The present article surveies how a 4 twelvemonth old Chinese miss uses Chinese linguistic communication to interact with parents, what kinds of linguistic communication socialisation she receives from parents and what emergent literacy accomplishments she has achieved “ at a peculiar minute in clip ” ( S.Besser 2010 ) , all of which finally serve as a theoretical account for geographic expedition of the linguistic communication and literacy development of preschool kids.



Jing Jing ( 3 ; 11 ; 3 old ages and 11 months ) , my cousin, is an surpassing Chinese miss and is the topic of this survey. She goes to kindergarten in the daylight and is taken attention of by her female parent at place. Her female parent merely works on occasion and her male parent earns monthly salary hardly plenty to back up the whole household in Shenzhen after paying Jing Jing ‘s tuition fee, both of whom have merely received senior high school instruction. Since Chinese Mandarin is Jing Jing ‘s female parent lingua and is used by her at place and kindergarten, this survey focuses on her Chinese linguistic communication acquisition and literacy.

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Data Collection

The informations are collected in 3 hours by note taking on Mid-Autumn Festival Day from 3 beginnings: detecting the conversations between Jing Jing and her female parent around the dinner tabular array and in the supermarket ; my interaction with Jing Jing in the house ; an interview with Jing Jing ‘s female parent about the parents ‘ sentiments about raising a linguistic communication competent and literate kid.

Datas Analysis

Halliday ‘s maps of linguistic communication contribute to the reading of Jing Jing ‘s linguistic communication ( Halliday, 1976 ) . Other literatures are referred to when looking at how the parents use linguistic communication to socialise the kid into the linguistic communication of community, the kid ‘s communicative competency and emergent literacy behaviours every bit good as her parents ‘ function in her linguistic communication and literacy accomplishment.


1. Language Functions

Instrumental map ( ibid. )

When linguistic communication serves of enabling a kid to obtain the good or services that he wants, in following instance the moon-cakes, it is called the instrumental map of linguistic communication, i.e. the “ I want ” map. ( C – Child, M – Mother, F – Father, I – the research worker )

Degree centigrade: I want to eat moon-cakes.

Meter: I will give you moon-cakes one time you eat up your repast!

Regulative map ( ibid. )

I: ( Pick up a image book called Small Tadpoles Looking for Their Mother ) Is this your book?

Degree centigrades: Yes. Give it back to me! You do n’t cognize how to read it.

The regulative is the “ do as I tell you ” map used by the kid to command other people ‘s behaviour. Jing Jing utilizations regulative vocalization bespeaking me to give the book back to her.

Interactional map ( ibid. )

I: Whose bed is this?

Degree centigrades: It ‘s mine.

I: I want to kip on it.

Degree centigrades: Ok. I will kip with you. You can play with my doll.

The interactive map of linguistic communication, besides glossed as the “ you and me ” map, used by Jing Jing shows that an familiarity grows up between us. Here the bed and her favourite doll become the channels for her to interact with me.

Personal map ( ibid. )

There is the personal map of linguistic communication, the “ here I come ” map, that makes it possible for the kid to show his consciousness of himself and do public his individualism.

Degree centigrades: ( Stand in forepart of Television ) Mother, expression at me! I can twirl a Hawaiian dancing hoop.


Meter: Oh, six circles this clip. Fantastic!

Degree centigrades: Yeah! I am figure one! You are figure two! I am figure one!

Jing Jing bases in the center of the house, seeking to catch grownups ‘ attending and being eager for congratulations from grownups. After being scolded by her male parent, she still tries to travel back to the forepart of Television to do others concentrate on her. “ Mother, expression at me! I can twirl a Hawaiian dancing hoop ” and “ I am figure one ” aid expose her ain singularity to other people.

Heuristic map ( ibid. )

Degree centigrade: I see the Moon. It ‘s beautiful. ( Walk to another street ) Why is the Moon losing?

Meter: The Moon is at that place.

Degree centigrades: Why is the Moon different from the one merely now? This Moon is white. I like the xanthous Moon. This white Moon radiances excessively brilliantly like the Sun.

The heuristic map of linguistic communication, the “ state me why ” map, is the agencies by which the kid explores the environment and learns about things. Jing Jing turns her wonder of the different visual aspect of the Moon into the oppugning signifier “ why is the Moon different from the one merely now ” .

Imaginative map ( ibid. )

Meter: Today is Mid-Autumn Festival. We will hold dinner foremost and so travel out to see the Moon.

Degree centigrade: There is no Moon tonight because the Moon is covered by the cloud.

Meter: It will come out one time you eat up your repast.

Degree centigrades: Then the cloud will go angry. The cloud delaies for excessively long. The cloud waits for the stars to come out.

