ERIC Number: ED249777
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1984-Sep
Reference Count: N/A
Integration of Information during Language Comprehension: A Developmental Study.
Tyler, Lorraine K.
An experiment was undertaken with young children to look at the relative contribution of discourse constraints, subject anaphors, and the semantics of verbs to the integration of an utterance into its discourse representation. Children aged 5, 7, and 10 years heard a series of short stories, each consisting of three sentences and an incomplete fragment which the children had to continue with a few words indicating which of two story protagonists was being referred to. It was found that: (1) thematic subject constraint is not as dominant for the youngest children (5 and 7 years) as was expected based on earlier research; and (2) concerning the importance of evaluating protagonists with respect to the pragmatic implications of the verb, when the verb conflicts with other sources of information, it usually dominates. Children either respond with the protagonist which is appropriate for the verb or resolve the potential conflict by introducing a new entity. The verb seems to be a primary source of mapping between utterance and discourse from at least 5 years of age. The findings illustrate the flexible interaction of different sources of processing information and the importance of pragmatic inference even for the youngest children, and what seems to change developmentally is the balance between different sources of information. (MSE)
Descriptors: Child Language, Language Acquisition, Linguistic Competence, Listening Comprehension, Pronouns, Syntax, Verbs, Young Children
PRCLD, Department of Linguistics, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305 ($12.00 for entire volume; individual papers not available).
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Stanford Univ., CA. Dept. of Linguistics.