Edited by Anne Salazar-Orvig, Geneviève de Weck, Rouba Hassan and Annie Rialland
[Trends in Language Acquisition Research 28] 2021
► pp. 320–345
This last chapter undertakes a general discussion of the results presented in Chapters 2 to 10. After recalling the overall distribution of referring expressions in the data of toddlers (age 1;7 to 2;6) and older children (age 3;6 to 7;5), we review the impact of formal factors (syntactic functions, lexicon, constructions), discourse-pragmatic factors (the referent type and its status in the discourse) and socio-discursive and dialogical factors (activity, speech genre, social and interactional setting and dialogue) on the use of referring expressions. More than each factor taken separately, their interaction accounted for the children’s and the adult’s uses of these expressions. Moreover, both the child and adult uses were strongly determined by the socio-discursive and dialogical context. These results thus appear to offer a consistent set of arguments in favor of a dialogical account of the process whereby children acquire and use referring expressions, one that should not only consider forms and cognitive development but also the way children experience forms in various meaningful and dialogical contexts.