ERIC Number: ED390530
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1995-Apr
Reference Count: N/A
"All I Want for Christmas": Language Pragmatics and Children's Letters to Santa.
Marcon, Rebecca A.; Kutsch, Kimberly B.
How children use language affects the likelihood that a request will be granted. This study explored children's requests in a natural setting, by analyzing unedited letters to Santa from 824 children (20% age 6 and under; 41% age 7 and 8; and 39% age 9 and over) in the newspapers of a southeastern metropolitan area. Letters were examined for differences in politeness and directness that could be attributed to children's age and sex. Analysis found that a surprising number of children in this sample were not polite to Santa, and no developmental progression in politeness was found. Girls did not differentiate pragmatic rules as much as boys. In general, letters written by girls were more polite than those by boys, and older children's requests were more indirect than those of younger children. However, boys appeared to adjust their language to a greater degree than did girls, especially in relationship to cost and quantity of their requests. (WP)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Politeness; Requests; Santa Claus
Note: Paper presented at the Biennial Meeting of the Society for Research in Child Development (61st, Indianapolis, IN, March 30-April 2, 1995).