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The effect of perceptual availability and prior discourse on young children's use of referring expressions.

Matthews, D., Lieven, E., Theakston, A. and Tomasello, M. (2006) The effect of perceptual availability and prior discourse on young children's use of referring expressions. Applied Psycholinguistics, 27 (3). pp. 403-422. ISSN 0142-7164

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Abstract

Choosing appropriate referring expressions requires assessing whether a referent is “available” to the addressee either perceptually or through discourse. In Study 1, we found that 3- and 4-year-olds, but not 2-year-olds, chose different referring expressions (noun vs. pronoun) depending on whether their addressee could see the intended referent or not. In Study 2, in more neutral discourse contexts than previous studies, we found that 3- and 4-year-olds clearly differed in their use of referring expressions according to whether their addressee had already mentioned a referent. Moreover, 2-yearolds responded with more naming constructions when the referent had not been mentioned previously. This suggests that, despite early social–cognitive developments, (a) it takes time tomaster the given/new contrast linguistically, and (b) children understand the contrast earlier based on discourse, rather than perceptual context.

Item Type: Article
Copyright, Publisher and Additional Information: Copyright © 2006 Cambridge University Press. Uploaded with permission from the publisher.
Keywords: child; language; referential communication; referring expression; audience design; perspective taking; language learning; reference; pronoun; null argument; toddler; preschooler
Institution: The University of Sheffield
Academic Units: The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Science (Sheffield) > Department of Psychology (Sheffield)
Depositing User: Dr Danielle Matthews
Date Deposited: 04 Mar 2011 17:34
Last Modified: 05 Jun 2014 16:07
Published Version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0142716406060334
Status: Published
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Refereed: Yes
Identification Number: 10.1017/S0142716406060334
URI: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/42835

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