chapter  3
14 Pages

Communicating in a different game

From their day of birth, infants become part of a social milieu through conversational processes. From the very start, caregivers treat their infants as if their behavior meant something and the infants can understand-even if only in a very primitive way. Caregivers normally don't just silently pick up their young infant and hold her/him, they murmur words like "There, there." They also continually offer labels for behavior like "Oh, are you feeling hungry little one? Do you want some milk?" Usually, these labels imply intentions on the part of the infant, like "Oh you really just wanted a cuddle, didn't you?" Even when caregivers are not making coherent utterances they spend their interactional time with their infants uttering nonsense words and phrases setting up all the basic interactional processes for the infants to fit into.