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The relationship between mothers’ pronominal modifications and children’s acquisition of pronominal reference Fee, E. Jane 1980

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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  in THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES (Department of L i n g u i s t i c s )  Ve accept t h i s 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 thesis i n p a r t i a l f u l f i l m e n t o f the requirements f o r  an advanced d e g r e e a t t h e U n i v e r s i t y o f B r i t i s h C o l u m b i a , I a g r e e 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 that permission  for extensive  copying o f this thesis  f o r s c h o l a r l y p u r p o s e s may be g r a n t e d by t h e 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 understood that copying 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 n o t be a l l o w e d w i t h o u t my written  permission.  Department o f  Linguistics  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 V a n c o u v e r , Canada V6T 1W5 Date  DE-6  BP  75-51  I E  October 8.  1980  i i  A b s t r a c t  T h i s  w h e n  s t u d y  i n v e s t i g a t e d  a d d r e s s i n g  t h e i r  p r o n o m i n a l  r e f e r e n c e .  do  r e p l a c e  m o t h e r s  p r o n o u n s  w h e n  d i f f e r e n c e s  w h a t  a r e  s y s t e m s  i n  a n y  o f  t h e  S p e e c h  i n  t h r e e  o n e - h a l f  B y  c h i l d r e n  t h e  a n d  t o  w a s  s p e n t  d r e s s i n g  t h e  f i r s t  s e s s i o n  a n a l y s e s  o f  a n d  a  w e r e  p e r s o n a l  s p e e c h  s y s t e m s  a t  o f  t y p e s  t h e  o f  e i g h t  i n  S t a g e  I  1973)  t h e  ( B r o w n  f i r s t  I I I .  t e n  m i n u t e s  t h e  c h i l d  c o n t a i n e d  o f  a t  a n d  a  T h e  a t  m o t h e r s  t e n  f i r s t  a n d  s u b s t i t u t i o n  o f  o f  t h e  2.  w e r e  f i r s t  i n  a  t h e  The  o f  f r o m  s e s s i o n ,  S t a g e  S t a g e  t e n  I I .  II  m i n u t e s  I n  a d d i t i o n ,  s e c o n d  a  T h r e e  u s e  t y p e s  a n d  o f  o f  a v o i d a n c e  n o m i n a l  c o r r e l a t i o n a l  S e s s i o n  t h e  w e r e  s i t u a t i o n s ,  s y s t e m s  a  l a n g u a g e  t o  c h i l d .  w a s  ( c )  t h e  e a r l y  b o o k .  m o t h e r s '  e x a m i n e d .  d o  m o t h e r s  t h r e e  a n d  b e t w e e n  r e p l a c i n g  a v o i d e d ?  i n t e r v a l  w e r e  a n d  a t  u n c o n v e n t i o n a l  ( d )  s e s s i o n s  s e c o n d  s p e e c h  o r  p r o g r e s s e d  b o t h  t h e  a n d  a n  c h i l d r e n ' s  The  d i f f e r e n c e s  p r o c e s s e s  h a d  e x t e n s i v e l y  a r e  t h e  f o u r  m o t h e r  m a t e r n a l  c h i l d r e n  o f  f r e e - p l a y  t h e  b y  o f  i n d i v i d u a l  t h e i r  r e a d i n g  e x a m i n e d  a n d  1,  I n  m i n u t e s  o f  a n d  m o t h e r s  c h i l d r e n ' s  c o n t a i n e d  l e n g t h .  S e s s i o n  F i n a l l y ,  c h i l d r e n  p e r i o d  S e s s i o n  m e a s u r e s  2.  i n  t h e i r  t i m e  sxA  s e s s i o n  p h o t o g r a p h s  r e f e r e n c e  t h e  f o u r  E a c h  c h i l d r e n ?  s e p a r a t e d  t h e  n o u n s  t h e r e  b y  a c q u i s i t i o n  h o w  p r o n o u n s  c h i l d r e n  s e s s i o n s ,  ( a )  w i t h  a r e  i n f l u e n c e  A t  p r o n o u n s  S e s s i o n  y o u n g  m o n t h s .  s e t  b e t w e e n  b y  m o t h e r s  f r o m  w e r e :  ( b )  u s e d  c h i l d r e n ' s  c o n v e n t i o n a l  s e v e n  p e r f o r m e d .  p r o n o m i n a l  a n a l y s i s  t w o  o f  c h i l d r e n ?  u s e d  h o u r  t h e i r  p r o n o u n s  t o  S t a g e  a p p r o x i m a t e l y  d i s c u s s i o n  s a m p l e s  s e s s i o n  o t h e r s  b y  m o d i f i c a t i o n s  e x a m i n e d  E n g l i s h  w h i c h  s y s t e m s  o n e - h a l f  w e r e  s e c o n d  t h e  e a c h  t w o  t o  u s e d  a n d  q u e s t i o n s  t h e i r  d e g r e e  r e f e r e n c e  c o l l e c t e d  f o u r  t o  p r o n o m i n a l  c h i l d r e n  c o n v e n t i o n a l  r e f e r e n c e  w a y ?  a n d  The  s p e a k i n g  i n  t h e  y o u n g  t h e  1  a n d  i n d i v i d u a l  r e s u l t s  c o n v e n t i o n a l  c h i l d  r e f e r e n c e  s h o w e d  p r o n o u n s  t h a t  c o u l d  iii be found i n the mothers' speech.  The most common process, c a l l e d  ' o b j e c t i f i c a t i o n ' , was the use of proper nouns or kinship terms f o r f i r s t or second person pronouns.  F i r s t person p l u r a l pronouns or t h i r d person  pronouns were also used as replacements f o r f i r s t or second person pronouns, although l e s s frequently. the  When using conventional pronouns, mothers used  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 c h i l d increased.  Children at  Stage I I used nominal and pronominal reference to approximately the same extent, but by the time Stage I I I was reached pronominal reference was used almost f i v e times more often than nominal reference.  Children were  sensitive to the reference systems used by t h e i r mothers.  Their use of  i n d i v i d u a l pronouns changed over time as t h e i r mothers' use of the same forms changed.  I t was also found that children's use of nominal reference  was p o s i t i v e l y r e l a t e d to the mothers* use of o b j e c t i f i c a t i o n at an e a r l i e r time.  The more o b j e c t i f i c a t i o n s used by a mother, the slower her c h i l d  would be to encode referents i n a pronominal mode only.  Two explanations  of the interrelatedness of maternal and c h i l d reference systems are possible. Following the explanation given by Newport, Gleitman and Gleitman the  (l977)»  maternal speech may have had an e f f e c t on children's a c q u i s i t i o n of  personal reference because the l a t t e r i s a language-specific aspect of speech.  A l t e r n a t i v e l y , i t may be that c h i l d r e n are sensitive to only those  aspects of the input language, such as mother's reference systems, which vary from speaker to speaker.  iv  Table of Contents .Page Abstract  . . . . . . .  L i s t of Tables Acknowledgements Chapter 1.  ' i i iv v  Introduction  Background  1  The Present Study  8  Chapter 2.  The A c q u i s i t i o n of Pronominal Reference  The E n g l i s h Pronominal System  12  The Child's A c q u i s i t i o n of E n g l i s h 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 V a r i a t i o n  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 E n g l i s h personal pronouns  Table 2.  Measures of general l i n g u i s t i c a b i l i t y f o r two groups of c h i l d r e n and number of utterances produced by two groups of dyads at two sessions  27  Pronouns used by two groups of mothers at Session 1  37  Table 3»  Table I I . Nominal o b j e c t i f i c a t i o n s and pronominal substitutions used by two groups of mothers at Session 1 Table $.  Table 6.  Pronouns used by two groups o f c h i l d r e n at Session 2  38  UO  Nominal reference and non-standard pronouns used by two groups of c h i l d r e n at Session 2  Table 1.  Correlations  Table 8.  Correlations between measures of Group 1 mothers' and children's speech at Sessions 1 and 2 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  Table 9 .  12*  U2 l\k  1+6  Acknowledgements  I wish to thank the eight mothers and t h e i r  children  f o r t h e i r time, t h e i r comments and t h e i r patience.  I  would also l i k e to thank the four experimenters involved i n the data c o l l e c t i o n and t r a n s c r i p t i o n :  David Ingram,  Judy Lapadat, Renate Preuss and Sou-mee Tse.  1  ^Chapter 1.  Introduction  In recent years there have been numerous investigations into the c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s 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 ( c f . Drach 1969» Fraser and Roberts 1975, P h i l l i p s 1973, Snow 1972), type-token r a t i o (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 t a l k words,  generally derived from adult l e x i c a l items, exists i n most languages (Ferguson 1961+) •  Lastly, the prosodic c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s of c h i l d -  directed speech d i f f e r from those used when addressing adults (Garnica 1977» Remick 1976)*  The above studies, and many others l i k e 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 r e g i s t e r 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 i n d i v i d u a l mothers.  In the f i r s t important study of t h i s kind, Nelson  (1973) i d e n t i f i e d two types, which she c a l l s r e f e r e n t i a l and expressive. This c l a s s i f i c a t i o n i s based upon v a r i a t i o n within the l e x i c a l and grammatical parameters of speech.  Referential mothers t a l k mainly about  objects i n the c h i l d ' s environment, ask questions a great deal of the time, and are r e l a t i v e l y concise i n what they have to say. Expressive mothers, on the other hand, spend much more time commenting on the c h i l d ' s behaviour and tend to be more discursive.  Children may be c l a s s i f i e d as  r e f e r e n t i a l or expressive, although mothers and t h e i r children do not  -  n e c e s s a r i l y  h a v e  s i m i l a r  d i f f e r e n c e  i n  m e m b e r s  o n e d y a d  o f  commands  t i m e  h a s  B a r a n ,  t h a n  Z l a t i n  c h i l d - d i r e c t e d  s t o p  O n e m o t h e r  t h a n  m o t h e r  e a c h  o f  s t u d y  o f  v o i c e  i . e . w a s b e i n g  o f  m e a s u r a b l e  t w o m o t h e r s .  m o r e  q u e s t i o n s  t o  a  t i m e  c a r e f u l  a n d  i n  c h i l d -  p r o d u c i n g  a n d s h o w e d  c o n s o n a n t s  m o r e  o n s e t  s p e e c h .  n o t y e t  s t o p  a n d  v o i c e  t h e a d u l t  s p e e c h  T h e  p r e c e d i n g  T h e a u t h o r s  o n s e t  d y a d s .  i n m o t h e r s '  w h o w e r e  r a t e  m a r k e d  e x a m i n i n g  i n v e s t i g a t e d  s l o w e r  t h e n u m b e r  o t h e r ' s  v a r i a t i o n  c h i l d r e n  h a d a  t h e o t h e r  A  a  m o t h e r - c h i l d  a p p r o p r i a t e l y  (1977)  w a s e n c o d i n g  s p e e c h ,  t o  t w o d y a d s .  p h o n o l o g i c a l  m o t h e r s  i n  o f t e n  t h r e e  f o u n d  a  p r o d u c e d  s u g g e s t e d  o f t e n  t h a t  i n h e r  h e r p r o d u c t i o n  o f  c o n s o n a n t s .  G i v e n  e x t e n t  t o  t h a t  w h i c h  r e a s o n s  d e f i n e s  m o t h e r s  a d j u s t  t h e y  i  f o r t h e s e  t h r e e  m a i n  e x p r e s s i v e .  u n m a r k e d  a n d  o f  o f  r e s p o n d  a n d D a n i l o f f  d i f f e r e n c e  p a r t i c u l a r  t o  t h e o t h e r  t h r e e  t h e t w o c o n t e x t s  t h i s  a n d  o f  s p e e c h .  s i g n i f i c a n t  t h e  o f  L a u f e r  m o r e  l i k e l y  e v i d e n c e  s p e e c h  m e a n i n g f u l  m o r e  (1978a, 1978h)  L i e v e n  a b i l i t i e s  r e s p o n d e d  t h o s e  f o u n d  d i r e c t e d  i n  t h e t u r n - t a k i n g  a n d w e r e  u t t e r a n c e  s t y l e s .  2 -  s o u n d s  r e p l a c e  d o  t  , m o s t  c h a n g e s ,  t y p e s  o f  r e c e n t  a n d t h a t  r e s e a r c h  t a l k  p r o c e s s e s  d i f f i c u l t  o n  p r o c e s s e s ;  w h i c h  h a r m o n i z e  o r  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  s t r u c t u r e  o f  s p e e c h  l a n g u a g e  c o m m u n i t y .  c l a r i f y  p a r t i c u l a r  a s p e c t s  i n c l u d e  r e p e t i t i o n s ,  o f  a n d t h e b a b y  T h e s e c o n d  l a n g u a g e  e x a g g e r a t i o n s  o f  p r o p e r  t a l k  s e t o f  r e d u c e  b o t h  s i m p l e  i n f l e c t i o n s ,  T h e s e  u p o n  s y s t e m  d e v e l o p e d  p r o c e s s e s  a r e t h o s e  f o r t h e c h i l d .  i n t o n a t i o n  c l a r i f y i n g  n o u n s .  d e p e n d  C l a r i f y i n g  c o n t o u r s ,  w i t h  F e r g u s o n  s u b s t i t u t e  v o w e l s ,  t e r m s  i n t h e  c o n c e r n e d  t h e c h i l d .  b y k i n s h i p  t h e t a r g e t  m a y v a r y  s i m p l i f y i n g ,  a r e t h o s e  o n e s ,  t h e y  h a s b e e n  p r o n o u n s  p a r t i c u l a r  p e r s o n a l  s p e e c h ,  a n d t h e e f f e c t s  b a b y  S i m p l i f y i n g  f o r m o r e  t h e i r  t h e  b y  a  w h i c h  p r o c e s s e 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 Ferguson s article, Brown (1977) claims that simplification 1  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 i s not a conscious, primary intention of mothers. Specific research has investigated the determinants i n 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 i n hour long play sessions, examining both the child's productive and receptive a b i l i t i e s .  