ERIC Number: ED209935
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1981-Nov
Reference Count: 0
Children's Assignment of Acoustic Stress in Referential Communication.
The question of whether children's accentuation strategies are determined by the linguistically established context was studied. A second investigation determined whether the difference between distinctive and nondistinctive information is marked by the speaker's accentuation, focusing the listener's attention upon the crucial information. In the first study, 9 adults and 30 three- to six-year-old German children produced descriptions of sets of four objects. Children did not use accentuation to mark information that was crucial for the listener to differentiate the target from all other relevant alternatives. Children's accentuation was dependent on what had previously been said, but not on the distinctiveness of the information with regard to the context of referential alternatives. The second study asked the question of whether distinctive, as opposed to nondistinctive, information is systematically stressed when there is no distinction present between given and new information. Accentuation of one of two modifiers was found to be exclusively dependent upon its syntactic position, irrespective of whether it was distinctive or nondistinctive information. Neither experiment supported the assumption that children or adults use accentuation to mark that information that is crucial for the listener's identification of the referent. (SW)
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Stanford Univ., CA. Dept. of Linguistics.
Note: In its Papers and Reports on Child Language Development, Number 20, p100-107, Nov 1981.