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The pear story project: Comparing speech to children with speech to adults

In many Western cultures, speech directed to children has been shown to differ consistently from speech to adults. These differences may have an impact on the way a child learns the language. So what is the situation like for Qaqet? We have used the pear story experiment to answer this question.


We asked adults in Raunsepna to watch the pear film and to then retell it either to another adult or to one of their children. Compare how the speaker describes the same scene first to her husband and then to her son:



Analysing the data

Watching the two videos above, it is obvious that something is different: E.g., the speaker needs a lot more time to tell the “fruit picking” and “putting fruits into baskets” scenes to her son than to her husband.

All of this is typical for conversation with young children and very different from talking to adults.