Evaluative language used by Mandarin-Chinese-speaking dyads in personal narratives: Age and socioeconomic differences

Wen Feng Lai*, Yen Yu Chen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The aim of this study was to determine the effects of age and family socioeconomic status (SES) on the evaluative language performance of Mandarin-Chinese-speaking young children and their mothers. The participants were 65 mother–child dyads recruited in Taiwan. Thirty-four of these dyads were from middle-class families and 31 were from working-class families. Narrative conversations of individual dyads were audio-recorded, and transcripts of those conversations were prepared and analyzed using the Child Language Data Exchange System. The primary findings were as follows: (a) mothers of 3-year-olds used more cognitive words; (b) middle-class mothers produced more cognitive words, whereas working-class mothers used more repetitions; (c) 3-year-old children used substantially more evaluative language than 2-year-olds in cognitive words, reported speech, and gratuitous terms; and (d) middle-class children produced more cognitive words than working-class children, whereas working-class children produced more reported speech. The results are discussed in relation to language socialization and the implications for multicultural education are explored.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1017-1033
Number of pages17
JournalEarly Child Development and Care
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Jul 2


  • Mandarin-Chinese-speaking children
  • evaluative language
  • family socioeconomic status
  • narrative development
  • personal narrative

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Pediatrics


Dive into the research topics of 'Evaluative language used by Mandarin-Chinese-speaking dyads in personal narratives: Age and socioeconomic differences'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this