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 a b i l i t i e s may have had some influence on mothers' speech modifications, this certainly was not the major factor involved.  - k -  Another issue that can be r a i s e d concerns the e f f e c t s of mothers' speech on the c h i l d ' s l i n g u i s t i c development.  This question has been  examined i n a number of f a i r l y recent longitudinal studies.  Ringler (1978)  examined r e l a t i o n s h i p s between the speech of ten mothers when t h e i r c h i l d r e n 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 t h e i r c h i l d r e n were two years of age had c h i l d r e n with larger receptive vocabularies and who produced more phrases containing four c r i t i c a l items at f i v e years.  The use of adjectives was p o s i t i v e l y  correlated with expressive a b i l i t y at f i v e , while the number of content words addressed to the c h i l d was negatively correlated with t h i s same variable.  The proportion of imperatives used to the c h i l d at two  negatively correlated to the c h i l d ' s MLU at age f i v e .  was  Although cause and  e f f e c t could not be assigned, i t was apparent that even over a three year span, some consistent r e l a t i o n s h i p s could be found between a mother's speech and her c h i l d ' s . The most important study of the r e l a t i o n s h i p s between maternal speech and the l i n g u i s t i c a b i l i t i e s of young c h i l d r e n was performed by Newport, Gleitman and Gleitman (1977)•  Speech samples from 1$ mothers and t h e i r  daughters were c o l l e c t e d at two time periods, s i x 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 f o r syntactic complexity and t o t a l vocabulary size f o r both sessions.  A growth rate measure was then computed by f i n d i n g the  difference between these scores at the two sessions.  A growth rate  measure was then computed by f i n d i n g the difference between these scores at  t h e  t w o  s e s s i o n s *  s y n t a c t i c  a n d  a s p e c t s  l i n g u i s t i c  a b i l i t y  C o r r e l a t i o n s  a t  t h e  a b i l i t y ,  t h e  a s p e c t s  u s e d  n o u n  o f  p h r a s e  b y  t h e  c o n s i d e r e d  b y  N e w p o r t  b y  o f  t h e  p r o d u c t i o n  own  o f  c o g n i t i v e  a n d  p r o v i d e d  b y  m o t h e r s '  l a n g u a g e  l i s t e n i n g  i n  t h e  t h e  p h r a s e  a n d  h o p e f u l l y  (1979)*  p a r t i c i p a t e d  p l a c e  w a s  m o n t h s  a n a l y z e d  b e e n  u s i n g  w e r e  n i n e  u s e d  a  w e r e  i n  u s i n g  c o m p u t e d  o f  o f  a  b e t w e e n  w h e n  w o u l d  t h e  s t u d i e s ,  u s e d  t h e  i n  t h e  f o r  e x a m p l e ,  w a s  i n f l e c t i o n s .  c h i l d ' s  c h i l d r e n  t h e  s t u d y ,  t o  1.0  s e m a n t i c  a s  a n d  The  s y n t a c t i c  s p e e c h  e t  t h e  c h i l d ' s  e n v i r o n m e n t  f e a t u r e s  f i t  w a s  A  a f f e c t e d  t h a t  t h e  t h e y  o f  t h e  t h e  c h i l d ' s  i n s t r u m e n t a l  s e n t e n c e  a t t e n t i o n  a l .  F u r r o w ,  s e v e n  t o  l i k e  t h e  n o u n  N e l s o n  c h i l d r e n  s e c o n d  T h e  2;3.  c h i l d r e n ' s  N e w p o r t  b y  t h e  1.1+.  w e r e  n o t  w e l l .  p e r f o r m e d  t h e  o f  w e r e  s e n t e n c e s ,  w a s  t h a t  i f  l a n g u a g e  m o d a l s ,  b e l i e v e d  w a s  l i n g u i s t i c  i n f l e c t i o n s  a n d  l i n g u i s t i c  f i n d i n g  t h e  o f  g r o w t h  a g e  c e r t a i n  m e a s u r e ,  u p o n  a n d  c o m p l e x  d e i x i s ,  o f  m o t h e r s '  o f  c h i l d  o f  t h e  u s e  a u t h o r s  i n f l e c t i o n  a n d  n u m b e r  t h e  s t u d y  MLTJ's  t h e  a n d  r a t e ,  age  t h a t  t o  d i r e c t  p l u r a l  o f  n o t  m a j o r  g r o w t h  a u x i l i a r i e s  d e p e n d e n t  s t y l i s t i c  c h i l d ' s  s u g g e s t  T h e  p h r a s e  b e g i n n i n g  n u m b e r  t h o s e  o f  c h i l d ' s  u n i v e r s a l  h e l p f u l  n o u n  r e c e n t  w i t h  l a t e r  b e  r e l a t i n g  t h e  a s  o f  u s e .  w a s  u s e  t h e  t h e  1;6,  p r e v i o u s  s u b s e t  t o  m o r e  A t  l a n g u a g e  s e c o n d  o n l y  s l i p p e r s '  s u c h  a b i l i t i e s ,  The  a c q u i s i t i o n  b u t  a  o u t  C h i l d r e n ' s  l a n g u a g e  M o t h e r s '  b a l l e t  B e n e d i c t  a l .  t h e  f i n d i n g s  s p e e c h ,  s e n t e n c e s  c o u l d  t o  a c q u i s i t i o n  l i n g u i s t i c  a r e  s i m i l a r  T h e  s p e e c h .  m o t h e r s '  ' t h o s e  A  e t  m o t h e r .  b i a s e s .  c h i l d ' s  t h e  m o t h e r s '  c o m p l e x  s p e e c h  s e s s i o n .  a n d  c a l c u l a t e d ,  p a r t i a l l i n g  c h i l d r e n ' s  i n f l u e n c e d  a s p e c t s  m o t h e r s '  a f t e r  i n i t i a l  s p e c i f i c  p e r  o f  w e r e  m o t h e r s  w a s  s t u d y .  c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s  who  s e s s i o n  m e a s u r e s  s p e e c h  a n d  t o o k  s p e e c h  t h a t  h a d  a n a l y z e d  C o r r e l a t i o n 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 c h i l d ' s l i n g u i s t i c development.  Pronouns were considered s y n t a c t i c a l l y more complex than  t h e i r noun a l t e r n a t i v e s , while verbs were l e s s concrete and consequently more d i f f i c u l t to l e a r n than nouns.  The factors p o s i t i v e l y r e l a t e d to  language growth were i n t e r j e c t i o n s and the number of nouns per utterance. Furrow et a l . also attempted to determine i f mothers' speech to c h i l d r e n d i f f e r e d from normal adult-to-adult speech i n just those c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s that should be b e n e f i c i a l to the c h i l d .  I t was predicted that f o r  variables which have a lower mean i n adult-to-chiL d speech, there would be negative correlations between mothers' use of t h i s 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 t h i s 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 d i r e c t i o n , although only f i v e were s i g n i f i c a n t .  Furrow  et a l . conclude that some of the c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s which cause c h i l d - d i r e c t e d 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 e f f e c t s of mothers' speech on language a c q u i s i t i o n . One i s that the e f f e c t s are often investigated by means of s i g n i f i c a n t correlations found between measures of maternal and c h i l d 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 e f f e c t r e l a t i o n s h i p between any two primary v a r i a b l e s .  A researcher may u s u a l l y  only speculate on the d i r e c t i o n of possible e f f e c t s .  In studies of verbal  i n t e r a c t i o n confounding variables may be numerous, due to n a t u r a l i s t i c 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 c h i l d ' s environment.  This may no longer be true, e s p e c i a l l y 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 t a l k that are investigated, and the amount of s p e c i f i c information that i s given on any one feature.  A very l i m i t e d number of features, u s u a l l y grammatical i n  nature, have been the focus of a great many studies.  These are often  examined only as part o f a l a r g e r research question, and so information on s p e c i f i c features i s lacking.  S p e c i f i c c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s of the c h i l d - d i r e c t e d  speech code must be examined i n greater d e t a i l i f we are to determine why these c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s e x i s t , and i f and how they influence the process of language a c q u i s i t i o n . Studies of the e f f e c t of the l i n g u i s t i c environment on the c h i l d have been too few to determine whether features of baby t a l k may be c l a s s i f i e d according to t h e i r e f f e c t s , as w e l l as by function.  Two features may be  the r e s u l t of adults attempting to c l a r i f y or s i m p l i f y language f o r the c h i l d , but may have t o t a l l y d i f f e r e n t ways of i n f l u e n c i n g the c h i l d ' s speech.  Newport, Gleitman and Gleitman (1977)» f o r example, propose that  only language-specific aspects of the c h i l d ' s speech, or those features that r e l a t e 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.  I t i s also necessary to determine which aspects of  the mother's speech may have an e f f e c t , and whether there are d i f f e r e n t kinds of language-specific e f f e c t s .  And, just as importantly, whether  semantic, syntactic and phonological features d i f f e r i n the kinds of e f f e c t s they produce. The Present Study In t h i s study, the feature of baby t a l k which replaces the convent i o n a l pronouns of E n g l i s h with nouns or unconventional pronouns was examined.  Ferguson  (1977) c l a s s i f i e d  the process r e p l a c i n g 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 t i o n process of baby t a l k . adult pronominal children. 1.  I t i s simplifying to the extent that the  system i s reduced to a l e v e l more e a s i l y handled by  Several questions regarding t h i s feature were addressed:  To what extent does t h i s c h a r a c t e r i s t i c exist as a general feature of E n g l i s h 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 e f f e c t upon the language-learning c h i l d ? In order to investigate these questions samples of mother-child verbal  i n t e r a c t i o n at two times were c o l l e c t e d .  Two groups of children, at  d i f f e r e n t ages and l i n g u i s t i c l e v e l s , and t h e i r mothers p a r t i c i p a t e d .  The  feature of pronoun avoidance was examined i n d e t a i l i n the maternal samples to determine the extent to which i n d i v i d u a l mothers d i f f e r i n the use of t h i s feature.  The kinds or pronominal reference used by children  - 9 -  was also examined, again noting i n d i v i d u a l differences. Gleitman and Gleitman  In Newport,  (1977) i t was found that v a r i a t i o n i n maternal  speech s t y l e s was s t i l l i n evidence when the v a r i a t i o n caused by the d i f f e r e n t ages and l i n g u i s t i c a b i l i t i e s of the children being addressed was p a r t i a l l e d out.  I n the present study, d i f f e r e n t styles were immediately  apparent because the children within each group were approximately the same age and had comparable l i n g u i s t i c a b i l i t i e s .  Newport et a l . also found  that children's growth rates d i f f e r e d , even when t h e i r ages and l i n g u i s t i c a b i l i t y were p a r t i a l l e d out.  Again, because the age and l i n g u i s t i c l e v e l  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 c h i l d variables were calculated, although the relationships found are subject to the previously limitations.  mentioned  The correlations were to demonstrate the kinds of r e l a t i o n -  ships that existed between ( l ) a mother's use and avoidance of pronouns at the f i r s t session and the c h i l d ' s general l i n g u i s t i c a b i l i t y at t h i s time, (2)  the mother's use and avoidance of pronouns at the f i r s t session and  the c h i l d ' s use of pronominal and nominal reference and, (3)  at the second  the c h i l d ' s use of pronominal and nominal reference  session  at the second  session and h i s or her general l i n g u i s t i c a b i l i t y at that time.  I t was  predicted that there would be negative correlations between mothers' avoidance o f pronouns and the measures of children's speech, and that there would be p o s i t i v e correlations between mothers' use of pronouns and measures of the children's speech.  No predictions were made as to the d i r e c t i o n of  - 10 -  the r e l a t i o n s h i p s "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  c h i l d ' s use of pronominal reference would be p o s i t i v e l y r e l a t e d to general speech measures, while the r e l a t i o n s h i p between nominal reference and measures of general l i n g u i s t i c a b i l i t y would be i n the opposite d i r e c t i o n . A f i n a l caveat regarding the term 'baby t a l k ' must be inserted here. This term has been used with a number of d i s t i n c t meanings i n the l i t e r a t u r e . In one sense baby t a l k r e f e r s to the speech of very young c h i l d r e n , u s u a l l y with s p e c i a l reference made to the kinds o f words used.  