Bus talk: A preliminary analysis of children's decontextualized talk

Christine A. Marvin, Keely D. Cline

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Decontextualized conversational talk has been recognized as an important foundation for young children's early literacy and academic success. In this study, the authors explore the tape-recorded conversations of 15 typically developing preschool-age children. The children's talk was recorded as they traveled home from preschool on a school bus with classmates who had developmental delays. Two days of travel conversations were analyzed for evidence of initiations, responses, and the time referents used. References to decontextualized topics were heard infrequently but heard in initiations and responses with adults and classmates, as well as in the children's self-talk. References to the here and now (present tense) were common during the children's 5 to 20 minutes of bus travel. The need for an attentive, competent partner in supporting young children's use of decontextualized talk is discussed along with suggestions for adults who travel on buses with young children who are still developing language and conversational skills.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)170-182
Number of pages13
JournalCommunication Disorders Quarterly
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2010


  • acquisition
  • communication
  • decontextual
  • environments
  • preschool

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Linguistics and Language
  • Speech and Hearing


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