Professor Vera Kempe, "Talking to Children" Abertay Dundee University: Departmental Seminar Series 2017/18
Hosted by Sotaro Kita
Refreshments in Common room at 3.30pm
There is consensus amongst child language development researchers that the way in which caregivers tend to talk to children aids language acquisition. Although childdirected speech does not occur in all cultures, when it does it has been shown to facilitate children’s acquisition of speech sounds and words. I will present findings demonstrating that child-directed speech also helps with learning morphology, before asking the more general question about what mechanisms account for the propensity of caregivers to modify their speech so it meets the needs of child learners. One line of inquiry examines whether such beneficial features arise from positive affect expression. The other line of inquiry examines whether child-directed speech is a form of teaching. I will end with describing a preliminary model that combines deliberate, explicit input enhancement with involuntary, implicit speech adjustment in an attempt to understand the cognitive mechanisms that govern the way in which we talk to children.