Twente, Leonie Regina ORCID: 0000-0002-3426-4800 (2022). Characteristics of German child-directed speech during book sharing and play activities in a standardized naturalistic setting. Masters thesis, Universität zu Köln.

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Children learn language in interactions embedded in the social environment. Previous research shows that activity contexts shape speech directed to children in complex ways. The ways in which the immediate situational environment influences communicative interaction with children is therefore of interest in research on child-directed speech. In this thesis, I present results from a study based on data from three target children (all girls, sampled at ages 2;1 and 2;5, selected from the Szagun corpus in the CHILDES database). The research questions addressed are: (1) Do characteristics of speech addressed to German-learning two-year old children vary as a function of activity in unstructured designs? (2) What is the extent and nature of within-activity variation, both inter- and intra-individually? Data was tagged semi-automatically for morphosyntactic categories. Activity contexts (book sharing, social play, solitary play) were annotated manually, using gem headers (an annotation format in the CHILDES infrastructure). Characteristics of German child-directed speech (including quantity in terms of number of utterances, lexical diversity in terms of VOCD, mean length of utterance in words, noun-to-verb ratio as well as the proportion of wh-questions) were analyzed by activity context using CLAN tools and the R software environment. Qualitative analyses of extracts from transcripts are presented as an attempt to shed light on the inter- and intraindividual variation observed and how different organization of activities relate to quantitative measures. Results indicate, descriptively, that differences in characteristics of German child-directed speech arise when comparing book sharing, social play and solitary play activities. However, variability is high within and across participants. The study illustrates how activity contexts may be considered in future work investigating child-directed speech based on existing data using the CHILDES infrastructure.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters thesis)
Translated title:
CreatorsEmailORCIDORCID Put Code
Twente, Leonie
URN: urn:nbn:de:hbz:38-703186
Date: 17 March 2022
Language: English
Faculty: Faculty of Arts and Humanities
Divisions: Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Fächergruppe 1: Kunstgeschichte, Musikwissenschaft, Medienkultur und Theater, Linguistik, IDH > Institut für Linguistik > Allgemeine Sprachwissenschaft
Subjects: Language, Linguistics
Uncontrolled Keywords:
child-directed speech, German, activity context, variation, corpus analysisEnglish
Kindgerichtete Sprache, Deutsch, Aktivitätskontext, Variation, KorpusanalyseGerman
Date of oral exam: 2022
NameAcademic Title
Hellwig, BirgitProf. Dr.
Eisenbeiss, SonjaDr.
Refereed: Yes


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