyzed i n the interview session. The number of f i r s t and second person pronouns and the 'objectifications* and •unifications* used by the two groups of mothers at Session 1 were determined. Objectifications occurred when a proper noun, kinship term or third person pronoun was used when a f i r s t or second person pronoun would have been used i n adult discourse. For example, i f a mother said 'Mommy do i t for you', one instance of objectification would be counted. Instances of objectification were divided into two categories: nominal and pronominal. Nominal objectification occurred when a name or kinship term was used where conventional usage required a f i r s t or second person pronoun. Pronominal objectification occurred when a third person pronoun was used where a f i r s t or second person pronoun would have been used conventionally. An example of a pronominal objectification would be a mother saying to her child, 'Mommy said that she'd do i t for you', meaning that the mother would be doing something for the child. 'Unifica-tions' occurred when the mother used any of the f i r s t person plural pronouns, we, us, our or ours, when a f i r s t or second person pronoun would normally occur i n adult speech. I f a mother said 'Let's put you to bed now', one instance of unification would be counted. For purposes of presentation the instances of unification were combined with the instances of pronominal objectification under the category 'pronominal substitutions'. Instances of Wills* 'disassociation* were excluded from the analysis for two reasons. F i r s t , i t was almost impossible to decide whether the pronoun which was omitted referred to the speaker or to the listener or hearer. Secondly, - 32 -i t was very d i f f i c u l t to determine i f the utterance i n question was an imperative or i f there was i n fact a missing pronoun i n a declarative or interrogative sentence. The number of pronoun omissions that could indisputably he isolated was so small that i t would have been meaningless to include them i n the analysis. A l l instances of f i r s t or second person pronouns used by the two groups of children at the second session were isolated. In addition, the number of particular pronominal forms used by each child at this session were determined. If, for example, a child used the pronoun I six times, the pronoun me twice and the pronoun you (subjective) a total of four times, then he or she would have used a total of three pronominal forms or types. The difference between these measures of pronoun frequency and number of pronominal forms i s a difference of tokens versus types. F i r s t and second person pronominal forms were included i n number of pronominal forms. The number of kinship terms or names that were used where a pronoun would have been used i n adult-to-adult discourse were also calculated for the children at Session 2. These are presented i n the category 'nominal reference'. I f a child, for example, said 'John do i t ' , when an adult would have said 'I/11 do i t ' , one case of nominal reference would have been counted. The number of non-standard pronouns used by each child at Session 2, such as the use of a third person pronoun i n self-reference, were also determined. In order to calculate a measure of pronominal growth for each child, the number of pronouns used and the number of pronominal forms used at Session 1 were also found for each child. Since the children from Group 1 - 33 -were using mainly single-word utterances at the i n i t i a l session i t was almost impossible to investigate nominal reference as i t i s being studied here. Therefore only the growth of pronominal reference from one session to the next was examined for both groups of children. This measure of growth was the difference i n the number of f i r s t , second and third person pronouns used by a child at Sessions 1 and 2, as well as the difference i n the number of pronominal types used at Sessions 1 and 2. Three major sets of correlations were calculated for these data. The f i r s t group related the frequency with which mothers used pronouns, nominal objectifications and pronominal substitutions at Session 1 and certain measures of the child's linguistic a b i l i t y at Session 1. The child measures were those of MLU, upper bound and LT/U, as well as the number of pronominal types and tokens used. These correlations were designed to determine i f individual variation i n the mothers' use of pronouns and substitutions could be accounted for by the linguistic level of the children. As was previously mentioned i t was predicted that there would be negative correlations between the mothers' use of nominal objectifications and pronominal substitutions and measures of the c h i l d 1 s speech, and positive correlations between the mothers' use of pronouns and measures of the child's speech. The second set of correlations investigated were those between mothers' use and avoidance of pronouns at Session 1 and the children's use of pronominal and nominal reference at Session 2. Relation-ships of this kind would help to determine i f the child's use and avoidance of pronouns was related to the mother's use and avoidance of pronouns. As was previously stated, no predictions were made concerning the value of these relationships. The third set of correlations examined the relationship - 3U -between the children's use of pronominal and nominal reference at Session 2 and their MLU's, upper bounds and LT/U's at that same session. Relationships between the child's use of nominal reference and the number and kinds of pronouns used at Session 2 were also examined. These correlations were designed to demonstrate whether the children's pro-nominal systems could be predicted by their general linguistic a b i l i t i e s . It was predicted that measures of the child's use of pro-nominal reference would be positively related to general speech measures, while the relationships between nominal reference and general linguistic level would be negative. To be certain that the effects being investigated were in fact due to relationships between the mothers' speech at the f i r s t session and the children's at the second, a f i n a l set of correlations were calculted. These are based on a discussion by Furrow et a l . (1979). In assuming, on the "basis of significant correlations, that aspects of the mother's