The imaginative is the “ Lashkar-e-Taiba ‘s make-believe ” map of linguistic communication whereby the kid creates “ a universe ab initio made up of pure sound, but which bit by bit turns into one of narrative and pretense, and finally into the kingdom of poesy and inventive authorship ” ( Halliday, 1976 ) . In the above illustration, Jing Jing uses the inventive map of linguistic communication to widen the subject, give emotions to the cloud and do it vivid in her head.

Representational map ( ibid. )

It is this representational map, i.e. the “ I ‘ve got something to state you ” map that enables linguistic communication to be used as a agency of pass oning information to others who do n’t already cognize that information and that emerges at a much later phase of the kid. In the undermentioned illustration the kid portions with me her household ‘s jubilation of her large sister ‘s birthday utilizing this map of linguistic communication.

I: ( Point to another image ) What ‘s this?

Degree centigrade: This is a birthday bar. Yesterday we celebrated my large sister ‘s birthday ( The large sister is her neighbor ) .

2. Language Socialization

Ochs ( 1986 ) defines the construct of Language socialisation as both “ socialisation through linguistic communication and socialisation to utilize linguistic communication ” . Children get linguistic communication and social-cultural cognition “ through exposure to and engagement in language-mediated interactions ” ( ibid. ) .

Language used to transport on societal rites and cultural heritage

Meter: Today is Mid-Autumn Festival. Have dinner and travel out to see the Moon.

The get-together dinner in the above illustration is a ritual to be followed by many Chinese households. Parent ‘s word at the get downing bespeaking the rite ‘s importance engraves on the kid ‘s head that connexions among household members could be maintained and strengthened by chew the fating around the same tabular array. Family dinner besides forms a context in which the kid can larn the “ idiosyncratic norms and affectional inner-working of the household ” ( Herot, 2002 ) . Furthermore, the illustration of Mother ‘s learning the kid a Chinese usage of sing the Moon at the Mid-Autumn dark exemplifies the of import function linguistic communication plays in transporting on this peculiar Chinese cultural heritage and societal usage among coevalss.

Interactional Routine

In the undermentioned illustration, when Jing Jing ‘s male parent says, “ Do n’t stand at that place barricading others from watching Television ” , he is learning the kid to act decently in forepart of a group of people and non to conflict on their rights.

Degree centigrades: ( Stand in forepart of Television ) Mother, expression at me! I can twirl a Hawaiian dancing hoop.

Meter: I am looking at you. Oh, six circles. That ‘s astonishing.

F: Do n’t stand at that place barricading grownups from watching Television.

( The kid reluctantly moves to the side and goes on twirling. Mother ‘s attending is attracted by the festival jamboree on Television )

This can besides be counted as an interactive modus operandi, which is a sequence of exchanges during which the grownup ‘s vocalization calls forth merely a limited set of responses from the kid ( Boggs & A ; Peters 1980 ; Hymes 1962, 1971, 1982 ; Sacks, Schegloff & A ; Jefferson 1974 ) . Interactional modus operandi enable the kid to understand the societal functions regarded as appropriate for her age and sex in patterned ways ( Peters & A ; Boggs, 1986 ) . Every clip the kid does something inappropriate the male parent will demo authorization and choler in his modulation necessitating the kid to stay soundless or give confidences of conformity. Furthermore, the “ grownups watching Television ” , same as the routinely account “ this is adults ‘ concern, you childs do n’t understand ” , reinforces the kid ‘s construct of the difference between what kids can understand/do and what grownups can understand/do.


Tease, one sort of societal drama, is besides an of import portion of linguistic communication socialisation. Sachs ( 1980 ) concluded that make-believe drama such as badgering between grownup and kid serves as a good chance for the kid ‘s acquisition of linguistic communication to construction the universe.

Meter: Large cousin is express joying at you because you are the 1 who eats the slowest.

Degree centigrades: ( smilings, blooms and lowers her caput )

Meter: If you do n’t eat, I will sell you to the kid seller.

Degree centigrades: No, you would n’t. Child sellers are bad cats.

When female parent foremost says “ large sister is express joying at you because you eat excessively easy ” to abash Jing Jing, she is motivating her to eat. Unlike this gag, female parent ‘s 2nd vocalization could hold caused fright or choler if this were the first clip that female parent had said it. But seemingly from Jing Jing ‘s reply, she shows no fright or choler at all since she knows female parent has used this menace before and the possibility of female parent abandoning her is nothing. By reiterating tease, mother indirectly teaches the kid to decently cover with her ain emotions and equips the kid with accomplishments she would necessitate when she contacts with the outside universe. As Miller ( 1986 ) said, badgering helps kids derive a survival tool and exposes them to the potency of linguistic communication for drama, statement and self-defence.

