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Parent-child interaction in Nigerian families: conversation analysis, context and culture

By Annabel Burns and Julie Radford


This paper uses a conversation analysis (CA) approach to explore parent child interaction (PCI) within Nigerian families. We illustrate how speech and language therapists (SLTs), by using CA, can tailor recommendations according to the interactional style of each individual family that are consonant with the family’s cultural beliefs. Three parent-child dyads were videoed playing and talking together in their home environments. The analysis uncovered a preference for instructional talk similar to that used in the classroom. Closer examination revealed that this was not inappropriate when considering the context of the activities and their perceived discourse role. Furthermore, this was not necessarily at the expense of responsivity or semantic contingency. The preference for instructional talk appeared to reflect deeply held cultural beliefs about the role of adults and children within the family and it is argued that the cultural paradigm is vitally important to consider when evaluating PCI. Given a potential risk that such young children may be vulnerable in terms of language difficulties, we offer an example of how PCI can be enhanced to encourage language development without disrupting the naturally occurring talk or the underlying purpose of the interaction

Year: 2008
DOI identifier: 10.1177/0265659008090294
OAI identifier:

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