This classic psychological case study focuses on one talkative child’s emerging ability to use language, her capacity for understanding, for imagining, and for making inferences and solving problems. In wide-ranging essays, scholars offer multifaceted linguistic and psychological analyses of two-year-old Emily’s bedtime conversations with her parents and pre-sleep monologues, taped over a fifteen-month period. In a foreword written for this new edition, Emily, now an adult, reflects on the experience of having been a research subject without knowing it.
This book is intriguing for several reasons... In the present collection, full advantage has been taken of the richness of the source material through analyses carried out by researchers who have widely differing interests: cognitive, linguistic, social, psychoanalytic... I would recommend Narratives from the Crib to anyone interested in the study of early development in the related areas of language and cognition.
In this volume, Nelson has delivered an outstanding set of case studies and commentaries concerning the genesis of human language and thought. But because she has drawn her case students from a broad array of contemporary outlooks and modes of thinking concerning the realm of human phenomenology, hers is far more than a book about the structures and dynamics of speech and language. It is one that demonstrates, simply, the power of thought (admittedly, in these instances, the highly sophisticated thought of some very powerful thinkers—individuals no less luminous or further removed from the past excesses of case study than the likes of Jerome Bruner, John Dore, Daniel Stern, and, of course, Nelson herself) to elucidate the realm of human phenomenology in its early verbalized phases and forms... Narratives from the Crib is an absorbing, instructive, and richly stimulating assembly of commentaries on early childhood self-expression. It is instructive also with regard to how case studies ought to be made and rendered in relation to topics that are of scientific importance... The reader will encounter cleanly and compactly reasoned essays on the dynamics and meaning-generating communications of a loquacious and endearing toddler by authors who for the most part seem to ask more that our thinking be challenged than that theirs be simply received.
Narratives from the Crib is an intriguing collection of chapters concerning one child's talk to herself in her crib before sleep... The chapters in this book provide a mirror on how one child views her world and how that view develops... The chapters of this book provide important theoretical groundwork and point toward important issues that stringent experimental investigations should address.
In Narratives from the Crib Katherine Nelson brings us a...complex and extensive set of data with sophisticated analyses of a single child's monologues... With the changes in American linguistics over the past quarter century and the growth of child language acquisition studies, there is little that is peripheral and much that is fascinating about these analyses of Emily's language development... Narratives from the Crib reopens the window on the fascinating private speech of a child, influenced but not controlled by parental actions and dialogue—a window first opened almost thirty years ago by Ruth Weir, but now revealing unexpected complexities in language development. Whether or not we hear more about Emily in the future, young children's narratives should move from the periphery toward the center of child language acquisition studies as the result of Nelson's important volume.
In Narratives from the Crib, a group of developmental psychologists organized by Katherine Nelson offers nine enlightening and lively construals of crib speech. Each takes as a data base the same 122 monologues of Emily, a precocious 2-year-old whose naptime or nighttime solitary speechifying was surreptitiously tape-recorded by her parents over a yearlong period... These essays offer keen insights into the 'inner life' of a child and qualify as a most fascinating and sophisticated set of reflections and speculations on a very common, very rich psychological phenomenon of early childhood.
Narratives from the Crib goes beyond a simple description of language development. It provides the reader with diverse but integrated examinations of Emily's cognitive, linguistic, and social development. Furthermore, this book supports the social-interaction theory by presenting detailed analyses of the young child's developing mind in terms of language, narrative, and thought.
- 368 pages
- 0-7/8 x 6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches
- Harvard University Press
- Foreword by Emily Oster
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