A second meaning  r e f e r s to the speech used by adults to address children, but with s p e c i a l reference to the l e x i c a l items, hypocoristic a f f i x e s and higher p i t c h that i s often i n d i c a t i v e of t h i s s p e c i a l r e g i s t e r .  These are often considered  the c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s that may be consciously c o n t r o l l e d .  For example, when  a mother protests the use o f baby t a l k , i t i s u s u a l l y these features which she w i l l t r y to avoid when conversing with her c h i l d .  The f i n a l meaning  also r e f e r s to the speech of adults to children, but may be used even i f i t i s not characterized by s p e c i a l l e x i c a l items or p a r a l i n g u i s t i c features. In t h i s sense the term 'baby t a l k ' i s interchangeable with 'child-directed speech , 'adult-to-child speech' o r 'speech modifications'. 1  In the present  study 'baby t a l k ' w i l l be used i n t h i s t h i r d sense, mainly because of the d i f f i c u l t i e s involved i n separating those features of a d u l t - t o - c h i l d speech which are used consciously and with intent from those that seem to be controlled by some i n t e r n a l notion of how one speakB to a c h i l d . 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 l a t e r date,  - 11 -  A c o r r e l a t i o n a l analysis between measures of maternal and c h i l d speech, An analysis of the differences between i n d i v i d u a l mothers and c h i l d r e n on measures of t h e i r pronominal systems.  Chapter 2. The A c q u i s i t i o n o f Pronominal Reference  The English Pronominal System Deixis i s the system of pointing out or i n d i c a t i n g objects or people i n r e l a t i o n to discourse p a r t i c i p a n t s .  D e i c t i c terms include pronouns,  demonstratives, adverbs of place, come and go, e t c . Person d e i x i s i s the system which determines the r e l a t i o n s h i p between the persons referred to i n an utterance and the speaker and hearer.  By using a p a r t i c u l a r personal  pronoun i t i s possible to indicate the r e l a t i o n s h i p between an utterance and the speaker, l i s t e n e r or person talked about, or to r e f e r back to a person mentioned i n an e a r l i e r utterance. In the present study the system of person d e i x i s used by mothers when speaking to t h e i r c h i l d r e n and the system used by young c h i l d r e n w i l l be studied.  The p a r t i c u l a r focus w i l l be the non-conventional personal  pronouns that are used to r e f e r to e i t h e r the speaker o r hearer.  I will  not be examining 'anaphora', the system of syntactic cross-referencing of pronouns and t h e i r referents. Children's e a r l y utterances generally r e f e r 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 d e i c t i c system concerns the problem of ' s h i f t i n g reference' (Bruner 197U/5* Clark 1978, Jespersen I96I+).  I t i s usually assumed that words r e f e r to persons,  objects, events or ideas i n the r e a l world.  In order that the speaker of  any one language understands other speakers, these referents are necess a r i l y f i x e d and stable.  When a word i s used the speaker's mental  representation of that word must be approximately the same as the l i s t e n e r ' s .  - 12 -  - 13 -  Personal pronouns, however, have "been c a l l e d ' s h i f t e r s ' because they do not have f i x e d referents.  I.  i n ordinary discourse, r e f e r s to the person  who i s at that moment speaking and you i s used by the speaker to r e f e r to the person spoken t o : Thus the i n d i c a t o r s I_ and you cannot e x i s t as p o t e n t i a l i t i e s ; they e x i s t only i n s o f a r as they are actualized i n the instance of discourse, i n which, by each of t h e i r own instances, they mark the process of appropriation by the speaker. (Benveniste 1971, p. 220). A knowledge of the r e c i p r o c a l r o l e s involved i n discourse i s necessary before one can possibly determine the referents of either of these pronouns. The personal pronouns o f E n g l i s h are given i n Table 1.  (Since t h i s  study focuses s o l e l y on the personal pronouns used when children and t h e i r mothers r e f e r 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 d i f f e r e n t forms as i t s  grammatical r o l e within a sentence changes.  Three d i f f e r e n t cases,  subjective, objective and possessive, are marked, showing the r e l a t i o n s h i p between the pronouns and the verb o f the sentence.  The subjective case  i s used only when the pronoun occurs d i r e c t l y 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 d i r e c t or i n d i r e c t object, or i f no verb i s present, the objective cased i s used:  -  Table 1.  Ik  -  The E n g l i s h personal pronouns.  Subjective  Objective  Possessive Prenominal Substitutional  Singular F i r s t Person  me  my  mine  Second person  you  you  your  yours  Third person  he, she  him, her  h i s , her  h i s , hers  F i r s t person  we  us  our  ours  Second person  you  you  your  yours  Third person  they  them  their  theirs  Plural  I f e d 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 d i d t h i s ?  A.  I did.  Q. Who d i d t h i s ?  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. Where i s her new dress?  This i s mine. Where i s hers?  -1$  -  The Child's A c q u i s i t i o n of E n g l i s h Pronouns Pew  empirical studies have investigated how  c h i l d r e n acquire the f u l l  pronominal system of a language, although a large number have looked at s p e c i f i c problems i n f l u e n c i n g t h i s a c q u i s i t i o n . Many of the e a r l y studies examined the pronouns produced by large numbers of c h i l d r e n (e.g. Davis  I93O t Groodenough 1938* McCarthy 195U) while the more recent ones have looked i n d e t a i l at the pronominal systems of i n d i v i d u a l c h i l d r e n (e.g. Huxley  1970, Strayer 1977).  Many of these authors have observed that c h i l d r e n i n i t i a l l y use proper nouns or kinship terms i n place of pronouns, and that t h i s usage may tinue long a f t e r some pronouns have been learned.  con-  Menyuk (1969), f o r  example, notes that the two c h i l d r e n she studied used names to r e f e r to themselves and kinship terms such as Mommy or Daddy to r e f e r to others u n t i l approximately  2^ years of age.  Strayer  i n the speech of her young subjects.  (1977» 1979) found these same forms  She proposes that the use of nouns  f o r pronouns allows the c h i l d to overcome the reference confusion,  since  proper nouns do have f i x e d 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 h i s name much more often than the f i r s t person pronoun at  28 months. Huxley (1970) found that one of the two c h i l d r e n  i n her study often substituted names f o r both I_ and you, and d i d so u n t i l more than three years of age.  Sentences such as the following occurred  frequently i n t h i s c h i l d ' s speech: to stand i t up',  'Douglas give l e t t e r ' , 'Douglas able  'Douglas want t h i s ' (Huxley  1970, pp. 160-161).  The  - 16 -  second c h i l d i n the study (Katriona) used substitutions of t h i s kind much l e s s frequently.  Bloom, Lightbown and Hood  (1975) studied four c h i l d r e n  who were using one o f two systems of reference.  The two boys, E r i c and  Peter, encoded the majority o f objects pronominally i n t h e i r e a r l y multiword speech.  The g i r l s , Kathryn and Gia, used a predominantly nominal  system o f 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 c h i l d r e n have generally ceased using nominal reference when r e f e r r i n g to themselves.  The t r a n s i t i o n from nominal to  pronominal reference may take several months or even years, and may often be v i s i b l e 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 w r i t e / 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 h i s 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 c h i l d r e n studied by S u l l y to 29 months.  (1895) produced  I i n i t i a l l y at anywhere from  19  Each of these authors agrees that I i s the f i r s t personal  pronoun used appropriately by c h i l d r e n .  - 17 -  There has "been very l i t t l e research i n the order of a c q u i s i t i o n of the f u l l pronominal system o f English, o r the age at which i n d i v i d u a l pronouns, other than I, are learned. Markey  (1928) discusses a number  of trends that characterize the way c h i l d r e n learn pronouns.  He states  that there i s a tendency f o r : 1.  "The personal pronouns to appear i n the order: 2.  2.  second person; 3»  1.  f i r s t person;  t h i r d person".  "The subject-pronoun to appear before the possessive pronoun i n each case".  3.  "The subject ' I ' , 'we' and 'they* to appear before object 'me , 1  »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 a c q u i s i t i o n of f i r s t and second person pronouns: I_, you, me, my, your.  Strayer  (1977) gives a s l i g h t l y d i f f e r e n t order  based on the mean age at f i r s t production f o r four children: you (subject), your, you (object).  J_, my_, me,  In a study by Morehead and Ingram  (1973)  the order of a c q u i s i t i o n of personal pronouns was r e l a t e d to the l i n g u i s t i c l e v e l 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 s l i g h t l y over 2.00, at approximately 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 h i s  were acquired by the time an MLU o f approximately k*5 was attained, and the r e s t 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 c h i l d r e n may encounter i n learning the pronominal system of E n g l i s h . a c q u i s i t i o n of the I-you subsystem.  Clark  The f i r s t concerns the  (1978) and Shipley and Shipley  (1969) discuss two hypotheses children may adopt to understand personal pronouns.  The f i r s t i s c a l l e d 'absolute* comprehension.  I f the c h i l d  understands pronouns i n an absolute manner, he w i l l assume that each pronoun has a s p e c i f i c f i x e d referent.  Since parents are heard using I_  to r e f e r to themselves, t h e i r c h i l d r e n may assume that I_ means the same thing as Mommy or Daddy.  Since you i s used by the parents to r e f e r to the  c h i l d , the c h i l d may f i r s t assume that i t i s merely a substitute f o r the c h i l d ' s own name.  The second hypothesis i s that of ' r e l a t i v e ' comprehen-  sion, where the c h i l d immediately recognizes the s h i f t i n g nature of the system,  1_ r e f e r s to the speaker, whether i t be a parent or the c h i l d ,  and you to the l i s t e n e r or addressee. i n the development  Strayer  (1977) gives three stages  of t h i s hypothesis. At f i r s t the c h i l d recognizes you  when i t i s used to address the c h i l d , and can use I_ c o r r e c t l y i n s e l f reference.  At the second stage, the c h i l d r e a l i z e s that IE can also r e f e r  to the mother when she i s speaking and you to her when she i s l i s t e n i n g . Only at the f i n a l stage does the c h i l d generalize these r u l e s and conclude that 1^ r e f e r s to the person t a l k i n g and you to the l i s t e n e r . 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 Sully  1895,  following:  YanderGeest  1975).  1978,  Cooley  1908,  Jespersen  196U»  These children produce sentences l i k e the  'Will I t e l l a story?' instead of 'Will you t e l l a story?'  (Jespersen  1961;,  p.  12U)»  'That's your chair' instead of 'That's my chair  (Jespersen  196Ut  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, p e r s i s t i n g sometimes as long as three to four months. of children do, however, choose the correct hypothesis.  The majority  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  r e f e r r i n g to themselves than when r e f e r r i n g to others. Shipley  Shipley and  (1969) note that only one c h i l d of the twenty i n t h e i r study made  t h i s 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  s h i f t i n g reference, but they also must learn that most pronouns have a number of d i f f e r e n t case frames and several s p e c i f i c forms.  As B e l l u g i  (1971) points out, a simple p o s i t i o n a l analysis of adult sentences w i l l not teach a c h i l d how and when to use a s p e c i f i c 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 f o r subjectives.  