Intimacy, imitation and language learning: Spanish diminutives in mother-child conversation

Kendall King, Gigliana Melzi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper explores how Spanish-speaking Peruvian mothers and their children use diminutives in everyday conversations, seeking to characterize the discourse forms and functions of diminutive imitation and to explore potential differences across speaker groups. More generally, we investigate how and why the use of diminutives may play an important role in facilitating conversational interaction and language learning. Findings illustrate the importance of examining languagelearning processes among non-English-speaking populations, as well as the role of cross-linguistic, cross-cultural analysis in understanding interactional and language socialization processes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)241-261
Number of pages21
JournalFirst Language
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2004


  • CDS
  • Child-directed speech
  • Evaluative morphology
  • Latinos
  • Mother-child interaction
  • Repetition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Education
  • Linguistics and Language


Dive into the research topics of 'Intimacy, imitation and language learning: Spanish diminutives in mother-child conversation'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this