Positioning updates as relevant
An analysis of child-initiated updating in American and Canadian families
Telling about your day is a documented component of close relationships. In examining nearly 31 hours of video-recorded English-speaking American and Canadian families with young children primarily between the ages of three and six, this paper analyses how children solve the problem of producing relevant updates about the goings on of their day. Findings indicate that child-initiated updates are ‘touched off ’ by prior talk or something in the immediate environment. I find that child-initiated updates occur in three sequential environments: (1) when they are prompted by a specific word/ phrase, (2) when they are prompted by an object in the locally immediate environment, and (3) when they are prompted by the local ongoing activity. Importantly, these updates are retrospectively activated in that they are responsive to what just occurred before, but also initiate a new sequence. The updating practices described here provide further evidence of the interactional sophistication of young children in that they show how children can exploit the ongoing environment to deliver updates about their own lives.
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