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Issues in Applied Linguistics

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Joint Attention in a Father-Child-Mother Triad: A Chinese-American Case Study


This pcq)er presents an exploratory study of joint attention in a father-childmother triad in a Chinese-American family. The study examines how the parents of a two-year-old child elicit and sustain the attention of the child during mundane activities such as playing an educational game and telling a story. In the activities, triadic interactions are fostered by the following factors: (1) the arrangement of artifacts and spaces for participant interactions; (2) the blending of artifacts of western culture with Chinese culture; (3) the complementary roles of the parents with respect to the input they provide to the child; (4) the use of affective morphology to convey intersubjectivity and shared knowledge; and (5) the use of nonvocal linguistic cues such as gestures and eye gaze. These factors interactively contribute to joint attention, which constitutes an essential part of a child's language development, social cognition, and cultural learning.

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