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ERIC Number: ED524767
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2010
Pages: 164
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
ISBN: ISBN-978-1-1244-5164-0
Children's Development of Knowledge and Beliefs about English Like(s)
Odato, Christopher V.
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, University of Michigan
Much recent research has described the development of innovative functions of "like" as a discourse marker ("'Like' they're trying to be discreet about it") or discourse particle ("Maybe it's 'like' a girl thing") and as a quotative marker ("He's 'like' 'I don't want to work until later'"). Comparatively little is known about how speakers acquire this variable. This dissertation consists of two studies examining young children's use of, and knowledge and beliefs about, "like" to better understand how it is incorporated into maturing linguistic systems. The first study examines children's use of "like" in spontaneous speech. Data come from recorded interactions between pairs of children ages 3-6 and 10. Children as young as four used "like" as a discourse marker/particle and as a quotative. Rather than mirroring adults' speech, in which the "like" is used most frequently clause-initially, young children used "like" primarily as a discourse particle attached to syntactic constituents smaller than the sentence. Children began using "like" in different syntactic positions in the historical order in which "like" began to be used in those positions. The second study comprises two experiments assessing children's knowledge of grammatical constraints on "like" and social beliefs about "like." Fifty-seven children ages 5-10 listened to sentences containing a use of "like" that is observed in adults' speech, "like" in a position from which it is categorically absent in adults' speech, or no "like" at all. In Task 1 participants made acceptability judgments; in Task 2 they decided whether sentences were more likely produced by a female or male speaker. Children of all ages exhibited awareness of grammatical constraints on "like." Older children, particularly girls, demonstrated a prescriptive stance toward "like." Nine- and ten-year-olds attributed sentences to a female speaker more frequently if they contained "like." The results are evidence for early acquisition of "like." Knowledge of constraints on grammatical distribution is evident at age five, and may precede the use of "like" in discourse. Social beliefs develop later in childhood, suggesting that "like" is acquired early as part of children's knowledge of syntax and discourse structure, and social meanings attached later on. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
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Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A