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Academic Paper


Title: Maternal control strategies, maternal language usage and children's language usage at two years
Author: Nicole Taylor
Institution: University of Wisconsin Madison
Author: Wilberta Donovan
Institution: University of Wisconsin Madison
Author: Sally Miles
Institution: University of Wisconsin Madison
Author: Lewis Leavitt
Institution: University of Wisconsin Madison
Linguistic Field: Pragmatics; Semantics
Abstract: The present study determined whether parenting style, defined by control strategies varying in power-assertion mediated the established relation between maternal language usage (grammar and semantics) and child language (grammar, semantics and pragmatics) during toddlerhood (n=60). Based upon their use of control strategies mothers were categorized into continuum-of-control groups (i.e. high guidance (HG), high control (HC) or high negative control (HNC)). Mothers in the high negative control group, who characteristically used high levels of prohibitions and commands, had children who performed relatively poorly overall on the language measures (i.e. MLU, number of bound morphemes, number of different words and use of language functions). In contrast, children of mothers in the HG and HC groups exhibited more advanced language usage overall. The relation between maternal and child language usage was mediated by parenting style for child pragmatics and partially for child grammar.

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This article appears IN Journal of Child Language Vol. 36, Issue 2, which you can READ on Cambridge's site or on LINGUIST .



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