speech at one time (t^) have an influence upon aspects of the child's speech at a later time (t^), then: i t i s necessary to ensure that the significance did not result from (a) differences i n the children at time accounting for the variation among mothers at t^ while also being responsible for the variations amongst themselves at (thus producing an a r t i f i c i a l 'mothers at t^-children at -tg* correlation; or (b) differences i n mothers at t^ accounting for differences i n mothers at tg which were i n turn responsible for the concurrent differences between children at t Q . (p. I4.27). - 35 -In. order to avoid the possible relationships i n (a), the children from each group were matched at the i n i t i a l session for linguistic level. The relationships i n (b) were investigated by examining the mothers* speech at the second session and comparing correlations between maternal measures at t_ and measures of children's speech at t ? and the correlations found between mothers' speech at t^ and the children's at t_. I f , as was the case i n the Furrow et a l . study, a significant correlation between mothers* and children's speech at tg always had the opposite sign from the same significant correlation between mothers* speech at t^ and the children's at tg, then the second type of relationship cannot exist. In this way, i t can be shown that the relationships under investigation are really between a mother's speech at one time and her child's speech at a later date. I f this i s the case then the child's linguistic level must be taken into account i n studies of environmental effects. This also means that u n t i l the changes i n speech modifications are more carefully examined, a mother's speech at one time could not be predicted by her speech at an earlier time. Thus any relationship found between a mother's language at one time and her child's after some interval must be a true one, not just an artif a c t of the mother's speech at some other time. Chapter k. Results Mothers' Use and Avoidance of Conventional Pronouns The analysis of f i r s t and second person pronouns used hy the two groups of mothers at Session 1, based upon 100 utterance samples, indicated that the most commonly used pronoun by both groups was the second person sub-jective form, you, and that the least commonly used was the f i r s t person possessive form, my_ (see Table 3). The pronoun I_ was used more often by the second group of mothers. Second person pronouns were used more frequently than f i r s t person pronouns by both groups (t(lk) = 9.82, p *.001) and subjective case pronouns were used more frequently than objectives C 1) = 12»25» P 4 .001) or possessives (t(Lk) • 8.1+0, p^.OOl). The results of the analysis of mothers' avoidance of conventional f i r s t and second person pronouns at Session 1 are presented i n Table 1+. The mothers of the younger children who were at Stage I at this time used significantly more cases of nominal objectification than the mothers of the children who were at Stage II (t(6) = 3«52, p L .05). Both groups of mothers used the process of unification, where a f i r s t person plural pronoun i s substituted for a f i r s t or second person singular form more often than they used a third person pronoun to objectify a f i r s t or second person pronoun. F i r s t person pronouns were replaced by a kinship term or name or a non-conventional pronoun more often than second person pronouns by both groups of mothers, although this difference was not s t a t i s t i c a l l y significant. Both groups used nominal objectification or non-conventional - 36 -- 37 -Table 3« Pronouns used by two groups of mothers at Session 1. Parameter Group 1 Group 2 (children at (children at Stage I) Stage II) Mean S.D. Mean S.D. a) Pronoun I 1.99 1.1+1 5.00 1.05 frequency m e 2.02 1.98 .98 .56 my, mine .12 .08 .62 .60 you (subj.) 17.75 5.1U 16.83 1.71 you (obj.) .88 .1+7 .85 .58 your, yours 6.99 3.00 I+.37 1.1+1 D ) Frequency of f i r s t 28.66 1.55 and second person 29.75 9.U7 Frequency Proportion Frequency Proportion c) Person - f i r s t 16.50 .11+ 26.1+1 .23 - second 102.51 .86 88.23 .77 a) Case - subjective 78.91+ .66 87.35" .76 - objective 11.60 .10 7.36 .06 - possessive 28. 1+7 .21+ 19.91+ .18 - 38 -Table 1+. Nominal objectifications and pronominal substitutions used by two groups of mothers at Session 1 (per 100 utterance sample) Parameter Group 1 (children at Stage I) Group 2 (children at Stage II) a) Nominal Mean 3.36 .53 objectification S.D. U.19 .61 i ) Person F i r s t Frequency 6.79 2.10 Proportion .51 1.00 Second Frequency 6.65 0.00 Proportion .1+9 .00 i i ) Case Subjective Frequency 7.7U 1.51 Proportion .58 .72 Objective Frequency 3.32 .59 Proportion .21+ .28 Possessive Frequency 2.38 0.00 Proportion .18 .00 b) A l l pronominal 2.31+ substitutions Mean 2.92 i ) Pronominal Mean .20 .10 objectification S.D. .11 .10 i i ) Unification Mean 2.72 2.21+ S.D. .37 Vl+6 i i i ) Person F i r s t Frequency 5.51+ 7.39 Proportion .53 .79 Second Frequency 6.12 1.98 Proportion .1+7 .21 iv) Case 5.30 Subjective Frequency 9.37 Proportion .80 .56 Objective Frequency 2.29 3.87 Proportion .20 .1+2 Possessive Frequency 0.00 .20 Proportion .00 .02 - 39 -pronoun substitutions for subjective pronouns more often than they did for objective or possessive pronouns. These differences, however, did not reach significance. Children's Systems of Pronominal and Nominal Reference The mean number of f i r s t , second and third person pronouns used per 100 utterance sample by Group 1 children at Session 1 was 2.08. These children were at Stage I at this time and were just beginning to use pronouns. I and n_ were used by three out of the four children, and me and you (objective) were used by two out of the four. You (objective) and he were used by one child each. The second person possessive forms and the third person objective and possessive forms were not used by any of the children at this time. Group 2 children at Session I used a mean number of 21.62 pronouns per 100 utterance sample. These four children were i n Brown's Stage II at this time. Table 5 presents the results of the analysis of f i r s t and second person pronouns used by the two groups of children at the second session. At this session, the children from Group 1 were i n Brown's Stage II, and those from Group 2 were i n Brown's Stage III. For both groups of children I was the most frequently used pronoun, and your or yours the least frequent. The older children's systems more closely resembled their mothers: you (subjective) was more frequent and you (objective) was relatively less frequent than i t was i n the speech of the younger children. Both groups of children used f i r s t person pronouns more often than second (t(li|.) = 3»91» P * . 