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Socialization of verbal and nonverbal emotive expressions in young children
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Linguistics.
2007 (English)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The subject matter of this dissertation is children’s use and development of emotive expressions. While prior studies have either focused on facial expressions of emotions or on emotions in the social mechanisms of in situ interactions, this thesis opts to merge two traditions by applying an interactional approach to the interpretation of child–child and child–adult encounters. This approach is further supplemented with an interpretational frame stemming from studies on child development, sociology and psychology.

In order to depict the multi-leveled process of socialization, a number of sub-areas are investigated such as the emotive expressions per se; how and when these expressions are used in interaction with parents and siblings; the kinds of responses the children get after using an emotive expression; parental acts (verbal or nonverbal) that bear on children’s conduct and their choice of such expressions. Finally, the relation between nonverbal displays and language as expressive means for emotions is analyzed from a developmental perspective.

The data consists of video-recordings of five sibling groups in the ages between 1 ½ and 5 ½ who were followed for 2 ½ years in their home environment. In all, 19 recordings (15 h) were transcribed and analyzed.

The results from the study lead to several different taxonomies previously not discussed in the pertinent literature: (i) the nonverbal, vocal and verbal emotive expressions used by children; (ii) the different means these expressions were put to in child–parent encounters; (iii) the ways relations to siblings can be seen as creating and shaping certain emotive processes. Furthermore, this work demonstrates that parental responses are of vital importance for the outcome of specific child expressions. As parents reprimand, comfort, praise and mediate in their interaction with their children, they create paths later used by the child as she practices and acquires her own expressive means for handling emotions in interactional contexts. Finally, a developmental frame of language and nonverbal acts is elaborated and suggested as a tool for discovering the paths of linguistic and emotional socialization.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Institutionen för lingvistik , 2007. , 410 p.
Keyword [en]
language, socialization, interaction, emotive expressions, scaffolding, internalization, development, children, parents, siblings
National Category
Specific Languages
Research subject
General Linguistics
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-7133ISBN: 978-91-7155-485-7OAI: diva2:197707
Public defence
2007-11-30, sal G, Arrheniuslaboratorierna, Svante Arrhenius väg 14-18, Stockholm, 10:00 (English)
För att köpa boken skicka en beställning till To order the book send an e-mail to from: 2007-11-08 Created: 2007-10-29 Last updated: 2010-07-01Bibliographically approved

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