Cookie versus Do-it-again: Imitative-referential and personal-social-syntactic-initiating language styles in young children

Keith E. Nelson, Nancy D. Baker, Marilyn Denninger, John D. Bonvillian, Barbara J. Kaplan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations

Abstract

Individual differences in imitative tendencies were examined for 24 children at both 22 months and 27 months of age. High and low imitation tendencies were shown to be associated with different ‘style’ components identified in prior research reports. High imitators used relatively more general nominal word types and relatively fewer personal-social-syntactic word types (e.g. Do-it-again), and they also learned new nominais more readily at 22 months. Low imitators at 22 and 27 months were relatively more successful in initiating shared-topic discourse chains and had more complex sentences than the high imitators. It is argued that early in language development a high-imitative-referential style and a low-imitative-personal-social style are alternative but equally effective ways of building needed language strengths, with family interactions as one influential factor in style choice. However, data on language and concepts for 18 of the same children as 54-month-olds suggests that by 27 months of age there are advantages in limited reliance on a style that includes frequent imitation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)433-454
Number of pages22
JournalLinguistics
Volume23
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - 1985

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language

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