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Building peer relationships in talk: toddlers' peer conversations in childcare

JANE R. KATZ
Discourse Studies
Vol. 6, No. 3, SPECIAL ISSUE: Peer talk and pragmatic development (August 2004), pp. 329-346
Published by: Sage Publications, Ltd.
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/24048479
Page Count: 18
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Abstract

How do very young children use talk to create relationship? Are there associations between the quality of children's relationships and their language use? Do children's pragmatic abilities relate to other language competencies? This qualitative study addresses these questions using naturalistic data from a daycare setting by looking at the spontaneous peer talk in two overlapping dyads of toddler girls. This analysis indicates that young children have considerable pragmatic skill in using talk to create and maintain relationship. Children's relational style and language use seem closely connected: the different talk styles of the two dyads instantiate and support their distinct relational styles. Further, different styles of relational talk appear to tap different language abilities. Considered with other studies looking at young children's language and particularly pragmatic skills, this analysis suggests that young children's language capabilities in the context of specific relationships merit further attention.

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