ERIC Number: ED248980
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1984
Reference Count: 0
The Development of the Abilities to Interpret Requests with Bossy and Nice Nuances.
Becker, Judith A.
Two experiments were conducted on the development of the ability to interpret bossy/dominant and nice/submissive nuances in requests. Syntactic directness, semantic softeners and aggravators, and tone were hypothesized to be cues for relative bossiness and niceness because these characteristics are varied predictably with listeners of different statuses. In the first experiment, 32 preschoolers determined which request was bossier for 8 pairs contrasting syntactic directness, semantic softeners, or tone. In the second experiment, 60 subjects (5- and 10-year-olds and adults) heard 45 requests with combinations of different levels of syntactic directness, semantic softeners and aggravators, tone, and speaker status. In both experiments, subjects systematically used characteristics of requests as cues. It was found that preschoolers have the rudimentary ability to identify nuances in requests and that children are able to take into account more linguistic factors and integrate them in increasingly complex ways as they get older. This pragmatic skill was seen as having implications for social competence. (Author/RH)
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Developmental Patterns; Requests
Note: For earlier version of this document, see ED 230 282.