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Languages 2019, 4(1), 2; https://doi.org/10.3390/languages4010002

Scaffolding Embodied Access for Categorization in Interactions between a Blind Child and Her Mother

Department of Linguistics, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO 80309, USA
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Received: 14 August 2018 / Revised: 4 December 2018 / Accepted: 21 December 2018 / Published: 2 January 2019
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Abstract

During language acquisition, sighted children have immediate and temporally stable access to the ‘gestalt’ of an object, including particular features that suggest its categorization as part of a class of objects. Blind children, however, must effectively and productively constitute the whole object from its constitutive parts in order to categorize them. While prior studies have suggested that varied experience and appropriate sensory access can contribute to this process, little attention has been given to how this is accomplished. The present study aims to address this issue by using conversation analysis to explore embodied understanding and categorization work between a 26-month-old congenitally blind child and her sighted mother as they play with various animal toys. Here we provide an analysis of a segment involving a particular toy (a cow plush), and ask two questions: (1) During play, how does Mother scaffold embodied routines for the identification of criterial information about a category, and (2) How is knowledge of varied exemplars, not directly accessible within the current activity, then made available to the child? Detailed examination of the linguistic and embodied practices employed by this mother–child dyad provides a concrete example of how non-visual modalities help scaffold the learning of categorization techniques, as well as illustrates the import that the examination of naturally occurring social interaction can have for theories of language and embodied cognition. View Full-Text
Keywords: categorization; acquisition; situated interaction; conversation analysis; embodiment; multimodality categorization; acquisition; situated interaction; conversation analysis; embodiment; multimodality
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
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Rickard, C.; Strother, M.; Fox, B.A.; Raymond, C.W. Scaffolding Embodied Access for Categorization in Interactions between a Blind Child and Her Mother. Languages 2019, 4, 2.

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