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Co-constructing family identities through young children’s telephone-mediated narrative exchanges

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Published

Journal publication date06/2013
JournalFirst Language
Journal number3
Volume33
Number of pages22
Pages246-267
Early online date22/05/13
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

We explore here telephone interactions between young children and adult family members as contributing insights to the co-construction of identities within both the nuclear and the extended family. We deploy methods of linguistic ethnography to enrich the scope of interpreting our data beyond textual analysis. Our premise was that intimate relatives have knowledgeable appreciation of their child’s affective and cognitive worlds that they can call upon to enhance emerging language use and narrative productions, even in distanced communications. Talking over the telephone has the potential to scaffold children’s skills at offering clear, cohesive communications, and elaborated narratives. Examination of the corpora of four preschool children in interaction with a family member on the telephone showed them to employ extensive expressive power to negotiate considerable communicative space in having both emotional and cognitive needs met; identities are co-constructed as stories about persons and experiences are shared.