0 l ) the opposite to the trend found i n mothers' speech. As with the mothers, children used more subjective case pronouns than objectives (\ 2(l) = 6 . 2 5 , P ^ . 0 5 ) . - 1+0 -Table 5. Pronouns used by two groups of children at Session 2 Parameter Group 1 (Stage II) Group 2 (Stage III) Mean S.D. V Mean V S.D. a) Pronoun frequency I 7.28 5.81+ 8.81+ 1.39 me .1+0 .60 1.00 .53 my, mine 2.1+9 1.76 2.38 1.25 you (subj.) .51 1.02 3.00 1.52 you (obj.) .77 .14+ .98 .97 your, yours .06 .13 .85 .66 b) Frequency of f i r s t and second person 11.51 8.19 17.01+ 1.60 Frequency Proportion Frequency Proportion c) Person - f i r s t 1+0.67 .88 1+8.85 .72 - second 5.36 .12 19.29 .28 a) Case - subjective 31.15 .68 1+7.33 .69 - objective 1N67 .10 7.90 .12 - possessive 10.20 .22 12.91 .19 e) Pronoun types ( f i r s t , second and third persons) 1+.25 2.22 10.50 2.89 Results of the analysis of children's use of nominal reference and non-standard pronouns are given i n Table 6. The younger children used nominal rather than pronominal forms for a l l six persons and cases. The older children used nominal forms for a l l cases with the exception of the second person possessive. Both groups of children used nominal forms most frequently i n the f i r s t and second person objective cases and least frequently i n the second person subjective and possessive cases. The only type of non-standard pronoun use found i n the speech of either group of children was the substitution of third person pronouns for f i r s t or second person reference. This kind of substitution was used most frequently when children were looking at photographs of themselves. A child from Group 2 was involved i n the following exchange: Child: (looking at picture of himself) He's a l l dirty. Mother: Who is? Child: (says his name) Mother: He's a l l dirty? Child: Yeah. What's he doing here? Child: He's bit i n g a donut. Mother: He's biting a donut. Actually there you are with your l i t t l e ... Both nominal reference and non-standard pronoun use occurred more often i n the f i r s t person than i n the second, but these differences were not signi-ficant. Nominal forms were used more often for the objective case than the subjective (t(U+) = k*3k, V*- .001) or possessive (x ( l ) = 6 . 2 5 , P c .05) by both groups of children. - k2 -Table 6. Nominal reference and non-standard pronouns used by two groups of children at Session 2 (per 100 utterance sample) Parameter Group 1 (Stage II) Group 2 (Stage III) a) Nominal reference i ) Person F i r s t Second i i ) Case Subjective Objective Possessive Mean S.D. Frequency Proportion Frequency Proportion Frequency Proportion Frequency Proportion Frequency Proportion 6.16 1U.57 .59 10.08 . U l U.19 .17 16.79 .68 3.67 .15 3.63 9.79 .67 U.7U .33 1.20 .08 12.90 .89 . 3 5 . 0 3 b) Non-standard pronoun use - S and K —•third person pronoun i ) Person F i r s t Second Mean S.D. Frequency Proportion Frequency Proportion . 3 5 .Uo 1.38 1.00 0.00 .00 2.51 U . i o 7. Ht .71 2.88 .29 i i ) Case Subjective Objective Possessive Frequency Proportion Frequency Proportion Frequency Proportion .50 .37 . 2 5 .18 . 6 3 .U5 6.56 .65 1.23 .12 2.23 .23 - 1+3 -Very few errors of gender, case, reversal of person or phonetic realization were found i n the pronouns or substitutions used by the eight children at Session 2. Three children; two i n Group 1 and one i n Group 2, omitted the _s when using their own name i n place of a possessive pronoun. These errors accounted for a total of six tokens. Two children from Group 2 used the form you as a possessive pronoun, for a total of four errors. One of these children also produced the only case of a pronoun reversal found i n these data. She said "Now you a unicorn again* meaning "Now 1^ had a unicorn again", immediately after her mother used a related sentence containing you. A third child from Group 2 fa i l e d to observe the correct gender distinction when using third person pronouns. Correlations The Pearson product-moment correlation coefficients obtained for these data are given i n Table 1. Part (a) of the table shows the results obtained when the mothers1 use of pronouns, nominal objectification and pronominal substitutions were correlated with measures of the child's general linguistic a b i l i t y , and with the child's a b i l i t y to use pronouns. Both the maternal and child measures i n this part of the table come from Session 1. The s t a t i s t i c a l l y significant correlations were those between the mothers' use of nominal objectification and pronominal substitutions and the children's MLU's, upper bound, number of pronominal forms and pronoun frequency at the f i r s t session. The negative value of these correlations shows that the mothers of the most l i n g u i s t i c a l l y advanced children were those who used the fewest cases of conventional pronoun avoidance. There were no significant correlations between children's linguistic levels and the number of pronouns used by mothers. - y * -Table 7« Correlations a) Correlations between maternal and child variables at Session 1 Child variables Pronoun frequency Maternal variables Nominal objectification Pronominal substitutions MLU -.03 -.1*7* -.1*5 Upper bound .00 -.14** -.1*5* LT/U -.17 -.1+0 -.1*0 Pronoun frequency -.05 -.5k* -.62* Pronominal forms .21 -.67** -.66** *p *• .05 one-tailed **p <• .01 one-tailed b) Correlations between maternal variables at Session 1 and child variables at Session 2 Child variables Pronoun frequency Maternal variables Nominal objectification Pronominal substitutions Pronoun frequency -.2k -.08 -.36 Nominal reference -.1*1 .68** .05 Non-standard pronouns -.19 -.21 -.31 Pronominal forms .05 -.ko - . k l *p <. .05 two-tailed **p <• .01 two-tailed c) Correlations between child variables at Session 2 Pronominal forms Pronoun Nominal Non-standard frequency reference pronouns MLU .59* .59* -.15 .19 Upper bound .93** .62* -.k0 -.07 LT/U .51 .39 -.09 .1*3 Pronoun frequency -.17 .lk Pronominal forms -.56* -.12 *p *.05 one-tailed **p < .01 one-tailed - .45-Part (b) of the table gives the results of the correlational analysis between mothers' use and avoidance of conventional pronouns at the f i r s t session and the children's pronominal systems at the later one. There was a significant positive relationship between mothers' use of nominal objectification and the child's use of nominal reference at the later time. There were no significant relationships between a mother's use or avoidance of pronouns and the child's use of pronominal reference. Correlations between measures of the child's linguistic a b i l i t y at Session 2 and his or her a b i l i t y to use pronouns are given i n part (c) of Table 7» MLU, upper bound and LT/U were positively related to the number of pronominal forms used, and MLTJ and upper bound were positively related to the total number of pronouns used by a child. None of the measures of general linguistic a b i l i t y were related to the amount of nominal reference or non-standard pronouns used, although a l l correlations with nominal reference were negative. There was a significant negative correlation between the number of pronominal forms used by a child and the amount of nominal reference used at that time. In order to ensure that the relationships i n part (b) of Table 1 were real, the relationships between maternal and child variables at Session 2 were also investigated. Correlations between Group 1 mothers' use and avoidance of pronouns at Session 2 and their children's use of pronominal and nominal reference at that same session were compared to the correlations obtained between measures of maternal speech at Session 1 and the measures of child speech at Session 2. These results are presented i n Table 8. Where a significant correlation exists between measures of maternal speech at Session 1 and child speech at Session 2, the same correlation with Table 8. Correlations between measures of Group 1 mothers' and children's speech at Session 1 and 2 Maternal variables Pronoun Nominal Pronominal frequency objectification substitutions Session Session Session Child variables 1 2 1 2 l 2 Pronoun frequency -.21+ .53 .17 .91+** -.33 .1+8 Nominal reference -.90** .97** .85** .28 -.06 .98** Non-standard pronouns -.61 .80* .5U .77* -.19 .80* Pronominal forms .29 .11 -.36 .95** -.52 -.03 *p 4.05 two-tailed **p <• .01 two-tailed - U 7 -maternal speech at Session 2 i s either non-significant or of the opposite sign value. This suggests that modifications that mothers make to the conventional pronominal system change as their children mature. Thus, correlations between these measures of maternal and child speech w i l l not remain the same over time. The correlations that were found i n part (b) of Table 7 must therefore be indicative of relationships between maternal speech at one time and children's speech at a later time. Individual Variation Table 9 presents the number of pronouns, nominal objectifications and substitutions for conventional pronouns used by the eight mothers at Session 1 . This table also presents the nominal references and non-standard pronouns used by the eight children at the second session, and the growth i n their pronominal systems from one session to the next. These data are arranged according to the child's MLU at Session 2 : Child 1 has the lowest MLU i n Group 1 at the second session and Child 1 + has the highest MLU i n Group 1 at the second session. Looking at the number of nominal objectifications used by mothers, three styles of mothers can be identified. One group, represented by Mothers 1 , 2 , 3 » 6 and 8 , use a small number of nominal objectifications; approximately one or two for every 1 0 0 utterances. A second group, represented by Mothers 5 and 7 of Group 2 , use no nominal objectifications at a l l . The f i n a l mother, 1 + , seems to be i n a group by herself. She uses approximately ten objectifications for every 1 0 0 utter-ances, and approximately half the number of pronouns used by the other seven mothers. Excerpts from this mother's speech often resembled the following: (where N * the child's name) Table 9. Eight mothers' use and avoidance of pronouns at Session 1, and eight children's pronominal growth and pronominal a b i l i t y at Session 2 Session 1 Nominal Pronoun Pronominal Mothers objectification frequency substitutions Group 1 (children at Stage l ) 1 1.17 3U.51 2.51 2 .77 36.79 3.U0 3 1.88 31.85 2.1+0 1+ 9.60 15.87 3.35 Mean 3.36 29.75 2.92 S.D. 1+.19 9.1+7 .53 Group 2 (children at Stage II) 5 0.00 27.11 2.22 6 1.01 30.02 3.01+ 7 0.00 29.97 1.7k 8 1.09 27.51+ 2.36 Mean .53 28.66 2.31+ S.D. .61 1.55 .51+ Growth between sessions Session 2 Pronoun Pronominal Nominal Non-standard Children frequency forms reference pronouns Group 1 (at Stage II) 1 6.61 2 5.73 .00 2 1+.92 2 1+.25 .00 3 22.78 5 6.60 .76 1+ IU. 30 1+ 8.08 .62 Mean 12.15 3.25 6.16 .35 S.D. 8.18 1.50 1.60 .1+0 Group 2 (at Stage III) 5 -2.06 0 3.70 8.61+ 6 l+.l+U 3 1.91+ .18 7 -6.51+ -1 5.52 .Ul 8 1+.83 6 3.37 .79 Mean .17 2.00 3.63 2.51 S.D. 5.1+8 3.16 1.1+7 U.10 -U9 -C h i l d : O f f ? C h i l d : R i n g M o t h e r : Y e a h , w h e r e ' s M o m m y ' s r i n g ? I s t h a t M o m m y ' s r i n g ? M o t h e r : M o m m y t a k e i t o f f ? T h e r e y o u g o . M o t h e r : N o w N h a s g o t a r i n g . E m ? C h i l d : R i n g Y e a h . C h i l d : W h a t ' s t h a t ? C h i l d : E l b o w W h e r e ' s M o m m y ' s r i n g ? M o t h e r ; I s t h a t M o m m y ' s r i n g ? M o t h e r : M o m m y ' s e l b o w . W h e r e ' s N ' s e l b o w ? T h e r e w a s v e r y l i t t l e v a r i a t i o n b e t w e e n m o t h e r s i n t h e n u m b e r o f p r o n o m i n a l s u b s t i t u t i o n s m a d e . E a c h m o t h e r u s e d a p p r o x i m a t e l y t w o t o t h r e e i n s t a n c e s o f u n i f i c a t i o n o r p r o n o m i n a l o b j e c t i f i c a t i o n f o r e v e r y 100 u t t e r a n c e s s p o k e n . T h e s e t w o o r t h r e e i n s t a n c e s o f t e n a p p e a r e d t o g e t h e r i n s h o r t r o u t i n e s l i k e t h e f o l l o w i n g f r o m M o t h e r 2: M o t h e r : W e ' r e g o n n a c h a n g e y o u r p a n t s n o w ? A r e w e ? O h t H o w ' b o u t i f w e d o t h a t ? B e c a u s e o f t h e d i s t r i b u t i o n o f m o t h e r s w i t h i n t h e s e t h r e e g r o u p s , i