Semester of Graduation

Spring 2023


Master of Arts (MA)


Communication Sciences and Disorders

Document Type



The development of children’s pragmatic language, which can be defined as conversational competence in social contexts, has been attributed to variation in the language they hear in their environment. When studying the impact language input has on pragmatic development, it is important for clinicians and linguists to measure both the quantity and quality of this language input. Measures of quality, however, are much more relevant when studying the development of pragmatic language, as discussed in Zhang (2020) and Hirsh-Pasek et al. (2015). Rowe and Snow (2016) discussed three dimensions of language quality: interactive, linguistic and conceptual. There is a current gap in the literature of analyzing these language dimensions in relation to child pragmatic language use, and the current study seeks to determine which language dimension appears most frequently in parental speech, as well as which dimension or dimensions exert the most influence on child pragmatic language use. We analyzed 12 parent-child dyads, with a range of language abilities, focusing on the interactive and conceptual language dimensions. The findings of the current study have found the interactive dimension to be the more prevalent language dimension between the two dimensions in parental speech. Additionally, we found that, at school entry, parental interactive language, especially utterances that are well-timed, are associated with child pragmatic language use. Thus, parents and clinicians alike should focus on utterances that are well-timed compared to their children’s previous utterances to aid in use of pragmatic language.



Committee Chair

Schneider, Julie