Aspects of structure and content of maternal talk with infants

Gordon Elias*, Alan Hayes, Jack Broerse

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Abstract Content of maternal talk in six mothers infant dyads was used to determine whether mothers timed their talk to infants as they would when conversing with an adult. Results indicated that maternal talk of an informative nature (Type 1 acts) tended to follow a brief intervening interval of silence, while maternal talk containing little or no information (Type 2 acts) tended to occur when the mothers “talked with” (covocalized with) their infants. In addition, there was a significant trend for the overall proportion of Type 1 acts to increase over infant age. These findings support the view that, during mother‐infant engagements, mothers behave like sophisticated conversational partners.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)523-531
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1988
Externally publishedYes


  • content
  • Infancy
  • structure
  • vocalization


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