Michelle Brachfeld Field Observation #2 Intro to Language

Michelle Brachfeld
Field Observation #2
Intro to Language
Who: Subjects were one African American mother, appeared to be in her mid to late
twenties. African American son, about three to four years old. Both native English
Where: Subjects were observed on the E train.
What: Mother and child are talking looking at photos
Why: Unsure, Possibly going to school or a doctor's appointment.
I observed this mother and son couple in a crowded train, on a weekday morning.
The was giving her son a juice box, and they talked, and later, perhaps to direct the
child's attention, she pulled out her digital camera, and began showing pictures, and
asking/telling him who the people in the pictures were. As the pair spoke to each other,
they looked at one another, but the mother more frequently than the child. Caregiver
speech was definitely observed; the mother did talk slow to him, repeated herself a lot,
and did most of the talking. The child mostly repeated his mother, asked questions about
the people in the pictures, and after the mother responded, the child would repeat her, and
she would say “yeah,” to reinforce him. The mother asked her son questions, perhaps
trying to teach him. I noticed the mother using slang, such as “ain't,” but the child did not
use this word at all. The child was also observed saying '”no juice, I want a sandwich,”
and one point. At another point in my observation, the train was moving and the child
said “woooo!” the mother then said “ we're sliding!” and he began to repeat this over and
over. The child also began to say “watch your feet!” a lot, which was something he had
picked up his mother saying earlier. He got her to laugh, and so he repeated it again and
again. This observation holds true for what I have learned in the chapter on language
acquisition. What I learned from this observation is that if I was unable to tell the child's
age by looking at him, I would be able to have a good idea, based on the type of language