Article published in:The Pragmatics of Discourse Coherence: Theories and applications
Edited by Helmut Gruber and Gisela Redeker
[Pragmatics & Beyond New Series 254] 2014
► pp. 209–242
“Why? Because I’m talking to you!” Parental input and cognitive complexity as determinants of children’s connective acquisition
We report a series of longitudinal studies on children’s acquisition of Dutch, English and German causal connectives supporting a model in which children’s cognitive development, parental input and the cognitive complexity of different types of causality are brought into a systematic relationship. The data reveal that less complex connectives are acquired first, and that parental connective input has both short- and long-term effects, although children are not simply parroting their parents. Audience design in connective input is not at stake: parents’ independent connective use is stable over time, but their elicited connective use increases as children grow older and start asking why-questions themselves. Still, parental why-questions are scaffolds of children’s connective use and of their ability to ask why-questions themselves.
Published online: 26 November 2014
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