Rachel Harris

Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Olson, Janet Signe

Degree Name

B.S. (Bachelor of Science)

Legacy Department

School of Allied Health and Communicative Disorders


The current study examined if the length of maternal verbal initiations and maternal verbal responses were different. Thirty-one 13-month-old infants interacted with their mothers for six minutes while experimenters observed and videotaped from an adjacent room. Mothers were given a standard toy set and asked to play as they typically would. Videos of the mother-infant dyads were transcribed in SALT and mothers’ verbal initiations and verbal responses during the play session were identified. Maternal verbalresponses were further categorized as responses to infant vocalizations, responses to infant verbalizations, maternal imitative responses, and maternal non-imitative responses. Mothers’ verbal initiations were significantly longer than mothers’ verbal responses to infant vocal/verbal behavior. Maternal responses to infant vocalizations were found to be significantly longer than maternal responses to infant verbalizations. In response to infant verbalizations, mothers responded more frequently with imitative responses than nonimitative responses. These conclusions demonstrate that as infants begin using more words to communicate during the second year of life, mothers’ MLU decreases because more of mothers’ utterances are responses to the increasing number of infant words.


Includes bibliographical references.


13 pages




Northern Illinois University

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