t i s d i f f i c u l t t o a s c e r t a i n w h e t h e r t h e s e a r e i n f a c t t h r e e s e p a r a t e s t y l e s o f p r o n o m i n a l a v o i d a n c e o r w h e t h e r t w o a r e s t y l e s a n d t h e t h i r d i s t h e r e s u l t o f d e v e l o p m e n t a l a d j u s t m e n t s . W i t h i n G r o u p 1, t h e m o t h e r s o f t h e c h i l d r e n a t S t a g e I a t t h e f i r s t s e s s i o n , t h e r e a r e d e f i n i t e l y t w o t y p e s o f m o t h e r s . O n e t y p e u s e d a l a r g e n u m b e r o f n o m i n a l o b j e c t i f i c a t i o n s a n d r e l a t i v e l y f e w p r o n o u n s a n d t h e o t h e r u s e d n o m i n a l o b j e c t i f i c a t i o n s , b u t f a i r l y i n f r e q u e n t l y . W i t h i n G r o u p 2, t h e m o t h e r s w i t h c h i l d r e n a t S t a g e I I - So -at Session 1, there also appear to be two types. One used no nominal objectifications at a l l , and the other used a small number of nominal encodings. It may be that mothers who do use nominal objectifications when their children are at'Stage II used a much larger number when their children were younger and less advanced l i n g u i s t i c a l l y . The mothers who use one or two nominal objectifications for every 100 utterances when their children are at Stage I may use no nominal substitutions when their children are at Stage II or III. This i s not to suggest that there are sudden changes i n the degree to which mothers avoid pronouns. The number of proper nouns and kinship terms used to replace pronouns i s probably decreased slowly along with a gradual increase i n the number of pronouns used, as the children develop l i n g u i s t i c a l l y . There must, however, be at least two kinds of mothers; those who use numerous nominal objectifications when their children are just beginning to acquire personal pronouns, and those who use a f a i r l y small number. The results of this study suggest that the second style of pronominal avoidance i s adopted by more mothers than the f i r s t . As shown i n Table 9» the pronominal system of Group 2 children increased very l i t t l e over the period between sessions when compared with the children of Group 1. The children who were progressing from Stage I to Stage II made much larger gains i n terms of their a b i l i t y to use personal pronouns than the children who were progressing from Stage II to Stage III. The mean number of pronouns used by Group 1 children increased over the interval separating the sessions, while the mean decreased for the older group. At the second session a l l of the younger children used at least two pronominal forms that they had not used at the earlier session. Two children from Group 2 showed no increase i n the kinds of pronouns used at the two sessions. These individual results clearly demonstrate the effect of mothers' use of nominal objectifications on their children's speech. Child k, whose mother used the greatest number of nominal objectifications at the f i r s t session, referred to people nominally more often than any of the other children. I f the amount of nominal references used by a child decreases solely with age and linguistic experience, then i t would be expected that this child would have used fewer proper names and kinship terms than Children 1, 2 and 3. Child 2, whose mother used the fewest number of nominal objectifications at the i n i t i a l session, used fewer nominal references than Children 1, 3 ox k» Children 5 and 7, whose mothers did not use any nominal objectifications at the i n i t i a l session, did use nominal references at the second session. Thus i t i s not the case that children stop using nominal encodings earlier i f their parents do not use nominal objectification. It i s interesting to note that Children 5 and 7 were the only ones to show negative growth i n their pronominal systems from one session to the next. Child 5 used approximately one-third fewer pronouns per utterance at Session 2 than she had used at the earlier session, and the same number of pronominal forms. Child 7 used fewer overall pronouns per utterance and fewer pronominal forms at Session 2 than she had months earlier. Each of the other six children i n the study demonstrated growth, both i n the number of pronouns used per utterance and i n the number of pronominal types used. What this suggests i s that a certain exposure to nominal reference i s - 52 -necessary for children to continue expanding their pronominal systems. Perhaps children, even at this f a i r l y advanced stage, do experience some confusion with pronoun referents, and a certain number of nominally encoded referents must be provided i f they are to overcome this confusion. One of the reasons for the lack of growth of Child 5's pronominal system was her confusion with third person reference. This child experienced a great deal of d i f f i c u l t y with pronouns referring to herself or others, particularly when looking at pictures. Her mother often tried to correct the child, but the correction always involved the use of a pronoun: Mother: (referring to picture of the child) What've you got i n your hand? Child: Uh, he, he's got a picture i n there. Child: Yeah. Child: He, well he got a Child: He. Mother: He? Mother: You say, 'I've got a picture i n my hand'. Mother: That's you, though. Mother: That's you. As can be seen by the above, the proper gender distinction was often not observed when the child used third person reference. The confusion was increased when someone attempted to correct gender: Child: (looking at picture of herself) He's, he's eating her ... His porridge. (brother corrects her) Child: No, eating her porridge. Mother: You say, "I'm eating my porridge". - 53 -Child: Eating, eated my porridge. Mother: Pretty close. Her mother's refusal to use nominal reference may have helped created the confusion. When children f i r s t begin to acquire third person pronouns they may assume these may be used i n the same manner as f i r s t and second person pronouns. I f the mother responds to improperly used third person pronouns with a name or kinship term, then the child, who presumably already knows the relationship between names and f i r s t and second person reference, can make the connection between the third person and the normal methods of referring to the self and others. After