Canceled: Douglas Sperry- "The role of overheard speech in the ambient verbal environments of young children."

The role of overheard speech in the ambient verbal environments of young children

Douglas E. Sperry, Ph.D.


Research has demonstrated that very young children learn both semantic and syntactic concepts through overheard speech in experimental contexts.  Despite this fact, there is a paucity of research examining the role of overheard speech in children’s ambient verbal environments.  The present study seeks to address this lacuna.  Sperry, Sperry, and Miller (2018) reported that the amount of overheard speech in children’s homes is substantial, differing (a) between communities defined by both culture and social class, and (b) by constellation of the homes within these communities.  This presentation revisits those data, asking two questions: (1) how much of this speech is about the child? and (2) to what degree are children paying attention to it?  Grounded in ethnographic inquiry, this study argues that the viability of overheard speech as a resource of language input depends on its content and pragmatic function in everyday conversation.

Thursday, March 26 at 3:30 PM to 4:45 PM

Holmes Student Center, Heritage Room
600 Lucinda Ave, DeKalb, IL 60115

Event Type

Lectures, Presentations and Workshops



Target Audience

Students, Faculty and Staff



Center for the Interdisciplinary Study of Language and Literacy (CISLL)
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