Pragmatic acquisition

Sandrine Zufferey

Table of contents

In order to become proficient language users, children must develop an array of abilities ranging from the understanding of non-literal language uses, the ability to produce referring expressions containing the adequate degree of information depending on their addressee’s knowledge state, the use of adequate expressions depending on social relations with their addressee, to name but a few. Traditionally, in theoretical pragmatics, these competencies have been addressed in two different trends of studies. On the one hand, studies focusing on the appropriate use of language depending on social relations between speaker and hearer, that investigate phenomena such as politeness. On the other hand, studies aiming at explaining how hearers enrich the linguistically-encoded meaning of sentences to access the speaker’s meaning, that focus on phenomena such as reference resolution and implicatures.

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