The impact of language socialization on grammatical development

Elinor Ochs, Bambi Schieffelin

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


    An offer The architecture of grammatical development in the talk of young children is the central concern of language acquisition research. The critical task of language acquisition scholarship over the last several decades has been to account for when, how, and why children use and understand grammatical forms over the course of the early period of their lives. Language socialization – the process in which children are socialized both through language and to use language within a community (Ochs and Schieffelin 1984; Schieffelin and Ochs 1986a, b) – has been largely examined without regard to the dynamics of grammatical development, focusing, rather, on culturally relevant communicative practices and activities. In this discussion, we reverse this orientation and focus directly on the role of language socialization in the acquisition of grammatical competence. What can a language socialization perspective offer to scholarship on grammatical development? A language socialization perspective yields a more sophisticated model of grammatical development, that is, one tuned into certain cultural realities that influence when, how, and why young children use and understand grammatical forms. Such a model of grammatical development takes an informed look at ideology and social order as forces that organize children's use and comprehension of grammatical forms. A language socialization enriched model decries reductionistic visions that view the sociocultural context as “input” to be quantified and correlated with children's grammatical patterns.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Title of host publicationLanguage, Culture, and Society
    Subtitle of host publicationKey Topics in Linguistic Anthropology
    PublisherCambridge University Press
    Number of pages22
    ISBN (Electronic)9780511616792
    ISBN (Print)9780521849418
    StatePublished - Jan 1 2006

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • General Social Sciences


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