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Non-arbitrariness in Swedish parent-child interactions

Conference paper
Authors Åsa Abelin
Published in Proceedings from the International Symposium on Monolingual and Bilingual Speech 2017, 4 - 7 September 2017, Chania, Greece / Elena Babatsouli, Editor
ISBN 978-618-82351-1-3
Publisher Institute of Monolingual and Bilingual Speech
Place of publication Chania, Greece
Publication year 2017
Published at Department of Philosophy, Linguistics and Theory of Science
Language en
Keywords onomatopoeia, sound symbolism, infant directed speech, interaction, longitudinal
Subject categories Linguistics, Phonetics, Children's language


The purpose of this paper is to study the frequency and use of onomatopoeic and sound symbolic words, reduplications and emotional interjections in Swedish by analyzing the interactions between adults and small children in a longitudinal corpus. The study looks for correlations between the variables age at recording, type of non-arbitrary word, word frequency, and type of speech – IDS or child speech. The corpus used is the Lacerda corpus, which consists of recordings and transcriptions of three Swedish speaking children and their caregivers recorded at six occasions between approximately 1 and 2;8 years. Onomatopoeic, sound symbolic expressions, reduplications and emotional interjections in the speech of the children and the adults were analyzed. The analysis shows that more onomatopoeic words and reduplications are produced in the early ages than in the later ages of the children, and that the caregivers produce more non-arbitrary words and expressions than the children do. Most importantly it shows that there is an interaction between the adult and the child since the children’s productions follow the adult’s productions, at every recording session.

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