Guest Talk: Akira Takada

24 April 2015
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Object transfer in request-accept sequence in Japanese caregiver–toddler interactions

Requesting an object or information is a basic and ubiquitous activity in human interactions, but the sequential organization of this activity varies considerably across speech communities.  In line with Language Socialization approach, this paper inquires into (1) how children formulate their acceptance of object requests made by caregivers, (2) the role of requested object in request–accept sequences, and (3) the distinctive features of object requests in Japanese caregiver-child interactions (CCIs). Based on video data of Japanese caregiver–child (aged 0–5 years) interactions, we conducted an interaction analysis of conversations involving object transfer. The results revealed that the features of request-acceptance sequence are shaped by (1) the trigger of object request, (2) the features of the requested object, (3) timing, location, and manners to transfer the requested object. By engaging in object request sequences, caregivers not only made reciprocal communication more effective but also set and modified the frame of their activity. The study also revealed that object request sequence is the place of negotiation for both children and caregivers with respect to (re)constructing the appropriate morality of Japanese culture.