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Speech overlap in Japanese mother–child conversations

  • SACHIYO KAJIKAWA (a1), SHIGEAKI AMANO (a1) and TADAHISA KONDO (a1)

Abstract

This study aimed to clarify the development of conversational style in Japanese mother–child interactions. We focused on the frequency of speech overlap as an index of Japanese conversational style, with particular attention to ne, a particle produced by the speaker, and to backchannels, such as ‘uh-huh’, produced by the listener that support sympathetic conversation. The results of longitudinal observations of two Japanese mother–child dyads from approximately 0;11 to 3;3 suggest that an adultlike conversational style with frequent overlaps emerges in Japanese child-directed speech around the two-word utterance period, and a child's development of ne use is closely related to this shift.

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Corresponding author

Sachiyo Kajikawa, NTT Communication Science Laboratories, NTT Corporation, 2-4, Hikaridai, Seika-cho, Soraku-gun, Kyoto, 619-0237, Japan.

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The authors thank the children and mothers who participated in this study. They are also grateful to Janet F. Werker, Laurel Fais, Toshio Inui, Yasushi Terao and the anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments, and to Naoko Kudo and Tomoko Kawaguchi for their assistance. Part of this work was presented at the 27th Annual Boston University Conference on Language Development.

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