Action bids in children with speech impairments

The case of marking


  • Alessandra Fasulo University of Portsmouth
  • Iris Nomikou University of Portsmouth
  • Joanna Nye University of Portsmouth



marking, conversation analysis, Down syndrome, assessments, action formation, repetition


The paper illustrates a practice, which we have called ‘marking’, observed in play interactions between parents and children with Down syndrome (DS) aged 3–8 years. Markings are minimal turns that rely on prosody, embodied resources and indexicality to foreground events within an ongoing activity and convey a stance toward them. Markings can be both retrospective and prospective (i.e. referring to a just-occurred or an incipient event). As first pair parts, they are open action bids that prompt recipients to display their co-orientation towards the referent. Responses from parents (i.e. second markings) can take the form of repeats or expansions; after prospective marking the recipient can also add support to the incipient activity the child has marked. We discuss marking as the core constituent of a larger family of actions for ‘sharing noteworthiness’, but also as a designedly undetermined action bid with specific conversational uses for children and adults alike.

Author Biographies

Alessandra Fasulo, University of Portsmouth

Alessandra Fasulo is a senior lecturer in the Department of Psychology, University of Portsmouth. She studies social interaction with a focus on language socialization in typical and atypical development.

Iris Nomikou, University of Portsmouth

Iris Nomikou is a senior lecturer in the Department of Psychology, University of Portsmouth. Her research interests include language development and socialization, particularly the interactive foundations of language learning. Her research focuses on the interplay between talk and bodily experience for the development of meaning.

Joanna Nye, University of Portsmouth

Joanna Nye is a visiting research fellow in the Department of Psychology, University of Portsmouth. Her research interests include the role of social development on number skills development, including in children with Down syndrome.


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How to Cite

Fasulo, A. ., Nomikou, I. ., & Nye, J. . (2021). Action bids in children with speech impairments: The case of marking. Research on Children and Social Interaction, 5(1), 57–79.