This type of error has been noted by B e l l u g i (l97l)» Brown  (1973). Huxley (1970) and Ingram and Webster (1972). Subjective pronouns are used c o r r e c t l y by most children by approximately three years of age, although Hatch  (1969) found some preference f o r objective pronouns i n  i m i t a t i o n tasks performed by older children.  Pre-kindergarten and pre-  second graders were asked to imitate reversible sentences of which h a l f had the correct pronoun and h a l f had either a subject pronoun i n an object s l o t , or an object pronoun i n a subject s l o t .  I t was found that the  - 20 -  children changed an incorrect subjective case pronoun i n object p o s i t i o n s i g n i f i c a n t l y more often than an objective pronoun i n a subject s l o t . Several of the pre-kindergarteners  even changed correct subjective case  pronouns i n t o the objective case. Reviewing the l i t e r a t u r e on children's errors i n case-marking, Tanz (197U) found that these errors could be explained by two of the p r i n c i p l e s proposed by Slobin (1973). exceptions'  (Slobin  Th  e  operating  f i r s t p r i n c i p l e i s 'avoid  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. t h i s basis r u l e s can be formulated subjective pronouns.  On  to account f o r the occurrence of  The second operating p r i n c i p l e i s 'pay attention to  the ends of words' (Slobin  1973* P« 191).  I f the c h i l d can apply such a  strategy to words, Tanz suggests that a s i m i l a r r u l e can be applied to l a r g e r constituents such as phrases or sentences.  The c h i l d w i l l then  select the objective form of the pronoun as basic, since i t s p o s i t i o n at or near the end of phrases w i l l make i t more perceptually s a l i e n t .  Mackie,  a c h i l d studied by Gruber (1969), appeared to have chosen the objective form as the basic or more generalizeable one.  In t h i s c h i l d ' s speech,  objective pronouns and nouns were grouped together to function as topics, with the unmarked subjective pronouns functioning as comments.  This  d i s t i n c t i o n was made through d i s t r i b u t i o n a l and intonational differences between the two groups of l e x i c a l items.  Gruber suggested that Mackie,  and perhaps other c h i l d r e n , do not recognize subjective pronouns as actual noun phrases or subjects of sentences, but rather as introductory p a r t i c l e s or verbal i n f l e c t i o n s .  - 21 -  The t h i r d type of mistake children may make i n t h e i r use and understanding of pronouns i s that of gender. and Webster  Two experiments, one hy Ingram  (1972) and the other c i t e d i n Wales (1979) used an experimental  paradigm i n v o l v i n g the manipulation of d o l l s 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 f o r 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 c h i l d r e n ranged from 5;9  to 7>8.  I t was found  that almost h a l f the comprehension errors made by normal subjects were of gender d i s t i n c t i o n .  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 f o r she by normal subjects, but she was never substituted f o r he. f o r one another.  Wales  Him and her were used as substitutions  (1979) tested s o l e l y f o r the comprehension of  personal pronouns, using two groups of c h i l d r e n with mean ages of U>6 6;0.  and  Both groups found t h i r d person references more d i f f i c u l t than either  f i r s t or second.  Gender was interpreted c o r r e c t l y 8^6 of the time.  The Pronominal System of Baby Talk The use of personal pronouns i n c h i l d - d i r e c t e d speech has been examined recently by Strayer  (1977, 1979) and W i l l s (1978). W i l l s (1978) investigated  the speech addressed to one c h i l d learning French and E n g l i s h and to four monolingual E n g l i s h speakers.  This study focused on the kinds of reference  used by parents that were departures from the conventional system of pronominal reference. the following:  The most frequent departures from t h i s system were  (where S=Sender and R=Eeceiver)  - 22 -  Objectification  S —»3P H —»3P  Unification  S —»we R  Disassociation  — 7  we  S —»^ R  >jr4  The substitution of t h i r d person pronouns, proper nouns or kinship terms f o r f i r s t and second person singular pronouns (rules 1 and li) i s called objectification. components: pronoun.  This process may be further broken down into the  S or R — > k i n s h i p term or name, and S or R  >3 d person r  This d i v i s i o n 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 t h i r d person pronouns, although both may occur i n a single sentence, e.g. 'You come to mean o l d mama, s h e ' l l put i t on ya', 'Mommy's got holes i n her shoes' (Wills 1978, p. 278). Substitutions f o r second person pronouns were the most frequent type o f baby t a l k reference found by W i l l s . The process of o b j e c t i f i c a t i o n , according to W i l l s , obscures the i n d i v i d u a l r o l e s o f sender and receiver by p l a c i n g them i n the larger category of people referred to by name.  This blurs the d i s t i n c t i o n between  the parent and c h i l d , a t least i n a l i n g u i s t i c sense.  By objectifying,  pronouns the parent also allows the c h i l d to hear h i s 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 o b j e c t i f i c a t i o n i s a c r o s s - c u l t u r a l phenomenon.  - 23 -  In Serbo-Croatian, adults frequently use kinship terms i n place of pronouns, often doing so u n t i l the c h i l d i s more than four years of age (Jocic  1978)» I t i s unusual f o r Japanese parents to begin using f i r s t  and second person pronouns u n t i l long a f t e r t h e i r children have reached school age (Fisher  1970).  O b j e c t i f i c a t i o n 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 t a l k , Blount and Padgug  (1977) found that although parents i n both cultures often used nouns to replace pronouns when speaking to t h e i r children, t h i s process occurred more frequently i n Spanish than English.  Both VanderGeest  and J o c i c  believe that o b j e c t i f i c a t i o n i s an adaptation to the c h i l d ' s l i m i t e d l i n g u i s t i c system, aimed at f a c i l i t a t i n g the c h i l d ' s understanding. Jespersen disagrees, claiming that the c h i l d ' s understanding may be aided at that moment:  'but on the other hand the c h i l d i n t h i s way hears these  l i t t l e words ([pronouns] l e s s frequently and i s slower i n mastering them'. (Jespersen 1961+, p.  123).  W i l l s ' next category, comprising rules 2 and 6, i s c a l l e d u n i f i c a t i o n . This process replaces the adult I. and you by the f i r s t person p l u r a l pronoun, we.  U n i f i c a t i o n b l u r s the d i s t i n c t i o n between the c h i l d and the parent as  separate e n t i t i e s , emphasizing instead the dyadic u n i t 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 l a t e r ' , or 'Up we go!'. reportedly occurs i n both Serbo-croatian (Jocic 1978)  Unification 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 e n t i t y and r o l e of the p a r t i c i p a n t s  - 2k -  i n a dialogue.  The deletion of sender most often occurs i n r i t u a l i z e d  games such as 'gotcha', where the mother attempts to involve her c h i l d as much as possible i n the a c t i v i t y at hand.  Second person pronouns are  frequently deleted i n narratives describing the c h i l d ' s a c t i v i t i e s , as the mother attempts to involve h e r s e l f i n the action. Strayer (1977* 1979) has also investigated parents* use and avoidance of I and you, along with t h e i r children's a c q u i s i t i o n of these two  pronouns.  She found that when parents were conversing with t h e i r 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  r e f e r r i n g to e i t h e r the c h i l d or to themselves.  Children, on the other  hand, used personal pronouns more often than names when r e f e r r i n g to themselves, but names more often than second person pronouns when r e f e r r i n g to adults.  The n o n - l i n g u i s t i c contexts of I- and you-class utterances d i f f e r e d  significantly.  Adult utterances containing I_ tended to describe ongoing  a c t i v i t y and required a response from the c h i l d only ll$> of the time.  You-  c l a s s utterances were generally directed towards the c h i l d , and required verbal responses from the c h i l d almost h a l f the time. Very l i t t l e i s known about the influence of linguistic?'input on the c h i l d ' s a c q u i s i t i o n of personal pronouns, with the exception of the early a c q u i s i t i o n of I_ and you.  I t i s not known i f the order i n which pronouns  are acquired i s r e l a t e d 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 s u b s t i t u t i o n processes influence the amount of nominal reference or the kinds of pronominal errors made by c h i l d r e n .  And  lastly,  i t i s not known i f differences i n children's pronominal systems are caused by differences i n the l i n g u i s t i c input that i s heard. was undertaken to shed l i g h t on these questions.  The present study  Since the r e c i p r o c a l  r e l a t i o n s h i p between the I-you subsystems used by c h i l d r e n and adults has been investigaged by Clark (1978)» Shipley and Shipley (19&9) sad Strayer  (1977* 1979)» "this aspect was l a r g e l y 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, p a r t i c i p a t e d i n the study.  Each group was comprised of four mother-child  dyads, a l l of which p a r t i c i p a t e d i n two n a t u r a l i s t i c sessions.  The ages,  MLU's, upper bounds and r a t i o s of l e x i c a l types over utterances produced f o r the eight c h i l d r e n are given i n Table 2.  This table also gives the  number of utterances produced by each mother and c h i l d at the two sessions. The r a t i o of l e x i c a l types over utterances produced, designated as LT/U, was developed f o r the purposes of t h i s study.  This measure represents the  r a t i o .of t o t a l number of l e x i c a l items i n the c h i l d ' s vocabulary to the number of utterances produced at that session.  I t was designed to measure  the c h i l d ' s vocabulary s i z e , taking into account possible differences i n sample s i z e . 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 e a r l y Stage I I (see Brown  1973)*  At the time of the second session  Group 1 c h i l d r e n were i n l a t e Stage I I , and Group 2 children were i n Stage III. Since one of the purposes of t h i s study was to examine i n d i v i d u a l differences i n children's and mothers' speech, no attempt was made to control f o r family or socio-economic v a r i a b l e s . two parent f a m i l i e s .  Seven of the c h i l d r e n came from  At least one of each c h i l d ' s parents had completed  some l e v e l of post-secondary education, and i n s i x out of eight dyads, both parents had further education. Three of the eight mothers d i d not work  - 26 -  - 27 -  Table 2 .  Measures of general l i n g u i s t i c a b i l i t y f o r two groups of children and number of utterances produced hy two groups of dyads at two sessions  Group 1  Group 2  Session Parameters  1  Session 2  1  2  Children Age  Mean  1 ; 5  Range MLU  Mean  1;1+-1;7 1  .  Range Upper hound  LT/U  Mean  .  Mean Range  r o d u c e d  2;0-2;3  2;2-2;6  2;6~2;10  2.13  2.89  2.39  2.09-2.71+  3  6  7  2  0  2.68-3.16 1  1+-8  5  -  9  •U3  .  5  0  3  8-19 .  5  5  .1+2-.52  .1+1+-.56  6  295  261  21+6-1+30  157-39U  176-1+27  21+3-568  1+97  1+89  657  207-71+1  225-681+  36I-823  .13-.23 3  2;8  1.55-2.95  3 - 1 +  Range Utterances  3  2;1+  1.13-1.53  Mean Range  P  3  2;1  2  .1+6-.65 1+51  Mothers Utterances produced  Mean R  a  n  g  e  6  2 9 58U-687  - 28 -  during the day. The remaining f i v e e i t h e r worked part-time or were attending u n i v e r s i t y .  The c h i l d r e n o f the u n i v e r s i t y and working mothers  a l l attended day-care at l e a s t half-time.  A l l parents had been l i v i n g  i n Canada f o r at least eight years; s i x had been born i n Canada, the remaining two i n the United States.  Pour of the c h i l d r e n had no s i b l i n g s ,  and one had twin s i s t e r s born while the study was i n session. Materials Photographs o f the mother and her c h i l d , both alone and playing together, were taken by the experimenter.  At l e a s t seven pictures were  taken of each of the dyads, and the mothers were asked to supplement set with pictures of t h e i r own i f possible.  this  The photographs, which were  taken approximately one week before the second session took place, were presented to each o f the mothers f o r use at t h i s session.  