Warning message

This content is filtered. APPPAH membership is required for full access to journal articles.
-A +A
Publication Date: 
May, 1990
Page Count: 
Starting Page: 

The contribution of anthropology to the study of pre- and perinatal development will largely derive from the concept of culture, which is defined as the systems of meaning that members of society attribute to each other in their behavior. The concept is useful in the study of child language acquisition, since it necessitates a description of the ways that caretakers conceptualize their interactions with prelinguistic and language-acquiring children. Facilitative roles of parental speech are foregrounded, and meaning systems are made visible rather than overlooked or assumed. Illustrations are provided from English, Spanish, Luo, Samoan, and Quiche Mayan.


Bernard, H.R. (1988). Research methods in cultural anthropology. Newbury Park, CA: Sage Publications.

Blount, B.G. (1971). Socialization and pre-linguistic development among the Luo of Kenya. Southwestern Journal of Anthropology 27, 41-50.

Blount, B.G. (1972a). Aspects of Luo socialization. Language in Society 1, 236-248.

Blount, B.G. (1972b). Parental speech and language acquisition. Anthropological Linguistics 14, 119-130.

Blount, B.G. (1977). Ethnography and caretaker-child interaction. In C.E. Snow & C.A. Ferguson (Eds.). Talking to children: Language input & acquisition. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Blount, B.G. (1984). Mother-infant interaction: features and functions of parental speech in English and Spanish. In A. Pellegrini & T. Yawkey (Eds.). The development of oral and written language in social contexts. Norwood, NJ: Ablex.

Blount, B.G. & Kempton, Willett. (1976). Child language socialization: parental speech and interaction strategies. Sign Language Studies 12, 251-277.

Blount, B.G. & Padgug, E. (1977). Prosodic, paralinguistic, and interactional features in English and Spanish. Journal of Child Language 4, 67-86.

Bohannon, J.N. & Hirsh-Park, K. (1984). Do children say as they are told? A new perspective on motherese. In L. Feagans, C. Garvey, & R. Golinkoff (Eds.). The origins of growth of communication. NY: Ablex.

Bohannon, J.N. & Warren-Leubecker, A. (1988). Recent developments in speech to children: We've come a long way, baby-talk. Language Sciences 10, 89-110.

Broffenbrenner, U. (1979). The ecology of human development. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Brown, R. (1977). Introduction. In C.E. Snow & C.A. Ferguson (Eds.). Talking to children: Language input & acquisition Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Bynon, J. (1977). The derivational processes relating Berber nursery words to their counterparts in normal inter-adult speech. In C.E. Snow & C.A. Ferguson (Eds.). Talking to children: Language input and acquisition. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Cross, T.G. & Morris, J.E. (1980). Linguistic feedback and maternal speech: comparisons of mothers addressing infants, one-year-olds, and two-year-olds. First Language 1, 98-121.

Ferguson, C.A. (1964). Baby-talk in six languages. American Anthropologist 66 (part 2), 103-114.

Ferguson, C.A. (1977). Baby talk as a simplified register. In C.E. Snow & C.A. Ferguson (Eds.). Talking to children: Language input & acquisition Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Ferguson, C.A. (1978). Talking to children: A search for universals. In J.H. Greenberg (Ed.). Universals of human language. Vol. 1, Method and theory. Stanford: Stanford University Press.

Fishbein, H.D. (1976). Evolution, development, and children's learning. Pacific Palisades, CA: Goodyear.

Garnica, O.K. (1977). Some prosodic and paralinguistic features of speech to young children. In C.E. Snow & C.A. Ferguson (Eds.). Talking to children: Language input & acquisition. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Gleitman, L.R. & Wanner, E. (1982). Language acquisition: the state of the state of the art. In E. Wanner & L. R. Gleitman (Eds.). Language acquisition: the state of the Art. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Gleitman, L.R., Newport, E.L. & Gleitman, H. (1984). The current status of the motherese hypothesis. Journal of Child Language 11, 43-79.

Goodenough, W. (1957). Cultural anthropology and linguistics. In P. Garvin (Ed.). Report of the seventh annual round table meeting on linguistics and language study. Washington, DC: Georgetown University Press.

Hoff-Ginsburg, E. & Shatz, M. (1987). Linguistic input and the child's acquisition of language. Psychological Bulletin 85, 1104-1122.

Kessel, F.S. & Siegel, W. (Eds.) (1983). The child and other cultural inventions. NY: Praeger.

Laughlin, CD. (1989). Pre- and perinatal anthropology: a selective review. Pre- and Perinatal Psychology Journal 3(4), 261-296.

Lutz, C.A. (1988). Unnatural emotions: Everyday sentiments on a Micronesian atoll & their challenge to Western authority. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Munroe, R.H., Munroe, R.L. & Whiting, B.B. (1981). Handbook of cross-cultural human development. NY: Garland Press.

Ninio, A. & Bruner, J.S. (1978). The achievements and antecedents of labelling. Journal of Child Language 5, 1-16.

Ochs, E. (1982). Talking to children in Western Somoa. Language in Society 11, 77-104.

Penman, R., Cross, T., Milgrom-Friedman, J. & Meares R. (1983). Mother's speech to prelingual infants: a pragmatic analysis. Journal of Child Language 10, 17-34.

Phillips, J. (1973). Syntax and vocabulary of mothers' speech to young children: age and sex comparisons. Child Development 44, 182-185.

Pye, C. (1986). Quiche Mayan speech to children. Journal of Child Language 13, 85-100.

Pye, C. (1988). Towards an anthropology of language acquisition. Language Sciences 10, 123-146.

Ruke-Dravina, V. (1977). Modifications of speech addressed to young children in Latvia. In C.E. Snow & C.A. Ferguson (Eds.). Talking to children: Language input & acquisition, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Schieffelin, B.B. & Ochs, E. (Eds.) (1986). Language socialization across cultures. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Stern, D.N., Spieker, S., Barnett, R.K. & MacKain, K. (1983). The prosody of maternal speech: infant age and related changes. Journal of Child Language 10, 1-15.

Super, CM. & Harkness, S. (1986). The developmental niche: a conceptualization at the interface of child and culture. International Journal of Behavioral Development 9, 545-569.

Thomas, D.H. (1986). Refiguring anthropology: First principles of probability & statistics. Prospect Heights, IL: Waveland Press.

Tomasello, M. (1988). The role of joint attentional processes in early language development. Language Sciences 10, 69-88.

Tronick, E., Als, H. & Adamson, L. (1979). Structure of early face-to-face communicative interactions. In M. Bullowa (Ed.). Before speech: The beginning of interpersonal communication. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Tylor, E.B. (1871). Primitive culture. London: John Murray.

Wanner, E. & Gleitman, L.R. (Eds.) (1982). Language acquisition: The state of the art Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Wexler, K. (1982). A principle theory for language acquisition. In E. Wanner & L.R. Gleitman (Eds.). Language acquisition: The state of the art. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Whiting, B. (Ed.) (1963). Six cultures: studies of child rearing. NY: Wiley & Sons.

Whiting, B. & Whiting, J.M.W. (1975). Children of six cultures: a psycho-cultural analysis. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Ben G. Blount, Ph.D.

Professor of anthropology & linguistics, Department of Anthropology & Linguistics, University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602, Ben Blount is the editor of Current Topics in Child Language Acquisition, a special issue of Language Sciences 10(1), 1988; and is the author of an article in the same volume entitled "Cognition and phonology in acquisition of plurals and possessives by Luo children."