3. Communicative Competence

Communicative competency includes the ability to utilize speech appropriate for the specific fortunes and to convey what one intends to convey ( Ervin-Tripp, 1969 ) . In the linguistic communication exchanges chosen in this survey, Jing Jing can utilize linguistic communication appropriate for the state of affairss both to makes herself understood and to pass on with others. She uses the word “ because ” to construct a causal relationship between “ there is no Moon tonight ” and “ the Moon is covered by the cloud ” to back up her statement. She besides uses coherence markers, in this instance the repeat of words, to go on from one sentence into the following so as to narrate or explicate something ( Halliday & A ; Hason 1976, Halliday, 1979 ) . For illustration, in her address “ Then the cloud will go angry. The cloud delaies for excessively long. The cloud waits for the stars to come out ” , she repeats the word “ the cloud ” to cling her account of why the Moon will go angry. As another illustration, in her address “ I like footballs. Footballs are for kids. Footballs can be kicked ” , she repeats the word “ footballs ” so as to link her account of why she loves football.

However, the undermentioned illustration shows that, Jing Jing is still non adept in taking between the direct speech/thought presentation and indirect speech/thought presentation to depict a 3rd individual ‘s vocal/mental activities ( Short and his 4 possibilities of speech/thought presentation continuum, 1996 ) . Although kids learn individual picks early in life, it would still be hard for 3~4 twelvemonth old 1s to get the hang the indirect address presentation “ Auntie will inquire where we are and say that she can non happen us ” due to the deficiency of a systematic contact with the 3rd individual use in written linguistic communication. Therefore Jing Jing corrects herself instantly utilizing the direct address presentation “ Auntie will ( inquire ) “ where are you, I ca n’t happen you ” . In primary old ages at that place will be enormous exposure to third individual narrations and Jing Jing will have counsel in doing individual picks so as to get the better of this trouble and derive command of pull stringsing different text types ( Christie, 2005 ) .

Degree centigrade: Where is Auntie?

Meter: She went to the electrical country to look at the family contraptions. ( Keeps traveling )

Degree centigrades: ( unwilling to travel ) Where is Auntie? Let ‘s non travel further. Auntie willaˆ¦ ” Where are you? I ca n’t see you! “ Auntie will shout.

4. Literacy Behaviors

Reading the significance before reading the single characters

Goodman Y. ( 1984 ) notes that the development of print consciousness in environmental scenes is the root of literacy most good developed before go toing school. In this print-rich environment, the kid is “ continuously interacting with, forming, and analysing the significances ” of the print ( Goodman Y. , 1984 ) . To measure Jing Jing ‘s print consciousness, I invite Jing Jing to read the characters on the pocketbook. She knows the noun group should be read from left to compensate, the right way. She accurately locates the first three characters when articulating them. But from the 4th one on, the gait she reads is faster than the gait she points to them one by one, which means she does n’t truly cognize the single characters. Alternatively she uses the contextual cognition to decrypt the text given that fact that Happy Lamb and Grey Wolf is a really popular sketch in China run on Television about every twenty-four hours and is Jing Jing ‘s favourite. As stated by Goodman Y ( ibid. ) , kids get to cognize the universe before they read the print.

I: Can you read the words on the bag?

Degree centigrades: ( Points to the characters from left to compensate ) Xi Yang Yang Yu Hui Tai Lang ( Happy Lamb and Grey Wolf ) .

I: ( Show to her the dorsum of the pocketbook where there are 8 English letters A, B, C, F, G, H, K, L being indiscriminately printed ) What are these?

Degree centigrades: ABCD.

I: Truly? Are they ABCD?

Degree centigrades: Yes. ABCD. They are English.

Undoubtedly, this “ ABCD ” illustration demonstrates that Jing Jing recognizes that English and Chinese are different in visual aspect, though she uses ABCD to stand for all English letters. Bing reminded of the fact that there is still no English literacy category in Jing Jing ‘s kindergarten, we can impute this distinction ability to environmental print that she encountered earlier. As stated by Lin ( 2007 ) , this can be termed as “ a signifier of meta-linguistic consciousness that comes from linguistic communication contact ” .

Associating a book to day-to-day life experience

I: ( point to a image in a word book ) What ‘s this?

Degree centigrades: Basketball.

I: ( Point to another image ) What ‘s this?

Degree centigrade: This is a football. I like footballs. Footballs are for kids. Footballs can be kicked. I can hit.

I: Do you like hoops? Are basketballs for kids?

Degree centigrades: No. Basketballs are non for kids. Basketballs can non be kicked. I like footballs.

I: ( Point to another image ) What ‘s this?