I t was expected  that the presence of these pictures would encourage the members of each dyad to t a l k 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 f o r use at the second session.  This book contains a large  number of vocabulary items with matched pictures, supplemented by s t o r i e s about day-to-day l i f e .  The mothers were asked to read c e r t a i n prose  sections to the c h i l d and to attempt to have the c h i l d name p a r t i c u l a r objects and people i n the book.  The passages and words that the mothers  were to t r y to e l i c i t were c i r c l e d i n red ink.  - 29 -  Procedure Speech samples from the eight c h i l d r e n and t h e i r mothers were c o l l e c t e d i n two one-half hour sessions.  Each session contained  three  conversational s i t u a t i o n s , each approximately ten minutes i n length.  In  the f i r s t sessions, speech samples were c o l l e c t e d while the mother dressed the c h i l d , during free-play and while reading a hook.  Mothers were asked  to spend ten minutes playing with t h e i r c h i l d i n whatever way was natural f o r the free-play s i t u a t i o n .  the most  The hooks f o r the hook-reading  s i t u a t i o n were supplied by the mothers, and they were u s u a l l y ones the c h i l d was f a m i l i a r with.  The second session took place approximately  seven months a f t e r the f i r s t f o r Group 1 dyads, and approximately 3§ months l a t e r f o r Group 2 dyads. Group 2 dyads since i t was  The i n t e r v a l between sessions was  shorter f o r  f e l t that the older c h i l d r e n would be advancing  l i n g u i s t i c a l l y at a f a s t e r pace than the younger c h i l d r e n .  Since the  length of t h i s i n t e r v a l i s e s s e n t i a l l y a r b i t r a r y , no claim i s being made that the same amount of growth would take place f o r both groups of c h i l d r e n . The second session contained a dressing s i t u a t i o n and a book-reading s i t u a t i o n , along with a ten minute period during which the mother and her c h i l d were to discuss the photographs supplied by the experimenter.  The  book used f o r 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 i n s t r u c t i o n s concerning the use of cassette recorders  the volume and tone controls were preset. may  and  Although t h i s method of taping  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 i n t e r a c t i o n would take place i f a stranger was not present. Mothers were asked to tape each of the three conditions f o r each session within a 1+8 hour period. On the day the tape recorder was picked up, a f t e r the f i r s t session, a 15 minute interview with the mother was tape recorded.  During the i n t e r -  view, the experimenter asked the mother eight questions concerning the kind of verbal i n t e r a c t i o n she and her c h i l d u s u a l l y engaged i n , and her use of and f e e l i n g s toward baby t a l k .  These interviews represented samples of  adult-to-adult speech that could be compared to the samples of adult-toc h i l d speech.  Pour experimenters, i n c l u d i n g the author, were involved i n  the data c o l l e c t i o n f o r Group 1 dyads at Session 1 .  These same four  experimenters conducted the interview sessions f o r the four mothers from Group 1 .  A l l subsequent interviews and home v i s i t s were c a r r i e d out by  the author. Analyses Tapes from a l l 1 6 sessions were transcribed either phonetically, when a c h i l d ' s production d i d not match the target word, or i n standard orthography, when i t d i d .  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. maternal utterances per s i t u a t i o n were analyzed.  A maximum of 3 5 0  This had an e f f e c t on  speech samples from two mothers, and i n these cases the analyses do not include utterances from the mother or her c h i l d a f t e r t h i s cut-off point. The number of utterances analyzed f o r 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 ' o b j e c t i f i c a t i o n s * and •unifications* used by the two groups of mothers at Session 1 were determined.  Objectifications  occurred when a proper  noun, kinship term or t h i r d 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 f o r you', one instance of o b j e c t i f i c a t i o n would be counted.  Instances of o b j e c t i f i c a t i o n were divided into two categories:  nominal and pronominal.  Nominal o b j e c t i f i c a t i o n occurred when a name or  kinship term was used where conventional usage required a f i r s t or second person pronoun.  Pronominal o b j e c t i f i c a t i o n occurred when a t h i r d 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 o b j e c t i f i c a t i o n would be  a mother saying to her c h i l d , 'Mommy said that she'd do i t f o r you', meaning that the mother would be doing something f o r the c h i l d .  'Unifica-  tions' occurred when the mother used any of the f i r s t person p l u r a l 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 u n i f i c a t i o n would be counted.  For purposes of presentation the  instances of u n i f i c a t i o n were combined with the instances of pronominal o b j e c t i f i c a t i o n under the category 'pronominal substitutions'. of Wills*  Instances  'disassociation* were excluded from the analysis f o r two reasons.  F i r s t , i t was almost impossible to decide whether the pronoun which was omitted r e f e r r e d to the speaker or to the l i s t e n e r 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 f a c t a missing pronoun i n a declarative or interrogative sentence.  The number of pronoun omissions that could  indisputably he i s o l a t e d 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 i s o l a t e d .  In addition, the  number of p a r t i c u l a r pronominal forms used by each c h i l d at t h i s session were determined.  I f , f o r example, a c h i l d used the pronoun I s i x times,  the pronoun me twice and the pronoun you (subjective) a t o t a l of four times, then he or she would have used a t o t a l 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.  First  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 f o r the c h i l d r e n at Session 2. reference'.  These are presented i n the category 'nominal  I f a c h i l d , f o r 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 c h i l d at  Session 2, such as the use of a t h i r d person pronoun i n self-reference, were also determined. In order to calculate a measure of pronominal growth f o r each c h i l d , the number of pronouns used and the number of pronominal forms used at Session 1 were also found f o r each c h i l d .  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 f o r both groups of children.  This measure of  growth was the difference i n the number of f i r s t , second and t h i r d person pronouns used by a c h i l d 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 f o r these data. The f i r s t group r e l a t e d the frequency with which mothers used pronouns, nominal o b j e c t i f i c a t i o n s and pronominal substitutions at Session 1 and c e r t a i n measures of the c h i l d ' s l i n g u i s t i c a b i l i t y at Session 1.  The c h i l d  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 i n d i v i d u a l v a r i a t i o n i n the mothers' use of pronouns and substitutions could be accounted f o r by the l i n g u i s t i c l e v e l of the children.  As was previously mentioned i t was predicted that there would be  negative correlations between the mothers' use of nominal o b j e c t i f i c a t i o n s and pronominal substitutions and measures of the c h i l d s speech, and 1  p o s i t i v e correlations between the mothers' use of pronouns and measures of the c h i l d ' 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 t h i s kind would help to determine i f the c h i l d ' s use and avoidance of pronouns was r e l a t e d to the mother's use and avoidance of pronouns.  As  was previously stated, no predictions were made concerning the value of these relationships.  The t h i r d set of correlations examined the r e l a t i o n s h i p  - 3U between the children's use of pronominal and nominal reference at  Session  2 and t h e i r MLU's, upper bounds and LT/U's at that same session. Relationships between the c h i l d ' 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 pronominal systems could be predicted by t h e i r general abilities.  I t was  linguistic  predicted that measures of the c h i l d ' s use of pro-  nominal reference would be p o s i t i v e l y r e l a t e d to general speech measures, while the r e l a t i o n s h i p s between nominal reference and general l e v e l would be  linguistic  negative.  To be c e r t a i n that the e f f e c t s being investigated were i n f a c t due r e l a t i o n s h i p s between the mothers' speech at the f i r s t session and  to  the  children's at the second, a f i n a l set of c o r r e l a t i o n s were c a l c u l t e d . These are based on a discussion by Furrow et a l . ( 1 9 7 9 ) .  In assuming, on  the "basis of s i g n i f i c a n t c o r r e l a t i o n s , that aspects of the mother's speech at one time ( t ^ ) have an influence upon aspects of the c h i l d ' s speech at a l a t e r time (t^),  then:  i t i s necessary to ensure that the s i g n i f i c a n c e did not r e s u l t from (a) differences i n the c h i l d r e n at time  accounting f o r  the v a r i a t i o n among mothers at t ^ while also being responsible for  the v a r i a t i o n s amongst themselves at  (thus producing an  a r t i f i c i a l 'mothers at t ^ - c h i l d r e n at -tg* c o r r e l a t i o n ; or  (b)  differences i n mothers at t ^ accounting f o r differences i n mothers at tg which were i n turn responsible f o r the concurrent differences between c h i l d r e n at t . Q  (p. I4.27).  - 35 -  In. order to avoid the possible r e l a t i o n s h i p s i n ( a ) , the children from each group were matched at the i n i t i a l session f o r l i n g u i s t i c l e v e l . r e l a t i o n s h i p s i n (b) were investigated by examining the mothers*  The  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 s i g n i f i c a n t c o r r e l a t i o n between mothers* and children's speech at tg always had the opposite sign from the same s i g n i f i c a n t c o r r e l a t i o n between mothers* speech at t ^ and the children's at t g , then the second type of r e l a t i o n s h i p cannot e x i s t .  In t h i s way,  i t can be shown that the r e l a t i o n s h i p s under i n v e s t i g a t i o n are r e a l l y between a mother's speech at one time and her c h i l d ' s speech at a l a t e r date.  I f t h i s i s the case then the c h i l d ' s l i n g u i s t i c l e v e l must be taken  i n t o account i n studies of environmental e f f e c t s . u n t i l the changes i n speech modifications  This also means that  are more c a r e f u l l y examined, a  mother's speech at one time could not be predicted by her speech at an e a r l i e r time. Thus any r e l a t i o n s h i p found between a mother's language at one time and her c h i l d ' s a f t e r some i n t e r v a l must be a true one, not just an a r t i f 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 subj e c t i v e form, you, and that the least commonly used was the f i r s t person possessive form, my_ (see Table 3). the second group of mothers.  The pronoun I_ was used more often by  Second person pronouns were used more  frequently than f i r s t person pronouns by both groups ( t ( l k ) = 9.82, p *.001) and subjective case pronouns were used more frequently than  C ) = 12»25» P .001) or possessives (t(Lk) • 8.1+0, p ^ . O O l ) . 1  objectives  4  The r e s u l t s 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 t h i s time used s i g n i f i c a n t l y more cases of nominal o b j e c t i f i c a t i o n than the mothers of the c h i l d r e n who were at Stage I I (t(6) = 3«52, p .05). L  Both groups of  mothers used the process of u n i f i c a t i o n , where a f i r s t person p l u r a l pronoun i s substituted f o r a f i r s t or second person singular form more often than they used a t h i r d person pronoun to o b j e c t i f y 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 t h i s difference was not s t a t i s t i c a l l y significant.  Both groups used nominal o b j e c t i f i c a t i o n or non-conventional  - 36 -  - 37 -  Table 3«  Pronouns used by two groups of mothers at Session 1.  Parameter  a)  Pronoun frequency  I m  e  my, mine you (subj.)  D)  Group 1  Group 2  (children at Stage I )  (children at Stage I I )  Mean  S.D.  