The present study aimed at exploring the responses of listeners in conversational speech between parents and toddlers. Children’s responses toward parents and parents’ responses toward children were the focus of this study. Participants included five dyads each of typically developing two‐year‐old toddlers and their parents from Japanese‐ and English‐speaking families. Responses of a mother/father toward a child or a child toward a mother/father were classified into three categories: non‐lexical backchannels (e.g., hoo, nn, hai), phrasal backchannels (e.g., hontoo “really,” soo desu ka “is that right?”), and repetition. The results showed that the average ratio of overall backchannels and repetitions produced by parents was quite similar in both languages and was much greater than that produced by children in both languages. Among Japanese‐speaking parents, non‐lexical backchannels and repetitions were preferred to phrasal backchannels, while among English‐speaking parents non‐lexical backchannels were most frequently used. With Japanese‐speaking parents, almost half of the repetitions were exact repetitions. They frequently repeated what a child had said and added the sentence‐final particle “ne” or content words. These findings are expected to be useful in understanding response behaviors in spoken communication between parents and their children.
Part of the book: Advances in Speech-language Pathology