Children’s language use in ECEC in a child perspective

Annegrethe Ahrenkiel*, Lars Holm, Laura Østergaard Eilenberg

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review


With inspiration from research in linguistic ethnography and children’s perspectives, this article examines children’s language use in Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) in a child perspective. The article is based on ethnographic fieldwork including video recordings from four children’s entire days in a Danish day care centre. A multimodal analysis of an extended play sequence demonstrates how children’s interactional language use is a creative and collective process that provides multiple opportunities to use and develop language practices, where children constantly align with each other to continue their common endeavours. The findings point to a need for broadening the conceptual understanding of language and of children’s language learning as an integral part of children’s everyday life in ECEC.

Original languageEnglish
JournalEthnography and Education
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)420-436
Number of pages17
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Children’s language use
  • children’s perspectives
  • language development
  • linguistic ethnography
  • multimodality

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