Mean  S.D.  1.99 2.02 .12  1.1+1  5.00  1.98  .98 .62  1.05 .56 .60  17.75  5.1U  .08  you (obj.)  .88  .1+7  your, yours  6.99  3.00  29.75  9.U7  Frequency of f i r s t and second person  Frequency Proportion  c)  .85 I+.37  28.66  1.71 .58 1.1+1  1.55  Frequency Proportion  16.50  .11+  26.1+1  .23  102.51  .86  88.23  .77  78.91+  .66  - objective  11.60  .10  87.35" 7.36  - possessive  28. 1+7  .21+  19.91+  .76 .06 .18  Person - f i r s t - second  a)  16.83  Case - subjective  - 38 -  Table 1+. Nominal o b j e c t i f i c a t i o n s and pronominal substitutions used by two groups of mothers at Session 1 (per 100 utterance sample)  Group 1  Group 2  (children at Stage I )  (children at Stage I I )  Mean S.D.  3.36 U.19  .53 .61  Frequency Proportion  6.79 .51 6.65 .1+9  2.10 1.00 0.00 .00  7.7U .58 3.32 .21+ 2.38 .18  1.51 .72 .59 .28 0.00 .00  2.92 .20 .11 2.72 .37  2.31+ .10 .10 2.21+  5.51+ .53 6.12 .1+7  7.39 .79 1.98 .21  9.37 .80 2.29 .20 0.00 .00  5.30 .56 3.87 .1+2 .20 .02  Parameter  a)  Nominal objectification i)  Person First Second  ii)  b)  Case Subjective  ii) iii)  Frequency Proportion  Possessive  Frequency Proportion  Mean  Pronominal objectification  Mean S.D.  Unification  Mean S.D.  Person First Second  iv)  Frequency Proportion  Objective  A l l pronominal substitutions i)  Frequency Proportion  Case Subjective  Frequency Proportion Frequency Proportion Frequency Proportion  Objective  Frequency Proportion  Possessive  Frequency Proportion  Vl+6  - 39 -  pronoun substitutions f o r subjective pronouns more often than they d i d f o r objective or possessive pronouns.  These differences, however, d i d not reach  significance. Children's Systems of Pronominal and Nominal Reference The mean number of f i r s t , second and t h i r d person pronouns used per 100 utterance sample by Group 1 children at Session 1 was 2.08.  These  children were at Stage I at t h i s 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. and he were used by one c h i l d each. the  You (objective)  The second person possessive forms and  t h i r d person objective and possessive forms were not used by any of the Group 2 children at Session I used a mean number  c h i l d r e n at t h i s time. of 21.62  pronouns per 100 utterance sample.  These four children were i n  Brown's Stage I I at t h i s time. Table 5 presents the r e s u l t s 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  t h i s session, the c h i l d r e n from Group 1 were i n Brown's Stage I I , and those from Group 2 were i n Brown's Stage I I I . the  For both groups of children I  was  most frequently used pronoun, and your or yours the l e a s t frequent.  The older children's systems more c l o s e l y resembled t h e i r mothers:  you  (subjective) was more frequent and you (objective) was r e l a t i v e l y 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 ( \ ( l ) = 6 . 2 5 , 2  P^.05).  - 1+0 -  Table 5.  Pronouns used by two groups of children at Session 2  Group 1 (Stage I I )  Parameter  a)  Pronoun frequency  I me my, mine you (subj.) you (obj.) your, yours  b)  Frequency of f i r s t and second person  V Mean  V S.D.  8.81+  1.39  1.76  1.00 2.38  .53 1.25  1.02  3.00  1.52  .14+ .13  .98 .85  .97 .66  8.19  17.01+  1.60  Mean  S.D.  7.28 .1+0  5.81+ .60  2.1+9 .51 .77 .06  11.51  Frequency Proportion  c)  Person - f i r s t - second  a) Case - subjective - objective - possessive e)  Pronoun types ( f i r s t , second and t h i r d persons)  Group 2 (Stage I I I )  Frequency Proportion  1+0.67  .88  1+8.85  5.36  .12  19.29  .72 .28  31.15  .68 .10 .22  1+7.33 7.90  .69 .12  12.91  .19  10.50  2.89  1N67  10.20  1+.25  2.22  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 f o r a l l s i x persons and cases.  The  older c h i l d r e n used nominal forms f o r 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 l e a s t 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 t h i r d person pronouns f o r 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 c h i l d from Group 2  was involved i n the following exchange: Child:  (looking at picture of himself) He's a l l d i r t y .  Child:  Mother:  Who i s ?  Mother:  He's a l l d i r t y ?  (says h i s name)  Child:  Yeah.  Child:  He's b i t i n g a donut.  What's he doing here? Mother:  He's b i t i n g a donut. A c t u a l l y 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 s i g n i -  ficant. the  Nominal forms were used more often f o r the objective case than  subjective (t(U+) = k*3k, V*- .001)  by both groups of children.  or possessive (x ( l ) = 6 . 2 5 ,  P  c  .05)  - k2 -  Table 6.  Nominal reference and non-standard pronouns used by two groups of c h i l d r e n at Session 2 (per 100 utterance sample)  Group 1  Parameter  (Stage I I )  a)  Nominal reference i)  Person First Second  ii)  b)  3.63  1U.57 .59  9.79 .67  Frequency Proportion  10.08  U.7U  .Ul  U.19 .17  .33  1.20 .08  Subjective  Frequency Proportion  Objective  Frequency Proportion  16.79 .68  12.90 .89  Possessive  Frequency Proportion  3.67 .15  .35 .03  .35 .Uo  2.51 U.io 7. Ht  Frequency Proportion  1.38 1.00 0.00 .00  Subjective  Frequency Proportion  .50 .37  6.56 .65  Objective  Frequency Proportion  .25 .18  Possessive  Frequency Proportion  .63 .U5  1.23 .12 2.23 .23  Person First Second  ii)  6.16  (Stage I I I )  Frequency Proportion  Case  Non-standard pronoun use - S and K — • t h i r d person pronoun i)  Mean S.D.  Group 2  Mean S.D. Frequency Proportion  Case  .71 2.88 .29  - 1+3 -  Very few errors of gender, case, reversal of person or phonetic r e a l i z a t i o n were found i n the pronouns or substitutions used by the eight c h i l d r e n at Session 2.  Three children; two i n Group 1 and one i n Group 2,  omitted the _s when using t h e i r own name i n place of a possessive pronoun. These errors accounted f o r a t o t a l of s i x tokens.  Two children from Group  2 used the form you as a possessive pronoun, f o r a t o t a l of four errors. One of these c h i l d r e n also produced the only case of a pronoun r e v e r s a l found i n these data.  She said "Now  you a unicorn again* meaning "Now  1^  had a unicorn again", immediately a f t e r her mother used a r e l a t e d sentence containing you.  A t h i r d c h i l d from Group 2 f a i l e d to observe the correct  gender d i s t i n c t i o n when using t h i r d person pronouns. Correlations The Pearson product-moment c o r r e l a t i o n c o e f f i c i e n t s obtained f o r these data are given i n Table 1. obtained when the mothers  1  Part (a) of the table shows the r e s u l t s use of pronouns, nominal o b j e c t i f i c a t i o n and  pronominal substitutions were correlated with measures of the c h i l d ' s general l i n g u i s t i c a b i l i t y , and with the c h i l d ' s a b i l i t y to use  pronouns.  Both the maternal and c h i l d measures i n t h i s part of the table come from Session 1.  The s t a t i s t i c a l l y s i g n i f i c a n t correlations were those between  the mothers' use of nominal o b j e c t i f i c a t i o n 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 s i g n i f i c a n t correlations between children's  l i n g u i s t i c l e v e l s and the number of pronouns used by mothers.  -y*  Table 7«  a)  -  Correlations  Correlations between maternal and c h i l d variables at Session 1  Pronoun frequency  C h i l d variables  Maternal variables Nominal objectification  -.1*7* -.14** -.1+0  -.03 .00  MLU Upper bound  -.17 -.05 .21  LT/U Pronoun frequency Pronominal forms  Pronominal substitutions  -.1*5 -.1*5* -.1*0 -.62* -.66**  -.5k* -.67**  *p *• .05 one-tailed **p <• .01 one-tailed b)  Correlations between maternal variables at Session 1 and c h i l d variables at Session 2 Pronoun frequency  C h i l d variables Pronoun frequency  -.2k  Nominal reference  -.1*1  Non-standard pronouns  Maternal variables Nominal objectification  -.19  .05  Pronominal forms  Pronominal substitutions  -.08 .68** -.21  -.36  -.ko  -.kl  .05 -.31  *p <. .05 two-tailed **p <• .01 two-tailed c)  Correlations between c h i l d variables at Session 2 Pronominal forms  MLU  .59*  Upper bound  .93** .51  LT/U Pronoun frequency Pronominal forms *p *.05 one-tailed **p < .01 one-tailed  Pronoun frequency  Nominal reference  Non-standard pronouns  .59* .62*  -.15 -.k0  .19 -.07  .39  -.09  .1*3  -.17 -.56*  .lk  -.12  -  .45-  Part (b) of the table gives the r e s u l t s of the c o r r e l a t i o n a l 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 l a t e r one.  There was  a s i g n i f i c a n t p o s i t i v e r e l a t i o n s h i p between mothers' use of nominal o b j e c t i f i c a t i o n and the c h i l d ' s use of nominal reference at the l a t e r time. There were no s i g n i f i c a n t r e l a t i o n s h i p s between a mother's use or avoidance of pronouns and the c h i l d ' s use of pronominal reference. Correlations between measures of the c h i l d ' s l i n g u i s t i c a b i l i t y at Session 2 and h i s 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 p o s i t i v e l y r e l a t e d to the number  of pronominal forms used, and MLTJ and upper bound were p o s i t i v e l y r e l a t e d to the t o t a l number of pronouns used by a c h i l d .  None of the measures of  general l i n g u i s t i c a b i l i t y were r e l a t e d to the amount of nominal reference or non-standard pronouns used, although a l l correlations with nominal reference were negative. There was a s i g n i f i c a n t negative c o r r e l a t i o n between the number of pronominal forms used by a c h i l d and the amount of nominal reference used at that time. In order to ensure that the r e l a t i o n s h i p s i n part (b) of Table 1 were r e a l , the r e l a t i o n s h i p s between maternal and c h i l d variables at Session 2 were also investigated.  Correlations between Group 1 mothers' use and  avoidance of pronouns at Session 2 and t h e i r 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 c h i l d speech at Session 2.  These r e s u l t s are presented i n Table 8.  Where a s i g n i f i c a n t c o r r e l a t i o n exists between measures of maternal speech at Session 1 and c h i l d speech at Session 2, the same c o r r e l a t i o n with  Table 8.  Correlations between measures of Group 1 mothers' and children's speech at Session 1 and 2  Maternal variables  C h i l d variables  Pronoun frequency  Nominal objectification  Session  Session  1  2  1  2  Pronominal substitutions Session 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*  .95**  -.52  Pronominal forms  *p .05 two-tailed **p <• .01 two-tailed 4  .29  .11  -.36  -.03  - 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 t h e i r c h i l d r e n mature.  Thus,  c o r r e l a t i o n s between these measures o f maternal and c h i l d 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 i n d i c a t i v e of r e l a t i o n s h i p s between maternal speech at one time and children's speech at a l a t e r time. Individual V a r i a t i o n Table 9 presents the number of pronouns, nominal o b j e c t i f i c a t i o n s and substitutions f o r 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 c h i l d r e n at the second session, and the growth i n t h e i r pronominal systems from one session to the next. data are arranged according to the c h i l d ' s MLU at Session 2 :  These  C h i l d 1 has  the lowest MLU i n Group 1 at the second session and C h i l d 1+ has the highest MLU i n Group 1 at the second session.  Looking at the number of nominal  o b j e c t i f i c a t i o n s used by mothers, three styles o f mothers can be i d e n t i f i e d . One group, represented by Mothers 1 ,  2,  3»  6 and 8 , use a small number of  nominal o b j e c t i f i c a t i o n s ; approximately one or two f o r every 1 0 0 utterances. A second group, represented by Mothers 5 and 7 of Group 2 , use no nominal o b j e c t i f i c a t i o n s at a l l . herself.  The f i n a l mother, 1 + , seems to be i n a group by  She uses approximately ten o b j e c t i f i c a t i o n s f o r every 1 0 0  utter-  ances, and approximately h a l f the number of pronouns used by the other seven mothers. following:  Excerpts from t h i s mother's speech often resembled the  (where N * the c h i l d ' 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 Mothers  Nominal objectification  Pronoun frequency  Pronominal substitutions  3U.51 36.79 31.85 15.87 29.75 9.1+7  2.51 3.U0 2.1+0 3.35 2.92 .53  27.11 30.02 29.97 27.51+ 28.66 1.55  2.22 3.01+ 1.7k 2.36 2.31+ .51+  Group 1 (children at Stage l )  1 2 3 1+ Mean S.D.  1.17 .77 1.88 9.60 3.36 1+.19  Group 2 ( c h i l d r e n at Stage I I )  5 6 7 8 Mean S.D.  0.00 1.01 0.00 1.09 .53 .61 Growth between sessions  Children  Pronoun frequency  Pronominal forms  Mean S.D.  6.61 1+.92 22.78 IU. 30 12.15 8.18  2 2 5 1+ 3.25 1.50  Mean S.D.  