Gene-Environment Language Acquisition

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Shared Reading: An Analysis of Gene-Environment Correlations of Language Acquisition
Language acquisition is strongly influenced by gene-environment interactions. These interactions can be passive, as is the case with the age shared reading begins, maternal characteristics and maternal communication style, which includes labelling, questioning and feedback. Passive gene-environment effects can be mediated by interventions such as shared book gifting. Gene-environment interactions can be evocative, as is the case with gender. Finally, gene-environment interactions can be active, as exhibited by the influence of infant attention on shared reading frequency. Shared reading constitutes 5% of infant’s daily verbal interactions, and as such, it
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Sénéchal, Cornell, and Broda (1995) conducted an observational study of 36 mothers and their 9-, 17-, and 27- month-old infants. The utterances of the mother and child were described and categorized by function. Utterances could either be attention-recruiting, questions, feedback, or elaborations such as labelling or describing content (Sénéchal et al., 1995). Mothers were asked to read books with and without text to determine the impact of book style on utterances. Results showed that mothers elaborated more and asked questions more frequently when there was no text to rely on (Sénéchal et al., 1995). Furthermore, patterns of utterances were observed in each group. Researchers determined that shared reading with 9-month-old infants was characterized by more elaborations, whereas 17-month-old infants were asked more questions. Verbal reciprocal interactions were the highest with the 27-month-olds, when conversations would emerge over the story content (Sénéchal et al., 1995). These results are indicative of adjusting communication styles based on literacy and language skills, which help the infant maintain interest in the activity. Furthermore, infants who were engaged more, exposed to more labelling and questioning and given feedback tended to be more vocal and actively participate in their learning (Sénéchal et al.,…show more content…
Joint attention provides the framework for learning the complex facets of reading, through reciprocal interactions of the caregiver and infant-centered around vocabulary words and the illustrations that accompany them (O’Farrelly et al., 2018). This mechanism is necessary for language acquisition because the adult connects the word and the image for the infant through labelling and pointing behaviours, and subsequently allows the child to do the same (O’Farrelly, 2018; Karrass & Braungart-Reiker, 2005). However, joint attention is not sufficient if the infant is not interested in
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