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Perception of utterance relatedness during the first-word-period



Interactions between six toddlers (aged 1;0 to 1;6) and adults were examined to ascertain adult perceptions of toddler utterance relatedness and to determine temporal and interactional features that underlie those perceptions. Five raters made judgments regarding relatedness of the child utterances to the previous adult utterances; 251 utterances were examined. Utterances judged by adults as related occurred within 4·25 seconds of the preceding adult utterance nearly 90% of the time. This study also points to the need for using interactional categories that go beyond describing utterance relatedness, and introduces terms (i.e. co-participatory, initiation, narrowed focus) for doing so.


Corresponding author

Heather L. Balog, Department of Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology, 581 Manoogian Hall, Wayne State University, 906 W. Warren Ave., Detroit, MI 48201, USA. tel: (313) 577-6288; fax: (313) 577-8885; e-mail:


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The preparation of this paper was supported in part by a National Institutes of Health (NIH) R03 grant and an NIH Research Training Award (R. Wilbur, Project Director) from the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders. Special thanks to David Snow for his assistance in the preparation of this manuscript and to Tara Robinson, Kate Kardel, Deborah Bonkoski, Stacey Carr, and Monique Charest for their assistance in data analysis. Additional thanks to Patricia Hargrove and Madhavi Basu for their helpful comments on an earlier version of this paper.



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