Non-standard pronouns  5.73 1+.25 6.60 8.08 6.16 1.60  .00 .00 .76 .62 .35 .1+0  (at Stage I I I )  Group 2  5 6 7 8  Nominal reference  (at Stage I I )  Group 1  1 2 3 1+  Session 2  -2.06 l+.l+U -6.51+ 1+.83 .17 5.1+8  0 3 -1 6 2.00 3.16  3.70 1.91+ 5.52 3.37  8.61+ .18 .Ul .79  3.63 1.1+7  2.51 U.10  -  -U9  M o t h e r :  Y e a h , I s  C h i l d :  w h e r e ' s  t h a t  M o m m y ' s  M o m m y ' s  r i n g ?  r i n g ?  O f f ? M o t h e r :  C h i l d :  Mommy  t a k e  T h e r e  y o u  Now  h a s  i t  o f f ?  g o .  R i n g M o t h e r :  N  g o t  a  r i n g .  W h e r e ' s  M o m m y ' s  r i n g ?  I s  M o m m y ' s  r i n g ?  Em? C h i l d :  R i n g  C h i l d :  Y e a h .  W h a t ' s  t h a t ? M o t h e r ;  C h i l d :  t h a t  E l b o w M o t h e r :  M o m m y ' s  e l b o w .  W h e r e ' s  T h e r e  w a s  v e r y  s u b s t i t u t i o n s  o f  l i t t l e  m a d e .  u n i f i c a t i o n  s p o k e n .  T h e s e  r o u t i n e s  l i k e  o r  E a c h  o r  b e t w e e n  m o t h e r  p r o n o m i n a l  t w o  t h e  v a r i a t i o n  t h r e e  u s e d  i n  f r o m  o f t e n  M o t h e r  e l b o w ?  t h e  a p p r o x i m a t e l y  o b j e c t i f i c a t i o n f o r  i n s t a n c e s  f o l l o w i n g  m o t h e r s  N ' s  n u m b e r  t w o  e v e r y  a p p e a r e d  t o  o f  p r o n o m i n a l  t h r e e  i n s t a n c e s  u t t e r a n c e s  100  t o g e t h e r  i n  s h o r t  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  we?  Oht How  B e c a u s e  o f  t h e  i s  d i f f i c u l t  t o  a s c e r t a i n  o f  p r o n o m i n a l  r e s u l t  o f  c h i l d r e n  o f  a v o i d a n c e  d e v e l o p m e n t a l  a t  m o t h e r s .  r e l a t i v e l y  f a i r l y  d i s t r i b u t i o n  S t a g e  One  f e w  I  a t  t y p e  i n f r e q u e n t l y .  w h e t h e r  o r  m o t h e r s  t h e s e  w h e t h e r  t w o  a d j u s t m e n t s .  t h e  u s e d  p r o n o u n s  o f  f i r s t  a  a n d  W i t h i n  t h e  n u m b e r  o t h e r  G r o u p  2,  i n  u s e d  t h e  o f  1,  a r e  m o t h e r s  do  t h a t ?  t h r e e  g r o u p s ,  s t y l e s  t h e  t h i r d  t h e  t h e  m o t h e r s  i s  t w o  o f  t h e  t y p e s  o b j e c t i f i c a t i o n s  o b j e c t i f i c a t i o n s ,  w i t h  i t  s e p a r a t e  d e f i n i t e l y  n o m i n a l  n o m i n a l  we  t h r e e  a n d  G r o u p  t h e r e  i f  t h e s e  f a c t  s t y l e s  W i t h i n  s e s s i o n ,  l a r g e  w i t h i n  a r e  a r e  ' b o u t  c h i l d r e n  a t  a n d  b u t  S t a g e  II  - So at Session 1, there also appear to be two types.  One used no nominal  o b j e c t i f i c a t i o n s at a l l , and the other used a small number of nominal encodings.  I t may be that mothers who do use nominal o b j e c t i f i c a t i o n s  when t h e i r c h i l d r e n are at'Stage I I used a much larger number when t h e i r 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 o b j e c t i f i c a t i o n s f o r every 100 utterances when t h e i r children are at Stage I may use no nominal substitutions when t h e i r children are at Stage I I or I I I .  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 o b j e c t i f i c a t i o n s when t h e i r c h i l d r e n are j u s t beginning to acquire personal pronouns, and those who use a f a i r l y small number.  The r e s u l t s of t h i s study suggest  that the second s t y l e 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 c h i l d r e n of Group 1.  The c h i l d r e n who were progressing from Stage I  to Stage I I made much larger gains i n terms of t h e i r a b i l i t y to use personal pronouns than the c h i l d r e n who were progressing from Stage I I to Stage I I I .  The mean number of pronouns used by Group 1 c h i l d r e n increased  over the i n t e r v a l separating the sessions, while the mean decreased f o r the older group.  At the second session a l l of the younger c h i l d r e n used  at least two pronominal forms that they had not used at the e a r l i e r session.  Two children from Group 2 showed no increase i n the kinds of  pronouns used at the two sessions. These i n d i v i d u a l r e s u l t s c l e a r l y demonstrate the e f f e c t of mothers' use of nominal o b j e c t i f i c a t i o n s on t h e i r children's speech.  C h i l d k, whose  mother used the greatest number of nominal o b j e c t i f i c a t i o n s 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 c h i l d decreases  s o l e l y with age and l i n g u i s t i c experience, then i t would be expected that t h i s c h i l d would have used fewer proper names and kinship terms than Children 1, 2 and 3.  C h i l d 2, whose mother used the fewest number of  nominal o b j e c t i f i c a t i o n s 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 d i d not  use any nominal o b j e c t i f i c a t i o n s at the i n i t i a l session, d i d use nominal references at the second session.  Thus i t i s not the case that children  stop using nominal encodings e a r l i e r i f t h e i r parents do not use nominal objectification. I t i s i n t e r e s t i n g to note that Children 5 and 7 were the only ones to show negative growth i n t h e i r pronominal systems from one session to the next.  C h i l d 5 used approximately one-third fewer pronouns per utterance  at Session 2 than she had used at the e a r l i e r session, and the same number of pronominal forms.  C h i l d 7 used fewer o v e r a l l pronouns per utterance and  fewer pronominal forms at Session 2 than she had  months e a r l i e r .  Each  of the other s i x 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 t h i s suggests i s that a c e r t a i n exposure to nominal reference i s  - 52  -  necessary f o r children to continue expanding t h e i r pronominal systems. Perhaps children, even at t h i s f a i r l y advanced stage, do experience some confusion with pronoun referents, and a c e r t a i n number of nominally encoded referents must be provided i f they are to overcome t h i s confusion. One of the reasons f o r the lack of growth of C h i l d 5's pronominal system was her confusion with t h i r d person reference. experienced  This c h i l d  a great deal of d i f f i c u l t y with pronouns r e f e r r i n g to h e r s e l f or  others, p a r t i c u l a r l y when looking at p i c t u r e s .  Her mother often t r i e d to  correct the c h i l d , but the correction always involved the use of a pronoun: Mother:  Child:  Uh, he, he's got a picture i n there. Mother:  Child:  Child: Child:  ( r e f e r r i n g to picture of the child) What've you got i n your hand?  He?  Yeah. Mother:  You say, 'I've got a picture i n my hand'.  Mother:  That's you, though.  Mother:  That's you.  He, w e l l he got a He.  As can be seen by the above, the proper gender d i s t i n c t i o n was often not observed when the c h i l d used t h i r d person reference.  The confusion  was  increased when someone attempted to correct gender: Child:  (looking at picture of h e r s e l f ) 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 r e f u s a l to use nominal reference may have helped created the confusion.  When c h i l d r e n f i r s t begin to acquire t h i r d 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 t h i r d person  pronouns with a name or kinship term, then the c h i l d , who presumably already knows the r e l a t i o n s h i p between names and f i r s t and second person reference, can make the connection between the t h i r d person and the normal methods of r e f e r r i n g to the s e l f and others.  A f t e r a c e r t a i n amount o f experience  with t h i s kind of interchange the c h i l d w i l l r e a l i z e that t h i r d person pronouns do not function i n the same way as f i r s t or second person.  I f the  bridge between t h i r d person pronouns and the I-you system i s not made f o r the c h i l d , then the pronouns may continue to be used  incorrectly.  I f t h i s assumption i s correct, then a c h i l d must have a f a i r l y good knowledge of reference systems before t h i r d person pronouns can be experimented with.  This may explain why two children from Group 1 d i d not  use pronouns unconventionally. These two c h i l d r e n had the shortest MLU's of the eight c h i l d r e n and used the fewest pronouns at Session 2.  Possibly  neither c h i l d had learned enough about how pronouns operate to investigate whether t h i r d person pronouns could be used i n s e l f or second person reference.  Chapter £. Discussion  In the Introduction, four questions were asked regarding mothers' avoidance of personal pronouns and the e f f e c t s of t h i s feature on the speech of young c h i l d r e n .  The findings of t h i s study w i l l be discussed i n terms  of these questions and comments w i l l be added concerning the r e l a t i o n s h i p between t h i s research and previous studies of t h i s kind. The Systems of Reference When conversing with t h e i r own children mothers use pronouns to r e f e r to the c h i l d r e n more often than they use pronouns to r e f e r to themselves. As t h e i r children become older, mothers r e f e r more to themselves as active p a r t i c i p a n t s and less to the c h i l d .  Subjective case pronouns are used  most frequently and objective case pronouns least frequently.  I n 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 t h e i r 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 f o r conventional pronouns, such as the use of t h i r d person pronouns or we f o r 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 c h i l d r e n at Stage I I . I t was found that the reference systems used by young children change a great deal over r e l a t i v e l y short periods of time.  The most active develop-  ment of children's pronominal systems occurs between Stages I and I I , or from the time the c h i l d f i r s t begins to use pronouns u n t i l an MLU o f  - 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 a f t e r t h i s point.  In the present study the i n t e r v a l between sessions was  h a l f as long f o r Group 2 dyads as i t was f o r those of Group 1 , which may explain the difference i n growth rates.  Both groups of children d i d ,  however, advance one stage as defined by Brown the  (1973)•  This means that  development of a c h i l d ' s pronominal system, i n terms o f frequency and  kinds of pronouns used between Stages I I and I I I i s slower than the development which occurs between Stages I and I I . Children use pronouns more often to r e f e r to themselves than they do to r e f e r to t h e i r mothers.  They use subjective pronouns most often and  objective pronouns l e a s t often, j u s t as t h e i r mothers do. As the c h i l d r e n become older, they begin to t a l k l e s s about themselves and more about others.  In t h i s way t h e i r use of i n d i v i d u a l pronouns begins to more  c l o s e l y resemble the pronouns used by t h e i r mothers.  For example, the  possessive form, my_, was used by two year o l d children more often than the  objective form o f the pronoun you.  Children s i x months older were  using you more frequently than m_, as mothers d i d . Children at Stage I I use nominal reference approximately one-half as often as pronominal r e f e r ence, while children at Stage I I I use nominal reference only about onef i f t h as often as pronominal reference.  R e l a t i v e l y few errors are made  by c h i l d r e n at these l i n g u i s t i c l e v e l s when using pronouns.  The only  i d e n t i f i a b l e type of substitution f o r conventional pronouns i s the use of t h i r d person singular pronouns f o r f i r s t or second person pronouns. Children use objective case nominal reference more frequently than would be  - 56 -  predicted by t h e i r pronoun usage.  Objective pronouns were used l e s s Often  than subjectives or possessives, yet the most common type of nominal encoding 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  c h i l d i s asked a question concerning someone's i d e n t i t y or the i n s t i g a t o r of a p a r t i c u l a r action, the response i s often a single word. word responses are almost i n v a r i a b l y coded nominally.  These s i n g l e -  Since the  corresponding pronouns would be me or you, t h i s use of nominal reference i s c l a s s i f i e d as an objective s u b s t i t u t i o n . 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 c h i l d r e n were those predicted by Markey  (1928), Morehead and Ingram (1973) and Strayer (1977). At the f i r s t session, the c h i l d r e n at Stage I used only s i x of a possible twenty-eight forms.  