Cartalk! Conversational Topics of Preschool Children En Route Home From Preschool The conversations of 9 preschool-age children (chronological age [CA] 4:0 to 5:2, years:months) were tape-recorded as they traveled home from school with their parent in the family car. The speech samples (5 to 20 minutes in length) were coded to identify the semantic content of topics the children spoke about ... Research Article
Research Article  |   July 01, 1994
Cartalk! Conversational Topics of Preschool Children En Route Home From Preschool
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Christine A. Marvin, PhD
    University of Nebraska, Lincoln
  • Contact author: Christine A. Marvin, PhD, 202B Barkley Memorial Center, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Lincoln, NE 68583-0732.
    Contact author: Christine A. Marvin, PhD, 202B Barkley Memorial Center, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Lincoln, NE 68583-0732.×
Article Information
School-Based Settings / Normal Language Processing / Research Articles
Research Article   |   July 01, 1994
Cartalk! Conversational Topics of Preschool Children En Route Home From Preschool
Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, July 1994, Vol. 25, 146-155. doi:10.1044/0161-1461.2503.146
History: Received May 4, 1993 , Accepted September 20, 1993
 
Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, July 1994, Vol. 25, 146-155. doi:10.1044/0161-1461.2503.146
History: Received May 4, 1993; Accepted September 20, 1993

The conversations of 9 preschool-age children (chronological age [CA] 4:0 to 5:2, years:months) were tape-recorded as they traveled home from school with their parent in the family car. The speech samples (5 to 20 minutes in length) were coded to identify the semantic content of topics the children spoke about most often in this setting. References to specific persons, time frames, and content were noted. Overall, the children spoke most often about the here and now, making frequent references to the present and themselves or their parent. References to past and future events, however, were made more frequently in the car setting than at home or school by the same children (Marvin, Beukelman, Brockhous, & Kast, 1994). The content of most cartalk addressed the children's school projects and play, vehicles, food, and people's actions or positions. Most references to the past and to school projects occurred during the first 5 minutes of travel and often were prompted by the presence of a project remnant in the car or by a parent's questions or comments. References to future events occurred more frequently during the latter portion of the trip. The merits of viewing the family car (and car travel time) as an important setting for advancing young children's decontextual use of language are discussed.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
The author thanks Dave Beukelman, Diana Hughes, and Ann Radcliffe for their comments in reviewing the data and drafts of this manuscript. Gratitude is also extended to Jennifer James, Meredith Lugert, and Katie Griess for their assistance in transcribing and analyzing the data. This project was supported in part by Grant #H029B0081 from the U.S. Department of Education, Division of Personnel Preparation.
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