Mothers are an important part of children’s language environments, and are assumed to play a role in their children’s language development. This exploratory study investigates the maternal responses in groups of children with and without language impairments, especially related to the intelligibility and errors in the child utterances. Analyses of child-mother sequences indicate that the mothers of children with normal language and children with suspected or diagnosed language disorders show the similar patterns of responses. Mothers of children with a suspected or diagnosed language disorder, however, interpret and ask clarifying questions to preceding child utterances more often than what mothers of children with typical language do. The tendencies for group variations are related to unintelligible child utterances. It is argued that facilitating maternal responses naturally occur in all dyads, and that this is interdependent on the different language productions of their children.
Keywords: language delay, maternal responses and sequential analyses.