CHILDREN'S TALK by Catherine Garvey


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This complex but engaging discussion of talk as an activity among young children begins with a rather extended definition of terms; considers in some depth how children learn to use what they hear; and includes an entire chapter on the nuances of saying ""no""--from high chair refusals to the stylized forms of nursery school arguments. Like other books in the Developing Child series, it looks seriously at, and gives shape to, topics rarely examined: the origins of conversational turn-taking, for example, or the kinds of talk kids use when playing alone. And, in contemplating the relationship of talk to personal development, it includes some intriguing observations beyond its scope to pursue: children tend to say ""this,"" ""here,"" ""near,"" and ""now,"" before ""that,"" ""there,"" ""far,"" and ""then,"" though use of one member of the set (""here"") implies some understanding of the other (""there""). Other books in this series (including Garvey's Play) have been models of information: brief but not cursory, highly useful to professionals but not daunting to parents. This volume, though equally instructive, is both longer and far more demanding. Many parents may be intimidated by the specialist's language (illocutionary force, terminal intonation contour), especially in the first chapters; and early childhood professionals could find this rough going too, even when aspects of the subject (e.g. the sequence of learning pronouns) seem to be familiar. But difficult though it may be, this consistently stimulating book recognizes the developmental meanings and uses of children's talk without ever losing touch with its vitality.

Pub Date: March 1st, 1983
ISBN: 0674116356
Publisher: Harvard Univ. Press