a certain amount of experience with this kind of interchange the child w i l l realize that third person pronouns do not function i n the same way as f i r s t or second person. I f the bridge between third person pronouns and the I-you system i s not made for the child, then the pronouns may continue to be used incorrectly. I f this assumption i s correct, then a child must have a f a i r l y good knowledge of reference systems before third person pronouns can be experimented with. This may explain why two children from Group 1 did not use pronouns unconventionally. These two children had the shortest MLU's of the eight children and used the fewest pronouns at Session 2. Possibly neither child had learned enough about how pronouns operate to investigate whether third person pronouns could be used i n self or second person reference. Chapter £. Discussion In the Introduction, four questions were asked regarding mothers' avoidance of personal pronouns and the effects of this feature on the speech of young children. The findings of this study w i l l be discussed i n terms of these questions and comments w i l l be added concerning the relationship between this research and previous studies of this kind. The Systems of Reference When conversing with their own children mothers use pronouns to refer to the children more often than they use pronouns to refer to themselves. As their children become older, mothers refer more to themselves as active participants and less to the child. Subjective case pronouns are used most frequently and objective case pronouns least frequently. In answer to the question regarding the extent of personal pronoun avoidance i n mothers' speech, i t was found that the most common type of substitution process was the use of kinship terms i n place of personal pronouns. The amount of nominal reference used by mothers decreases as their children mature l i n g u i s t i c a l l y and show signs of being more adept at using pronouns. Other kinds of substitutions for conventional pronouns, such as the use of third person pronouns or we for f i r s t or second person pronouns, are used infrequently. Mothers with children at Stage I use these substitution processes as often as mothers with children at Stage II. It was found that the reference systems used by young children change a great deal over relatively short periods of time. The most active develop-ment of children's pronominal systems occurs between Stages I and II, or from the time the child f i r s t begins to use pronouns u n t i l an MLU of - sh -- 55-approximately 2.0 has "been reached. Growth, i n terms of number of new forms learned, and number of pronouns used, appears to slow down appreciably after this point. In the present study the interval between sessions was half as long for Group 2 dyads as i t was for those of Group 1, which may explain the difference i n growth rates. Both groups of children did, however, advance one stage as defined by Brown ( 1 9 7 3 ) • This means that the development of a child's pronominal system, i n terms of frequency and kinds of pronouns used between Stages II and III i s slower than the develop-ment which occurs between Stages I and I I . Children use pronouns more often to refer to themselves than they do to refer to their mothers. They use subjective pronouns most often and objective pronouns least often, just as their mothers do. As the children become older, they begin to talk less about themselves and more about others. In this way their use of individual pronouns begins to more closely resemble the pronouns used by their mothers. For example, the possessive form, my_, was used by two year old children more often than the objective form of the pronoun you. Children six months older were using you more frequently than m_, as mothers did. Children at Stage II use nominal reference approximately one-half as often as pronominal refer-ence, while children at Stage III use nominal reference only about one-f i f t h as often as pronominal reference. Relatively few errors are made by children at these linguistic levels when using pronouns. The only identifiable type of substitution for conventional pronouns i s the use of third person singular pronouns for f i r s t or second person pronouns. Children use objective case nominal reference more frequently than would be - 56 -predicted by their pronoun usage. Objective pronouns were used less Often than subjectives or possessives, yet the most common type of nominal en-coding replaced objective pronouns. This difference i s due at least i n part to the use of nominal reference i n single-word utterances. When the child i s asked a question concerning someone's identity or the instigator of a particular action, the response i s often a single word. These single-word responses are almost invariably coded nominally. Since the corresponding pronouns would be me or you, this use of nominal reference i s c l a s s i f i e d as an objective substitution. Thus the proportions of objective substitutions contain a large number of single-word utterances. These data support many of the findings of previous studies. The f i r s t pronouns learned by these children were those predicted by Markey (1928), Morehead and Ingram (1973) and Strayer (1977). At the f i r s t session, the children at Stage I used only six of a possible twenty-eight pronominal forms. In terms of the number of children using a particular form, the f i r s t pronouns acquired were I_ and my_, me and you (subjective) and you (objective), i n that order. Pooling the data from the above three studies, this i s the exact order that would be predicted. Markey also predicted that subjective pronouns would be learned before objectives or possessives, and i t was found that both groups of children used subjective pronouns most frequently. The conclusions of Tanzl (I97I+) and Gruber (1969) are not substantiated by these results. Both authors claimed that children establish the objective case pronouns as their base forms because they are the most generalizable forms. If children are trying to avoid exceptions when they posit base forms, this study suggests they would probably have chosen the -57-subjective pronouns. These axe the most frequent pronouns heard by-children, the most frequent pronouns used by children and are acquired before the objective form. As found by Strayer (1977* 