Talking to children with atypical development: a study on the practice of asking ‘Are you going to’ questions

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


Interactional studies of children with language impairments and their habitual interlocutors are key to understanding reciprocal adaptations in communication. The chapter is based on video recorded observations of three families at home, each with a child with Down Syndrome of approximately 6 years of age. The analysis focuses on the parental practice of asking the children ‘Are you going to’ questions. The results document two main uses: ‘request for information’ and ‘action solicit’. The analysis suggests that using the question as action solicit may hamper children’s comprehension and undermine their agency. A comparison with other action solicits and relative frequencies of use suggests family styles that either privilege a Requester’s Perspective or the Child’s Perspective. It is argued that, by privileging the Child’s Perspective, parents limit the imposition on children but subtract potential for normative and epistemic socialisation, as well as opportunities for the child to display their collaboration.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationLanguage and Social Interaction at Home and School
EditorsLetizia Caronia
PublisherJohn Benjamins Publishing Company
Number of pages32
ISBN (Electronic)9789027259011
ISBN (Print)9789027209481
Publication statusPublished - 15 Nov 2021

Publication series

NameDialogue Studies
PublisherJohn Benjamins Publishing Company
ISSN (Electronic)1875-1792


  • conversation analysis
  • atypical interaction
  • children with Down syndrome
  • action formation
  • 'are you going to' questions
  • action solicits
  • directives


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