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Academic Paper

Title: The Impact of Scaffolding and Overhearing on Young Children's Use of the Spatial Terms Between and Middle
Author: Emily K. Foster
Institution: Illinois State University
Author: Alycia M. Hund
Institution: Illinois State University
Linguistic Field: Language Acquisition
Subject Language: English
Abstract: The primary goal was to specify the impact of scaffolding and overhearing on young children's use of the spatial terms between and middle. Four- and five-year-old children described the location of a mouse hidden between two furniture items in a dollhouse with assistance from a parent. Children's use of between and middle increased significantly across trials, and in concert, parents' directive scaffolding involving middle decreased across trials. In the second study, three common scaffolding types (Between Directive, Middle Directive, non-directive) were compared with a no prompt condition by having children receive prompts from a doll and with overhearing conditions in which children overheard conversations between two adult experimenters containing between or middle. Children's use of between and middle was much more frequent following directive prompting than following non-directive prompting, no prompting, or overhearing. Moreover, children showed some evidence of using between and middle in response to non-directive prompting and overhearing.


This article appears IN Journal of Child Language Vol. 39, Issue 2, which you can READ on Cambridge's site .

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