ERIC Number: ED204023
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1981-Apr
Reference Count: 0
Children's Comprehension of Conversationally Implied Meanings.
Kotsonis, Miriam E.
The ability of kindergarten, second and fourth grade children (N=90) to interpret meanings related to two categories of conversational implicature, bridges and flouts, was investigated. Bridges and flouts are types of indirect reply to a speaker's utterances that require a hearer to infer the reply's relevance to the preceeding conversation. Each child was told that he or she would hear short stories on tape about grownups. In each story, one person would ask the other whether he or she liked something. Answers given were either explicit or were implicit in the form of bridges or flouts. The child's task was to decide whether the second person liked or disliked the thing he or she had been asked about. Each child heard 20 test items of which four were explicit, eight were bridges, and eight were flouts. Items of each type were evenly divided in terms of whether the speaker did or did not like the topic under discussion. Dependent measures were the adequacy of children's interpretations and response latency. Results indicated (1) increasing accuracy of judgments with age; (2) a sequence of increasing difficulty in interpreting explicit replies through bridges to flouts for all ages; (3) an age by utterance type interaction with older children who were more competent on the more difficult forms than were younger children; and (4) increases in response latency scores by difficulty of utterance type but not by age, suggesting that all the children recognized the implicit items, particularly flouts, as departing from their expectations. (Author/RH)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Indirect Speech; Inference Skills
Note: Paper presented at the Biennial Meeting of the Society for Research in Child Development (Boston, MA, April 2-5, 1981).