1979) you was used more often than I by mothers, and the reverse was true of children. A l l eight mothers and the four children from Group 2, who were then i n Stage III, used pronouns more often than names when referring to themselves or others. However, the younger children, li k e the children i n Strayer* s study, used nominal substitutions more frequently than pronouns when referring to their mothers. The eight children i n this study maintained the distinction between agents and objects made by the children i n the Bloom, Lightbown and Hood study (1975)« Any comparisons with the Bloom et a l . study can be made only on the basis of the pronominal cases used, since pronoun occurrences were not coded semantically. Bloom et a l . found that by an MLU of 2.5» Er i c , Kathryn, Gia and Peter were encoding affected-objects most often nominally, and agents most often pronominally. In the present study, when the children from Group 2 had MLU's of approximately 2.5» they encoded the majority of subjective case referents, along with possessives, pronominally. The objective case referents were generally coded nominally. The younger children also used nominal reference more often than pronominal reference when using the objective case. Relationships Between the Two Systems Two major findings regarding the relationship between mothers' systems of reference and reference systems used by their children follow from the correlations between the maternal and child variables studied here. F i r s t , the development of a child's pronominal system appears to be controlled by both his or her general linguistic a b i l i t y and the system of reference used by the mother. There i s a positive relationship between the number of pronouns and pronominal forms used by a child at one time and his or her linguistic level. These aspects of the child's developing pronominal system are controlled by the same mechanisms which guide other linguistic acquisitions. No relationship was found between the child's use of pronouns and the amount of pronominal reference used by a mother at an earlier date. However, children's pronominal systems were sensitive to pragmatic aspects of the mother's speech. For example, mothers talk less about their children as they get older, and consequently use fewer second person pro-nouns. Children learn to talk less about themselves and more about others as they get older, and therefore decrease the use of f i r s t person pronouns. But i t i s the mothers who make the f i r s t modification. It i s i n this way that the child's use of f i r s t and second person reference i s intr i c a t e l y tied to the mother's use of f i r s t and second person reference. This find-ing was reported earlier by Strayer (1977. 1979). The proportion of subjective, objective and possessive case pronouns used by children are remarkably similar to those used by mothers at an earlier time, although the actual numbers are fewer. From this sensitivity to what mothers talk about and how they do i t , the pronouns children learn to use most frequently are those that are most common i n mothers' speech. An alternative interpretation of these last findings i s that the characteristics of children's pronominal systems change over time, not i n response to maternal speech, but i n response to the child's cognitive and social a b i l i t i e s . As the child becomes cognitively more sophisticated and has more experience with the outside world, i t i s inevitable that he or she w i l l begin to talk more about others and less about him or herself. The child'8 view of the world, and the rules of discourse may have some sort of effect upon the way that referents are coded as subjects, objects or possessives. While constraints such as these are obviously instrumental in every aspect of the child's growth, i t i s d i f f i c u l t to.see how they would effect fine changes i n their pronominal systems. The proportion of f i r s t and second and subjective, objective and possessive pronouns used by children are almost identical to the proportions used by mothers, and change as the mothers' do. It seems impossible that precise adjustments of this kind could be made i n response to general cognitive or social forces. The second major finding i s that the child's use of proper nouns or kinship terms i s directly related to mothers' use of nominal reference. The number of nominal encodings and pronominal substitutions used by mothers are negatively correlated with their children's linguistic level and a b i l i t y to use pronouns. Mothers of relatively young children who have low MLU's and upper bounds and who seldom use pronouns use nominal objectification frequently, while mothers of older children use this form of reference less frequently. It was also found that a mother's use of nominal objectification i s positively related to her child* s use of nominal referencecat a later date. This would not be particularly surprising i f i t was found that the li n g u i s t i c levels of the eight children had a l l increased at the same rate. Thus i t could be argued that the children who were using the greatest number of nominal references at the f i n a l sessions were doing so because l i n g u i s t i c a l l y , they were less mature. However, i t was found that at Session 2 there were no significant relationships between -60 -the linguistic level of a child and the use of nominal reference. The only-possible interpretation i s then that children continue to use a relatively large number of nominal references i f their mothers use this kind of reference frequently. Within these trends, i t was found that there i s a good deal of variation between the speech of individual mothers, and that children are sensitive to this variation. It i s therefore not the case that a l l mothers avoid conventional pronouns to the same extent. Three distinct styles of pronominal avoidance were found i n these data, of which one i s possibly only a developmental phenomenon. The f i r s t style requires the use of a large number of nominal encodings. When a mother adopts this style, i t i s immediately obvious that she i s addressing a child. The use of nominal reference i s one of the most salient aspects of English baby talk and when used frequently i t makes the special register highly recognizable. When a mother uses nominal objectifications i