Gemma

This conversation between 28 month old Gemma and her mother displaces the many lexical and grammatical changes that Gemma is undergoing as a growing infant, and the different ways her mother alters her speech to communicate easier with her offspring. As Gemma is 2 years and 4 months, she is in a transition stage as she has gained a very basic knowledge of language but as she is only just 2 is still far from learning about the intricacies of speech.

This is shown in many places. Because of Gemmas increasing knowledge of vocabulary, by 28 months she is able to initiate conversation instead of just responding to adults: “Where man gone? This quote also shows her improved technique in asking questions. Instead of simply implying that a question has been asked using intonation only, Gemma has acquired the use of question words, in the form of “where”, however there is an obvious flaw in the construction, as she has not learnt how to use auxiliary verbs: “where has the man gone? ” Gemma is also on the cusp of producing longer and more complex sentences, however is still only able to produce the simple constructions that she learnt from 18-24 months: ” Whats it?. Gemma shows evidence of Berko and Brown’s experiment into understanding.

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Berko and Brown proved that before the age of 3, children’s comprehension of phonological patterns and the meanings that they represent develops quicker than the Childs ability to reproduce them. Because of this, children do not recognise that they have mispronounced a word, so adult correction is ineffective.

This is shown by Gemmas mispronunciation of the word screwdriver: “mother : A screwdriver.  Gemma : Crewdriver”. However this is a lot closer to the adult form than the pronunciation Gemma would have produced before the age of 2 and by the age of 3 Gemma would have gained the ability to recognise her own mistakes and repair a breakdown in understanding. Gemma hasn’t yet acquired the ability to produce negative forms with more subtlety either, and is yet to learn how to add additional forms such as cant and wont, instead uses the staple, no or not in front of negative expressions : “OK (. ) No paper). And finally, Gemma, throughout the transcript, focuses on the present and not the past or future, and this is a sign of Telegraphic Talk.

This transcript also shows the different ways in which Gemmas mother alters her speech in order to communicate with Gemma clearly and easily. She displays many features that adults display when directing speech to children. She uses simple vocabulary for Gemma to understand, and uses diminutive forms: “Shall I keep this picture and show it to Daddy? ” This would normally be accompanied by higher pitch and exaggerated intonation patterns, in order to increase the Childs understanding. Also the frequent use of questioning introduces the child to turn taking whilst in conversation, and the use of auxiliary verbs: “He didn’t have a hat, did he? “