Do mothers cause referential and expressive language learning styles?

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• Referential style - first words are nouns denoting objects - cat
• Use single words with good pronunciation - do it again
• Expressive - interpersonal meanings
• Formulaic expression including inflectional markers (e.g. ed to show tense)
• Pronunciation is less clear
• Are these styles inherent dispositions or learned from parents
• Lieven (1978)
• Does the way mothers respond to their child's speech influence their style?
• Observed concersations between mother and child
• Referential  responds 80% of the time with more information or question
• Expressive  responds less than 50% of the time often ignoring what the child says or using a cliche

Solution

• No way to know whether the mother's behaviour shapes the child or whether the child's language style is shaping the mother's behaviour
• Which is cause and which is effect?

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