The Role of Language and Gender Behaviour in the Family


Seminar Paper, 2005

16 Pages, Grade: 2,0


Excerpt

Table of Contents

I. Introduction

II. Main Part
1. General aspects of parents’ language and behaviour towards their children
1. 1. Parents’ language towards children without relation to gender
1. 2. Parents’ language and behaviour differentiation towards male and female children
2. Aspects of fathers’ language and behaviour towards their children
2. 1. General language of fathers towards children
2. 2. Fathers’ language and behaviour differentiation towards male and female children
3. Aspects of mothers’ language and behaviour towards their children
3. 1. General language of mothers towards children
3. 2. Mothers’ language and behaviour differentiation towards male and female children

III. Conclusion: How children react and talk to their parents

IV. References/ Bibliography

V. Appendix: Summary of Research Questions: Outcome and Mediating Variables

I. Introduction

“Parents play an active teaching role that is “...commonplace, conscious, and directive.”[1]

For this reason, I decided to consider the role of language and gender behaviour in the family. In this paper, I demonstrate similarities and differences of language and behaviour of parents towards their children. First, I focus on general language and behaviour of parents. Opening, I show how they talk to their children regardless which sex they have. Further, I look at variations of speech to female and male children. Secondly, I concentrate on aspects of fathers language and behaviour towards their children by showing similarities and differences. Third,

I give attention to mothers. I consider both general speech towards children without regard to their gender and differentiation between male and female children. To conclude, I demonstrate how children react to their parents. I consider if they have a gender-typed speech towards their parents.

It is significant to state that it was complicated for me to find literature about mothers’ speech and behaviour towards their children. I expected that there are many sources about this issue but many authors focus on more specific problems of mothers. Although mothers are the primary caretakers, only a smaller amount of authors thought about the role of motherhood. I also found less about the differentiation of mothers towards their sons and daughters. The relationship of mothers and sons is rarely discovered.

Contrary to this, I supposed to discover less literature about fatherhood. But there was much information. The Internet was very helpful to come across articles about parenthood and especially fatherhood.

There is much literature about parenting. Many authors realized that parenting is an important role. Men and women have to change their behaviour when they become parents. They have to think about their gender expectations and about their role as a mother or a father. Parents’ behaviour is affected by children. A father once said: “I’m a really different person that I would have otherwise been because I have children.”[2] The product of the transformation of personality of parents is what I present in the following chapters.

II. Main Part

1. General aspects of parent’s language and behaviour to their children

1.1.Parents’ language to children without relation to gender

Parents often use different language when talking to their children, but they also provide same language structures. In this chapter, it is central to focus on similar language characteristics. Parents spend more time with their children during infancy and early childhood than in children’s middle childhood and adolescence.[3] Therefore, they vary their language throughout raising children. They always have to take into consideration that their characteristics and behaviours can predict the infant outcomes.[4]

When babies are born, they are not able to talk to their parents. For that reason, it is necessary to learn the language from parents. The parents who are the caregivers and are skilled in language and social interaction have to take the responsibility for this task. This task comprises “providing emotional support, showing respect, communicating openly, and resolving disputes through negotiation and compromise.”[5] Subsequently, at infancy, the child is still deficient in symbolic language, socially naïve and physically dependant. Hence, it has to transform communication abilities from simple behavioural responses in specific contexts to rule- negotiating activities common across contexts.[6] When the child is just born, parents can’t talk to it because it doesn’t understands them. That's why, parents have to communicate and respond in another way. They react when the baby is crying with soothing strategies like having close contact, producing rhythmic stimulation and singing. After the first four months, one can recognize first vocalizations of the baby. At this point, parents begin to create “Baby Talk”.[7] When articulating in “Baby Talk”, there is “more emphasis on components of speech such as pitch, rate, loudness, stress, rhythm, and intonation than on the words themselves.” “Baby talk” is “produced at higher levels, and intonational patterns include greater extremes of high and low pitches. [...] The rhythm is more regular,..., resulting in what some researchers describe as a “singsong cadence”.”[8] The pieces of linguistic information that is specifically directed by the parents to the baby is more meaningful and more essential than any other information directed to a person. Further, parents imitate children’s utterances[9] and “react to virtually all of a child’s behaviour as though they are purposive and have communicative intent.”[10] Over the infant’s first year, parents increase speech to it with information.

Another aspect of speech development of children is turn-taking. It is learned very early in life as a response to parental influence. Turn-taking stimulates early speech production and infants begin to use it very early with longer pauses between vocalizations when the adult converses in turns.[11] Parents support their children in speech production and turn- taking through affection, responsiveness, encouragement, instruction, and everyday assistance. Therefore, when parents reflect these items, children build up a basic sense of trust and security.[12]

In addition, “parents use a simpler vocabulary and more repetitions when explaining something to children who are younger. As children age, parents’ verbalizations become more and more complex because parents know that children can understand better. Thus, parents alter their speech patterns as a direct result of changes in the child.”[13] An examination has found out that “relationships were found between amount of parental speech and vocabulary size of children, and between frequency of specific adult words and when they were acquired by the child. Apparently, parental speech input accounts for the increasing variance among children in vocabulary growth.”[14] Further, syntactic measures of males and females are roughly equivalent.[15]