pronominal  In terms of the number of c h i l d r e n using a p a r t i c u l a r form, the  f i r s t pronouns acquired were I_ and my_, me and you (subjective) and (objective), i n that order.  you  Pooling the data from the above three studies,  t h i s 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 c h i l d r e n used subjective pronouns most frequently. The conclusions of Tanzl by these r e s u l t s .  (I97I+) and Gruber (1969) are not substantiated  Both authors claimed that c h i l d r e n e s t a b l i s h the  objective case pronouns as t h e i r base forms because they are the most generalizable forms.  I f c h i l d r e n are t r y i n g to avoid exceptions when they  p o s i t base forms, t h i s 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 c h i l d r e n 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 c h i l d r e n from Group 2, who were then i n Stage I I I , used pronouns more often than names when r e f e r r i n g to themselves or others.  However,  the younger children, l i k e the children i n Strayer* s study, used nominal substitutions more frequently than pronouns when r e f e r r i n g to t h e i r mothers. The eight c h i l d r e n i n t h i s study maintained the d i s t i n c t i o n 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»  E r 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 r e l a t i o n s h i p between mothers' systems of reference and reference systems used by t h e i r children follow from the correlations between the maternal and c h i l d variables studied here.  First,  the development of a c h i l d ' s pronominal system appears to be controlled by  both h i s or her general l i n g u i s t i c a b i l i t y and the system of reference used by the mother.  There i s a p o s i t i v e r e l a t i o n s h i p between the number  of pronouns and pronominal forms used by a c h i l d at one time and h i s or her l i n g u i s t i c l e v e l .  These aspects of the c h i l d ' s developing pronominal  system are controlled by the same mechanisms which guide other l i n g u i s t i c acquisitions.  No r e l a t i o n s h i p was found between the c h i l d ' s use of pronouns  and the amount of pronominal reference used by a mother at an e a r l i e r date. However, children's pronominal systems were sensitive to pragmatic aspects of the mother's speech.  For example, mothers t a l k less about t h e i r  children as they get older, and consequently use fewer second person pronouns.  Children learn to t a l k l e s s 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.  I t i s i n t h i s way  that the c h i l d ' s use of f i r s t and second person reference i s i n t r i c a t e l y t i e d to the mother's use of f i r s t and second person reference. i n g was reported e a r l i e r by Strayer  This f i n d -  (1977. 1979). The proportion of  subjective, objective and possessive case pronouns used by c h i l d r e n are remarkably s i m i l a r to those used by mothers at an e a r l i e r time, although the actual numbers are fewer.  From t h i s s e n s i t i v i t y to what mothers t a l k  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 i n t e r p r e t a t i o n of these l a s t findings i s that the c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s of children's pronominal systems change over time, not i n response to maternal speech, but i n response to the c h i l d ' s cognitive and social a b i l i t i e s .  As the c h i l d becomes c o g n i t i v e l y more sophisticated and  has more experience with the outside world, i t i s i n e v i t a b l e that he or  she w i l l begin to t a l k more about others and l e s s about him or h e r s e l f . The c h i l d ' 8 view of the world, and the r u l e s of discourse may sort of e f f e c t upon the way or possessives.  have some  that referents are coded as subjects, objects  While constraints such as these are obviously  instrumental  i n every aspect of the c h i l d ' s growth, i t i s d i f f i c u l t to.see how would e f f e c t f i n e changes i n t h e i r pronominal systems.  they  The proportion of  f i r s t and second and subjective, objective and possessive pronouns used by c h i l d r e n are almost i d e n t i c a l to the proportions used by mothers, and change as the mothers' do.  I t seems impossible  that precise adjustments  of t h i s kind could be made i n response to general cognitive or s o c i a l forces. The second major f i n d i n g i s that the c h i l d ' s use of proper nouns or kinship terms i s d i r e c t l y r e l a t e d to mothers' use of nominal reference. The number of nominal encodings and pronominal substitutions used by mothers are negatively correlated with t h e i r children's l i n g u i s t i c l e v e l and a b i l i t y to use pronouns.  Mothers of r e l a t i v e l y young c h i l d r e n who  low MLU's and upper bounds and who  have  seldom use pronouns use nominal  o b j e c t i f i c a t i o n frequently, while mothers of older c h i l d r e n use t h i s form of reference l e s s frequently.  I t was  also found that a mother's use of  nominal o b j e c t i f i c a t i o n i s p o s i t i v e l y r e l a t e d to her c h i l d * s use of nominal referencecat a l a t e r date. i t was  This would not be p a r t i c u l a r l y s u r p r i s i n g i f  found that the l i n g u i s t i c l e v e l s of the eight c h i l d r e n had a l l  increased at the same r a t e .  Thus i t could be argued that the c h i l d r e n who  were using the greatest number of nominal references at the f i n a l were doing so because l i n g u i s t i c a l l y , they were l e s s mature. was  sessions  However, i t  found that at Session 2 there were no s i g n i f i c a n t r e l a t i o n s h i p s between  -60  -  the l i n g u i s t i c l e v e l of a c h i l d and the use of nominal reference. possible interpretation  The only-  i s then that children continue to use a r e l a t i v e l y  large number of nominal references i f t h e i r mothers use t h i s kind of reference frequently. Within these trends, i t was found that there i s a good deal of v a r i a t i o n between the speech of i n d i v i d u a l mothers, and that children are sensitive to t h i s v a r i a t i o n .  I t i s therefore not the case that a l l mothers  avoid conventional pronouns to the same extent.  Three d i s t i n c t 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 t h i s s t y l e , i t i s  immediately obvious that she i s addressing a c h i l d .  The use of nominal  reference i s one of the most s a l i e n t aspects of English baby t a l k and when used frequently i t makes the special r e g i s t e r h i g h l y recognizable.  When a  mother uses nominal o b j e c t i f i c a t i o n s i n large numbers, the number of pronouns addressed to her c h i l d w i l l almost c e r t a i n l y be decreased. The majority of mothers adopt a second s t y l e , where nominal o b j e c t i f i c a t i o n s are used i n a f a i r l y small proportion.  Mothers who choose t h i s style do  not appear to use fewer pronouns than would be used normally. s t y l e i s to simply not use nominal o b j e c t i f i c a t i o n s .  A third  As was previously  mentioned, i t was impossible to determine i f the two mothers using no nominal reference had a d i s t i n c t s t y l e of t h e i r own, or i f they had once used a small number of nominal o b j e c t i f i c a t i o n s and had since ceased. A l l mothers w i l l eventually stop using nouns to replace pronouns when speaking to t h e i r children, but the question i s whether or not they stop when t h e i r children are s t i l l t h i s young.  Prom the children's data i t would appear  - 61 -  i t would have "been more h e l p f u l to continue using a small number of nominal o b j e c t i f i c a t i o n s .  Both of the children whose mothers used no  nominal reference had come to a h a l t i n pronominal growth, somewhere between Stages I I and I I I .  At least one of the children was also  experiencing some confusion with pronoun referents. to have referents constantly reinforced f o r them. way that mothers can do t h i s f o r the c h i l d .  Children seem to need The use of nouns i s one  I t may be that there i s an  optimum l e v e l of pronoun avoidance, which was achieved by the majority of mothers i n t h i s 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 c h i l d whose mother used the largest number of nominal o b j e c t i f i c a t i o n s was slower to switch to pronominal encoding than the other children.  This c h i l d  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. and Hood  (1975)  Even findings such as those reported by Bloom, Lightbown could be explained by differences i n maternal input.  was found that with an MLU of l e s s than 2.0,  It  the two g i r l s i n t h e i r study  used nominal encodings of agent, actor and affected-objects more than 60 percent of the time.  Boys used nominal references much l e s s 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 c h i l d r e n were too large and because there was an imbalance of boys to g i r l s .  I t 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 o b j e c t i f i c a t i o n s than mothers of boys.  - 62-  Concluding Remarks The findings of t h i s 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 r e f e r r i n g  to speaker, hearer or persons talked about d i f f e r greatly from language to language.  For example, Horschheimer  (1953) found 21 d i f f e r e n t d e i c t i c  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 d i f f e r e n t ways and at d i f f e r e n t times i n the speech communit i e s of the world.  Obviously both aspects of maternal speech which have  an e f f e c t f i t the c h i l d ' s l i s t e n i n g biases at that time.  Brown's Stage  I and I I (Brown 1973) are defined r e s p e c t i v e l y as the stage when semantic r o l e s and grammatical r e l a t i o n s 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 I I 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 s a l i e n t and therefore a i d the c h i l d ' s a c q u i s i t i o n process. A second i n t e r p r e t a t i o n of these r e s u l t s i s possible. Gleitman and Gleitman  Newport,  (1977) account f o r the f a c t that some maternal speech  c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s have an e f f e c t on children's speech and others do not by showing that there are two d i f f e r e n t types of speech c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s being acquired by the c h i l d .  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 v a r i a t i o n between mothers i n t h e i r 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  t h e i r perception of more universal c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s of the input language. Perhaps they can only regulate those aspects of t h e i r speech that correspond to c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s of maternal speech that vary from speaker to speaker. Two f i n a l comments regarding the l i m i t a t i o n s of t h i s study are necessary.  Even though, f o r the purposes of s i m p l i c i t y , i t has been assumed  that the input language heard by the c h i l d consists s o l e l y of the mother's language, i t i s recognized that t h i s i s not true i n r e a l i t y .  Fathers,  day-care workers, s i b l i n g s 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 f a c t that mothers are the one  source of input that remains r e l a t i v e l y consistent across f a m i l i e s .  Within  f a m i l i e s , i t may even be the case that the speech modifications made f o r the c h i l d are adopted by a l l family members. i n g area f o r research.  This would be another i n t e r e s t -  And f i n a l l y , although I have t r i e d to be as c a r e f u l  as possible i n a t t r i b u t i n g cause and e f f e c t to the relationships uncovered here, I am c e r t a i n that i n many places my research biases have shown through.  My interpretations are a f t e r a l l only interpretations, although  i t i s hoped that with the research design used, they are the most plausible explanations of the data.  - 6k-  Bibliography  Avram, A. 1967* "De l a langue qu'on parle aux enfants roumalns". To Honor Boman Jakobson. V o l . I . The Hague: Mouton. Baran, J . , Z l a t i n Laufer, M., and Daniloff, M. 1977. "Phonological c o n t r a s t i v i t y i n conversation: A comparative study o f voice onset time". Journal of Phonetics 5, 339-350. B e l l u g i , U. 1971. " S i m p l i f i c a t i o n i n children's language". I n R. Huxley and E. Ingram (eds.) Language A c q u i s i t i o n : Models and Methods. 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