Mother-Toddler Language Interactions in Dominicans In New York City: A Comparison of Dominican and American Mothers' Input to Toddlers During Play

Document Type



Five mother-toddler dyads were videotaped in a non-structured play situation using a consistent set of unfamiliar toys provided by the examiners. Transcripts were analyzed to describe the nature of the maternal linguistic input that characterized this population. Results were compared to those of a population of five Dominican mothers previously tested in the Dominican Republic. Significant differences were found in the use of directives, demonstrations, questions, modeling, and terms of endearment.

Information about the Student Author

Class of 2002, Major: Communications Sciences and Disorders

Summary of Research Experience

The Dominican Republic population has grown in the New York City area and little research has been done on the language development and/or mother-child interactions in this population. Speech Language pathologists need this information in order to provide speech-language therapy for young children of Dominican Republic mothers with similar educational background and ages. The others and toddlers were videotaped playing with a consistent set of unfamiliar toys provided by the examiner. The transcripts were analyzed and compared. The research showed that there was a significant difference in the amount of directives, demonstrations, questions, modeling, and terms of endearment between the two populations.

My Eugene M. Lang Faculty-Student Research experience was significant on many levels. As a future speech-language pathologist, I learned that one must remember to be aware of different cultures and understand that if mother-child interaction is different from a typical white American interaction it is not necessarily a wrong way of approaching language development. Also, I feel very lucky to have worked with Dr. Alpern outside of th classroom. I learned so much from her. Dr. Alpern showed me step by step the process of doing research.

I prepared an article on my research findings that was published in Pace's Transactions of the Society of Fellows (Vol. 9 2002). Also I have been invited to present a report on my work at the Spring 200 Convention of the NYSSLHA (New York State Speech-Language Hearing Association). My personal plans for the future include attending graduate school in the fall 2003 studying Speech Language Pathology.

Faculty Mentor

Carol S. Alpern, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Communications, Dyson College of Arts and Sciences

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