Young children’s multimodal participation in storytelling
Analysing talk and gesture in Japanese family interaction
In what ways do young children use talk and gesture to participate in conversational storytelling with family members? This paper addresses this question by examining the interactions between Japanese-speaking children (ages one year and ten months to two years and five months) and their parents at the dining table. In focusing on children’s use of talk and gesture in inhabiting the dynamic and shifting roles of ‘recipient’ and ‘speaker’, the analysis shows how children (1) display their understanding of parents’ tellings and (2) animate the activities, social actions, and stances of characters (self and other). It also shows how parents respond to children’s talk and gesture, through practices such as alignment, assessment and repair. The findings shed light on children’s multimodal participation in conversational storytelling, and their abilities to engage in action and make relevant contributions to interaction.
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