n large numbers, the number of pronouns addressed to her child w i l l almost certainly be decreased. The majority of mothers adopt a second style, where nominal objectifications are used i n a f a i r l y small proportion. Mothers who choose this style do not appear to use fewer pronouns than would be used normally. A third style i s to simply not use nominal objectifications. As was previously mentioned, i t was impossible to determine i f the two mothers using no nominal reference had a distinct style of their own, or i f they had once used a small number of nominal objectifications and had since ceased. A l l mothers w i l l eventually stop using nouns to replace pronouns when speaking to their children, but the question i s whether or not they stop when their children are s t i l l this young. Prom the children's data i t would appear - 61 -i t would have "been more helpful to continue using a small number of nominal objectifications. Both of the children whose mothers used no nominal reference had come to a halt i n pronominal growth, somewhere between Stages II and III. At least one of the children was also experiencing some confusion with pronoun referents. Children seem to need to have referents constantly reinforced for them. The use of nouns i s one way that mothers can do this for the child. It may be that there i s an optimum level of pronoun avoidance, which was achieved by the majority of mothers i n this study. While i t does seem to be the case that a l l children i n i t i a l l y use nouns i n contexts where adults would use pronouns, the child whose mother used the largest number of nominal objectifications was slower to switch to pronominal encoding than the other children. This child might have been using a much higher proportion of pronouns had he used fewer nominally encoded references. Many of the previous reports that children vary to a large degree i n the amount of nominal reference used may be explained by differences i n the input language. Even findings such as those reported by Bloom, Lightbown and Hood (1975) could be explained by differences i n maternal input. It was found that with an MLU of less than 2.0, the two g i r l s i n their study used nominal encodings of agent, actor and affected-objects more than 60 percent of the time. Boys used nominal references much less often. In the present study i t was unfortunately not possible to study differences between boys and g i r l s because the MLU's of the children were too large and because there was an imbalance of boys to g i r l s . It might have been the case that the mothers of g i r l s i n i t i a l l y used higher proportions of nominal objectifications than mothers of boys. - 62-Concluding Remarks The findings of this study are consistent with the proposal hy Newport, Gleitman and Gleitman (1977) that language-specific aspects of children's speech may be influenced by the mothers' language. The means of referring to speaker, hearer or persons talked about d i f f e r greatly from language to language. For example, Horschheimer (1953) found 21 different deictic systems of person i n data from 71 languages. Even the use of nominal reference, which has been reported to occur i n a number of languages, i s manifested i n different ways and at different times i n the speech communi-ties of the world. Obviously both aspects of maternal speech which have an effect f i t the child's listening biases at that time. Brown's Stage I and II (Brown 1973) are defined respectively as the stage when semantic roles and grammatical relations are acquired and the stage when grammatical morphemes are learned and meanings are modulated. At both of these stages children are learning to produce and manipulate pronouns. At Stage I several of the pronouns w i l l be learned, but i t w i l l not be u n t i l Stage II that f u l l semantic and grammatical control of pronouns i s achieved. One of the reasons that children's awareness of pronouns may be heightened i s that mothers do sometimes switch from pronominal to nominal encoding. This may make the positions occupied by reference terms more perceptually salient and therefore aid the child's acquisition process. A second interpretation of these results i s possible. Newport, Gleitman and Gleitman (1977) account for the fact that some maternal speech characteristics have an effect on children's speech and others do not by showing that there are two different types of speech characteristics being acquired by the child. Another possible explanation i s that the differences . 63 -are i n the maternal input. One of the major findings of the present study concerns the variation between mothers i n their use of nominal objectifications. Adults are often 'deaf' to those aspects of language that are shared by a l l speakers, and are only able to tune into the speech habits that d i f f e r between speakers. Children may also be hindered i n their perception of more universal characteristics of the input language. Perhaps they can only regulate those aspects of their speech that correspond to characteristics of maternal speech that vary from speaker to speaker. Two f i n a l comments regarding the limitations of this study are neces-sary. Even though, for the purposes of simplicity, i t has been assumed that the input language heard by the child consists solely of the mother's language, i t i s recognized that this i s not true i n r e a l i t y . Fathers, day-care workers, siblings and friends also provide children with a model language, and the influence of these sources i s probably growing greater every day. I t does, however, seem to be a fact that mothers are the one source of input that remains relatively consistent across families. Within families, i t may even be the case that the speech modifications made for the child are adopted by a l l family members. This would be another interest-ing area for research. And f i n a l l y , although I have tried to be as careful as possible i n attributing cause and effect to the relationships uncovered here, I am certain that i n many places my research biases have shown through. 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UBC Theses and Dissertations
The relationship between mothers’ pronominal modifications and children’s acquisition of pronominal reference Fee, E. Jane 1980
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