Differentiating status through the use of material and interactive resources in young siblings’ interaction


  • Emi Morita National University of Singapore




sibling interaction, conflict in early development, multimodal analysis, play, mean


This study examines siblings’ interactions revolving around toys during free play. Observing the naturally occurring interaction between siblings, this study explores the ways in which older siblings attempt to establish differentiated status with younger siblings by assigning and displaying unequal valuations to contested objects in ways that highlight the different affordances of the object available for interaction between them. Often characterized by caretakers as instances ‘being mean’, for the child, what may be at issue in such interactions is that there is a local, endogenous ‘order’ that needs to be achieved and maintained by both by oneself and by other participants regarding one’s status as a sanctioned participant in play. Investigating such particular interactions between elder siblings and younger siblings at the pre-verbal or very early stages of language use, this study uses multimodal analysis reveals how such children organize the emerging interaction sequence to construct their social order, utilizing both the sequential organization of talk as well as the public manipulation of material resources.

Author Biography

Emi Morita, National University of Singapore

Emi Morita is associate professor in the Department of Japanese Studies at the National University of Singapore. Her research interests are interactional linguistics, children’s social interaction, conversation analysis focusing on linguistic resources such as interactional particles and small vocal tokens, and interaction involving young children. She has published the monograph Negotiation of Contingent Talk: Japanese Interactional Particles Ne and Sa (John Benjamins, 2005), and together with Tomoyo Takagi and Yuri Hosoda, she has co-authored Kaiwabunseki no kiso (Basics of Conversation Analysis; Hitsujishobo, 2016).


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How to Cite

Morita, E. . (2021). Differentiating status through the use of material and interactive resources in young siblings’ interaction. Research on Children and Social Interaction, 5(2), 179–210. https://doi.org/10.1558/rcsi.17858