Joining actions through effort sounds: mothers and infants in routine activities

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Downloads (Pure)


This paper analyses the effort sounds made by caregivers in routine interactions with very young infants. Video recordings were made of 15 mother-infant dyads in Germany during nappy changing. The multimodal analysis of the interactions revealed that these were used when performing handling actions on the infant’s body, such as dressing them or lifting them up, but also made to link to the sensations of the infant. The sounds achieved their meaning within sequences of actions and contextualised via temporality, phonetic variation and multimodality. With these vocalisations, I propose, parents can give infants’ sensations a voice, make them public, and thus achieve a co-ordination of experience.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)32-45
JournalLanguage and Communication
Early online date3 Jun 2023
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2023


  • effort sounds
  • multimodality
  • routines
  • caregiver-infant interaction
  • joint action

Cite this