Asymmetry and adaptation in social interaction: A micro-analytic perspective
  • ISSN 1572-0373
  • E-ISSN: 1572-0381
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During the early years a young child gradually becomes a member of a culture by learning how to understand and then produce relevant social practices – particularly through interaction in conversation. This paper examines how one child adapts to the practices surrounding the production of questions and answers. Adopting a longitudinal case-study approach and employing conversation analysis, consideration is given to the question-answer practices this child produces during asymmetric conversations across the period when she is acquiring conversational skills (from 12 months to 3 years 7 months). Through a micro-analytic examination of extract examples across this period, it becomes clear that although initially a child can learn the format of question-answer sequences, it is not until the third year that some recognition of being accountable for the form of an answer becomes evident. Between the ages of 2 and 3, we observe that this child is called to account for answers that are deemed inappropriate or odd. Concluding comments consider these practices as forms of social adaptation within asymmetric interactive contexts. Keywords: child-parent-interaction; asymmetric interaction; learning conversational skills


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  • Article Type: Research Article

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