Degree centigrade: This is a birthday bar. Yesterday we celebrated my large sister ‘s birthday.

Engagement in the print-rich environment makes it possible for kids to develop assorted penetrations into the maps of written linguistic communication, acquiring to cognize that written linguistic communication makes sense every bit good as how it makes sense ( Goodman Y, 1984 ) . Here Jing Jing is non satisfied with merely reading the book, but besides relates it to her day-to-day life experience doing it meaningful. She non merely uses anterior cognition to construe what she read, but besides uses unwritten linguistic communication to explicate in item the written linguistic communication so as to better understand it.

Memory and illustrations back uping her reading

I: What does the book ( Small Tadpoles Looking for Their Mother ) Tell? Can you read it to me?

Degree centigrades: OK. ( Turns to the first 2 pages ) Mother Frog gives birth to a batch of polliwogs.

( Turns pages ) The polliwogs find their female parent losing.

( Turns pages ) They start to look for their female parent.

( Turns 1 page ) Mother Duck says ‘I am non your female parent. ‘

( Turns 1 page ) Mother Turtle says ‘I am non your female parent. ‘

( Turns 1 page ) Mother Goose says ‘I am non your female parent. ‘

( Turns to the last page ) The polliwogs find their female parent.

Keeping the book right, Jing Jing knows the forepart of the book and starts from the first page one after another. Actually she is reciting the narrative since she ever points at the illustrations while merely casts a few glances at the text. Harmonizing to her female parent, the book is a needed 1 for kids go toing Jing Jing ‘s kindergarten and the instructor did read the narrative to Jing Jing, or more likely, to the whole category. The book is old and has been read by Jing Jing herself for many times. Though she omits several parts of the text such as the conditions description, the recount tells precisely the narrative lineation. I conclude that it is chiefly her memory and the image cues that support her text building. Harmonizing to Goodman et Al. ( 2007 ) , Jing Jing is utilizing her “ earlier repertory of reading schemes ” . She opens the book, makes up a narrative and she reads it.

5. Parents ‘ function

In the interview with Jing Jing ‘s female parent, she admits that she finds Jing Jing ‘s address interesting and inventive sometimes but she does n’t seek to farther actuate her to transport on that specific subject. The parents merely laugh or name Jing Jing “ silly girl ” as a response or even disregard what she say when they are busy holding their ain amusements. In the information I gathered, the parents did n’t give Jing Jing response when she was utilizing the inventive map of linguistic communication depicting the graphic cloud or exerting the representational map explicating why she likes the xanthous Moon instead than the white Moon. Clay argues that how adults respond to kids ‘s address “ determines whether they will go on their attempt or non ” ( Clay, 1998 ) . Ignorance will give Jing Jing an feeling that grownups are non interested in the subjects she brought up and impair her enterprise in get downing new originative conversations in the hereafter.

The several literacy books bought by her parents and environmental print have great value in assisting her achieve the reading comprehension ability demonstrated in the Little Tadpoles Looking for Their Mother book reading illustration. However, it is a commiseration that Jing Jing ‘s parents rarely take part in literacy activities together with Jing Jing, go forthing books to be read by Jing Jing herself. The parents acknowledge that they have no thought of emergent literacy and they think it plenty for reading and composing to be taught in kindergarten by instructors. In fact, parents can play a critical function in making early acquisition chances that have positive impacts on kids ‘s emergent literacy development in pre-school old ages ( Ehri and Roberts 2006 ; Saracho 1997 ) . Lin argues that grownups should non merely supply literacy stuffs to the childs, but besides serve as facilitators to promote them to be immersed in the literacy universe ( Lin, 2007 ) .


In this instance survey, Jing Jing proves her linguistic communication ability typical of childs around 4 old ages old through exerting assorted linguistic communication maps. Given the fact that she has already mastered the seven maps of linguistic communication, she is now in the full lingual system and is spread outing in her capacity to intend and pass on ( Christie, 2005 ; Halliday, assorted ) . Her literacy accomplishments demonstrated in the three reading illustrations once more proves that environmental print is influential in the literacy development of early childhood. I strongly recommend that the parents follow a responsible attitude and be well-prepared to take up their functions in the interlocutions with Jing Jing, in that it is through active linguistic communication exchanges that the kid is motivated to spread out her meaning-making capacity and to utilize linguistic communication to undertake jobs. At this particular age, with one twelvemonth left to be prepared for primary school, it is besides of import for the parents to be engaged together with Jing Jing in more literacy activities since the emergent literacy cognition of immature kids is regarded as some of the best forecasters for their reading accomplishments subsequently at school ( Nicolson, 1997 ; Hecht et al. , 2000 ; Scarborough, 2001 ; Shatil et al. , 2001 )