Developmental issues raised by the papers are considered. First, collaboration between conversational partners raises the possibilities for cognitive change but also involves problems. The difficulty in making causal inferences from the speech of one partner in a conversation is considerable; ways of addressing this are considered. Second, the issue of level of analysis of conversational discourse key to the outcomes under consideration is discussed. Is it the content of the talk, the pragmatic intent of the mother, or the context in which the conversation happens that fosters the children’s understanding? Or is the quality of the relationship between the interlocutors key—as suggested by some of the findings reported here? The complexity of what happens in mother-child conversations is usefully illustrated and new questions are opened up for us in these contributions.
"A Discussion of the Merrill-Palmer Quarterly
1, Article 8.
Available at: http://digitalcommons.wayne.edu/mpq/vol52/iss1/8