ERIC Number: ED224600
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1982-Nov
Reference Count: N/A
Language in the Classroom: Metapragmatic Knowledge of School-Age Children. Wisconsin Center for Education Research Program Report 83-2.
Wilkinson, Louise Cherry; And Others
The specific aim of the present study is to examine children's metalinguistic awareness of one aspect of pragmatics: the request function. This function was selected for study because it is one of the earliest language functions to appear and because it has been the object of both theoretical and empirical research. Fourteen normal English-speaking middle-class Caucasian children 5 to 8 years of age participated in the study. Each child was tested individually at home by one female experimenter. Children's metapragmatic knowledge of the request function was explored with three tasks concerning production, comprehension, and reflection. The metaproduction task involved a role-playing activity with dolls in which requests were elicited in an imaginary classroom. The metacomprehension task involved eliciting judgments of the appropriateness of requests in hypothetical classroom situations. The reflection task consisted of an open-ended interview which provided subjects an opportunity to talk about the use of requests in the classroom. Results showed effects for age of child and type of request. In comparison with younger children, older children were more likely to produce indirect requests, judge a request as inappropriate in a particular classroom situation, and refer to pragmatic violation as the basis for judgment. Requests for action were found to take indirect forms, while requests for information more often took direct forms. (Author/RH)
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: National Inst. of Education (ED), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: Wisconsin Center for Education Research, Madison.