chapter  11
Counting in context: Studying children’s everyday talk by combining numbers and words
ByDouglas E. Sperry, Linda L. Sperry
Pages 19

Words are pervasive in every child’s life. Parents use them to play with, teach and protect their children. The importance of the acquisition of language extends far beyond that of other accomplishments in the lifespan of a child, for the achievement of language brings along with it the ability to be a fully functioning member of one’s culture. Language provides the means through which culture is transmitted from one generation to the next as the actions and meanings of community members are reproduced in the language they use in their daily interactions with each other (Bourdieu, 1977). In this chapter, we examine one approach to the study of how these meanings are conveyed from caregiver to child through language, an approach grounded in ethnographic methods but reliant on detailed quantitative analyses, in addition to the qualitative analyses typically employed in ethnographic studies (see Chapter 7 for a detailed discussion of using ethnographic studies with children).