1.2. Parents’ language and behaviour differentiation to male and female children

Parents are “seen as important contributors to the gender role development of their children.”[16] As soon as their children grow up and develop their language acquisition, parents begin to talk differently to their sons and daughters.[17] As an example, they interrupt their little daughters more than their little sons.[18] Though, parents often want to represent gender equality and try to play with both of their children equally[19], they teach their daughters unconsciously while playing her later role of wife, mother and “expressive” leader of the family. They convey a feminine intuition to her.[20] In addition, their daughters should play in activities, such as jump rope or playing house, which have not winners and losers. Contrary to this issue, parents teach their sons to participate more activity-orientated play. Their games should have winners and losers, and there should be elaborate rules about which the participants frequently argue. The sons should use speech in the context of the play to achieve status and establish a hierarchy of superiority to defend their position.[21] This should be preparatory for their life as a male person. For these reasons, one can conclude that parents reinforce gender-typed play behaviour. They want their daughters to engage in pretence plays and their sons to keep on physical plays. Parents are probable to support self-assertive behaviour in sons and relationship enhancing behaviour in daughters.[22] Further, “parents often describe the boys as troublesome and argumentative and the girls as “nice”, fostering practices among girls of lots of repair work for any possibly damaged feelings.”[23] Because they expect their sons to be more active, restless and resistive to requests, parents use more direct speech with their sons than their daughters.[24] For this reason, one would expect to see in the emerging language of the daughters more conventional expressions of politeness, but boys use surprisingly a greater percentage of politeness.[25]

[...]


[1] A.K. Abkarian , G.G. Abkarian, J.P. Dworkin : Fathers’ speech to their children: perfect pitch or tin ear? In : < http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0PAV/is_1_1/ai_107202406#continue > 19.05.05 19:47.

[2] Rob Palkovitz: Involved Fathering and Men’s Adult Development. Provisional Balances. Mahwah, New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc. 2002, p. 67.

[3] Cf.: Thomas J. Socha, Glen H. Stamp: Parents, Children, and Communication Frontiers of Theory and Research. Mahwah, New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc. 1995, p. 6.

[4] Cf.: Ibid, p. 29.

[5] Alan Bouth, Ann C. Crouter: Men in Families . When do they get involved? What difference does it make?. Mahwah, New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc. 1998, p. 244.

[6] Cf.: Thomas J. Socha, Glen H. Stamp: Parents, Children, and Communication Frontiers of Theory and Research. Mahwah, New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc. 1995, p. 23.

[7] Cf.: Ibid, p. 27.

[8]Merle R. Howard, Lloyd M. Hulit: Born to talk. An Introduction to speech and language Development. 2nd ed., Needham Heights: Allyn& Bacon, 1997, p.115.

[9] Cf.: Ibid, p. 122.

[10] Ibid, p. 125.

[11] Cf.: Thomas J. Socha, Glen H. Stamp: Parents, Children, and Communication Frontiers of Theory and Research. Mahwah, New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc. 1995, p. 32.

[12] Cf.: Alan Bouth, Ann C. Crouter: Men in Families . When do they get involved? What difference does it make?. Mahwah, New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc. 1998, p. 245.

[13] Anne- Marie Ambert: The effect of children on parents. New York/ London/ Sydney: The Haworth Press, 1992, p. 41.

[14] Thomas J. Socha, Glen H. Stamp: Parents, Children, and Communication Frontiers of Theory and Research. Mahwah, New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc. 1995, p. 32.

[15] Cf.: Susan U. Philips, Susan Steele, Christine Tanz: Language, gender, and sex in comparative perspective. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1987, p. 194.

[16] E. W. Lindsey, J. Mize, G. S. Pettit: Differential play patterns of mothers and fathers of sons and daughters: implications for children's gender role development. In: < http://www.findarticles.com/p/particles/mi_m2294/is_n9-10_v37/ai_20608865#continue > 08.07.2005 12:54.

[17] Cf.: Merle R. Howard, Lloyd M. Hulit: Born to talk. An Introduction to speech and language Development. 2nd ed., Allyn& Bacon, Needham Heights 1997, p. 246.

[18] Cf.: Susan U. Philips, Susan Steele, Christine Tanz: Language, gender, and sex in comparative perspective. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1987, p. 197.

[19] Cf.: Penelope Eckert, Sally McConnell-Ginet: Language and Gender. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 2004, p. 20.

[20] Cf.: Ibid, p. 82.

[21] Cf.: Merle R. Howard, Lloyd M. Hulit: Born to talk. An Introduction to speech and language Development. 2nd ed., Needham Heights: Allyn& Bacon, 1997, p. 325.

[22] Cf.: E. W. Lindsey, J. Mize, G. S. Pettit: Differential play patterns of mothers and fathers of sons and daughters: implications for children's gender role development. In: < http://www.findarticles.com/p/particles/mi_m2294/is_n9-10_v37/ai_20608865#continue > 08.07.2005 12:54.

[23] Penelope Eckert, Sally McConnell-Ginet: Language and Gender. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 2004, p. 143.

[24] Cf.: A.K. Abkarian , G.G. Abkarian, J.P. Dworkin : Fathers’ speech to their children: perfect pitch or tin ear? In : < http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0PAV/is_1_1/ai_107202406#continue > 19.05.05 19:47.

[25] Cf.: Susan U. Philips, Susan Steele, Christine Tanz: Language, gender, and sex in comparative perspective. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1987, p. 196 - 197.

Excerpt out of 16 pages

Details

Title
The Role of Language and Gender Behaviour in the Family
College
Otto-von-Guericke-University Magdeburg  (Institut für fremdsprachliche Philologien)
Course
Language and Gender
Grade
2,0
Author
Year
2005
Pages
16
Catalog Number
V128002
ISBN (eBook)
9783640344352
ISBN (Book)
9783640344208
File size
498 KB
Language
English
Tags
Role, Language, Gender, Behaviour, Family
Quote paper
Kerstin Engelmann (Author), 2005, The Role of Language and Gender Behaviour in the Family, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/128002

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