eesti teaduste
akadeemia kirjastus
SINCE 1997
TRAMES cover
TRAMES. A Journal of the Humanities and Social Sciences
ISSN 1736-7514 (Electronic)
ISSN 1406-0922 (Print)
Impact Factor (2020): 0.5


Full article in PDF format |

Tiia Tulviste


The societal changes in Estonia have altered the beliefs and values related to childrearing in the direction of stressing more autonomy and self-direction in children. This study addresses the question if and to what extent the amount of talk and communicative intents of Estonian mothers have changed over time period of approximately 25 years. With this aim, we compared mothers’ interactions with two-year-old children in years 1992, 2000, and 2017. The results show that mothers have become less directive during puzzle solving but not at meals. Mothers’ interaction with children has not changed in respect of the amount of talk produced by mothers and children. Moreover, the study demonstrated that mothers’ conversational style, as well as changes in it over time, depends largely on interactional context.


Bornstein, Marc H., Joseph Tal, and Catherine S. Tamis-LeMonda (1991) “Parenting in cross-cultural perspective: the United States, France, and Japan”. In Marc H. Bornstein, ed. Cultural approaches to parenting, 69-90. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.

Chapman, Robin S. (2000) “Children’s language learning: an interactionist perspective”. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry 41, 33–54.

Demuth, Carolin (2015) “Mother-child communication: cultural differences”. In James D. Wright, ed. International encyclopedia of the social & behavioral sciences. Vol.15, 874–880. Amsterdam: Elsevier.

Fernald, Anne, Virginia A. Marchman, and Adriana Weisleder (2013) “SES differences in language processing skill and vocabulary are evident at 18 months”. Developmental Science 16, 234–248.

Halle, Tamara and Marilyn Shatz (1994) “Mothers’ social regulatory language to young children in family settings”. First Language 14, 83–104.

Hart, Betty and Todd R. Risley (1995) Meaningful differences in the everyday experience of young American children. Baltimore, MD: Brookes.

Heath, Shirley B. (1983) Ways with words: language, life and work in communities and classrooms. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Hoff, Erika (2006) “How social contexts support and shape language development”. Developmental Review 26, 55–88.

Hoff, Erika, Brett Laursen, and Twila Tardif (2002) “Socioeconomic status and parenting”. In Marc H. Bornstein, ed. Handbook of parenting, 231–252. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.

Hoff-Ginsberg, Erika (1991) “Mother-child conversation in different social classes and communicative settings”. Child Development 62, 782–796.

Huttenlocher, Janellen, Wendy Haight, Anthony Bryk, Michael Seltzer, and Thomas Lyons (1991) “Early vocabulary growth: relation to language input and gender”. Developmental Psychology 27, 236–48.

Inglehart, Ronald, Christian Haerpfer, Alejandro Moreno, Christian Welzel, Kseniya Kizilova, Jaime Diez-Medrano, Marta Lagos, Pippa Norris, Eduard Ponarin, Bi Puranen, et al., eds. (2014)World values survey: round six – country-pooled datafile version. Madrid: JD Systems Institute.

Junefelt, Karin and Tiia Tulviste (1997) “Regulation and praise in American, Estonian, and Swedish mother-child interaction”. Mind, Culture, and Activity: An International Journal 4, 24–33.

Kagitçibaşi, Çiğdem (2005) “Autonomy and relatedness in cultural context: implications for self and family”. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology 36, 403–422.

McDonald, Lynda and Diana Pien (1982) “Mother conversational behavior as a function of interactional intent”. Journal of Child Language 9, 337–58.

Masur, Elise Frank, Valerie Flynn, and Doreen L. Eichorst (2005) “Maternal responsive and directive behaviors and utterances as predictors of children’s lexical development”. Journal of Child Language 32, 63–91.

Schieffelin, Bambi B. and Elinor Ochs, eds. (1986) Language socialization across cultures. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Rowe, Meredith L. (2012) “A longitudinal investigation of the role of quantity and quality of child-directed speech in vocabulary development”. Child Development 83, 1762–1774.

Snow, Catherine E., and Charles A. Ferguson, eds. (1977) Talking to children: language input and acquisition. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Tulviste, Tiia (2003) “Contextual variability in interactions between mothers and 2-year-olds”. First Language 23, 311–325.

Tulviste, Tiia (2004) “Socio-cultural variation in mothers’ control over children’s behavior”. Ethos 32, 34–50.

Tulviste, Tiia and Maaret Ahtonen (2007) “Child-rearing values of Estonian and Finnish mothers and fathers”. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology 38, 137–155.

Tulviste, Tiia and Kenn Konstabel (2017) “People’s age affects what qualities they value in children: a comparison of ethnic Estonians and Russian-speaking minority across time”. Trames, 21, 4, 299–312.

Tulviste, Tiia and Margit Raudsepp (1997) “The conversational style of Estonian mothers”. First Language 17, 151–163.

Tulviste, Tiia, Luule Mizera, and Boel De Geer (2012) “Socialization values in stable and changing societies: a comparative study of Estonian, Swedish, and Russian Estonian mothers”. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology 43, 480–497.

Tulviste, Tiia, Luule Mizera, Boel De Geer, and Marja-Terttu Tryggvason (2003) “A silent Finn, a silent Finno-Ugric, or a silent Nordic? A comparative study of Estonian, Finnish and Swedish mother-adolescent interactions”. Applied Psycholinguistics 24, 249–265.

Tulviste, Tiia, Pirko Tõugu, Heidi Keller, Lisa Schröder, and Boel De Geer (2016) “Children’s and mothers’ contribution to joint reminiscing in different sociocultural contexts: who speaks and what is said”. Infant and Child Development 25, 43–63.

Vibbert, Martha and Marc H. Bornstein, (1989) “Specific associations between domains of mother–child interaction and toddler referential language and pretense play”. Infant Behavior and Development 12, 163–184.

Weizman, Zehava Oz and Catherine E. Snow (2001) “Lexical input as related to children’s vocabulary acquisition: effects of sophisticated exposure and support for meaning”. Developmental Psychology 37, 265–279.

Yont, Kristine M., Catherine E Snow, and Lynne Vernon-Feagans (2003) “The role of context in mother–child interactions: an analysis of communicative intents expressed during toy play and book reading with 12-month-olds”. Journal of Pragmatics 35, 435–454.

Zhou Chan, Wai Ying Vivien Yiu, Michael Shengtao Wu, and Patricia M. Greenfield (2018) Perception of cross-generational differences in child behavior and parent socialization: a mixed-method interview study with grandmothers in China”. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology 49, 62–81

Back to Issue