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ERIC Number: EJ1170380
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2018-Mar
Pages: 37
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0305-0009
Who Is the Agent? The Influence of Pragmatic Leads on Children's Reference Assignment in Non-Obligatory Control
Janke, Vikki
Journal of Child Language, v45 n2 p442-478 Mar 2018
Non-obligatory control constructions (NOC) are sentences which contain a non-finite clause with a null subject whose reference is determined pragmatically. Little is known about how children assign reference to these subjects, yet this is important as our current understanding of reference-resolution development is limited to less complex sentences with overt elements, such as pronouns. This study explores how seventy-six children (aged six to eleven) consult pragmatic leads when assigning reference in two examples of NOC. Children undertook three picture-selection tasks, containing no lead, a weak lead, and a strong lead, and their reference choices in the critical sentences were monitored. The novel results pinpoint children's baseline interpretations of the ambiguous sentences and expose an age trend in the degree to which they consult strong pragmatic leads when resolving reference. These trends illustrate how reference assignment in more complex discourse-governed contexts progresses, thereby contributing an important dimension to the pragmatics acquisition literature.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A