The Frequency and Type of Talk in Three New Zealand Families at Dinnertime
Thesis DisciplineHealth Sciences
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Science
Language is an important aspect of communication and a parent is a child’s first teacher. The more variety of talk the parents use, the more opportunities children will get to imitate that language and therefore widen their vocabulary. This study was based on the work of Hart and Risley (1995). The purpose was to observe the frequency and type of talk, the number of encouragements and discouragements, and the non-verbal interactions that occurred at the homes of dinnertime in three New Zealand middle and high income Families. Each family consisted of two adults and two children aged between 3 and 6 years. Data was collected via videotape. The results indicate that the higher income families had a higher frequency of talk and used more variety of talk. Contradictory to previous studies, the middle income family used more encouragements than discouragements with their children while the higher income families used more discouragements to encouragements. The middle income family also used the lowest number of non-verbal interactions. There was little exploratory talk included in the dinnertime conversations between family members. An implication of these findings is that, in order for children to extend their vocabulary, families could use more exploratory talk so that this could occur.