Skip to ContentSkip to Navigation
OnderzoekOnderzoek Faculteit der LetterenOnderzoeksinstitutenCenter for Language and Cognition

Extra! Linguistics colloquium: Josefin Lindgren (Uppsala University)

Wanneer:do 15-02-2018 12:00 - 12:45
Waar:Harmonie 13.15.0042

Introducing and referring back to story characters in mono- and bilingual Swedish-speaking children’s narratives

Introducing and referring back to referents in discourse in a way that is understandable to the listener is important for adequate communication. It is not yet clear at which age children are able to introduce and refer back to referents appropriately; different ages have been reported in the literature. A number of factors such as discourse/task type, stimulus material, elicitation procedure and language structure has been offered as explanations for the different results. In addition, little is known about when Swedish-speaking children learn to use appropriate reference.

In this talk, I summarize and discuss findings from four recent studies on Swedish-speaking children’s ability to introduce and refer back to characters in fictional narratives. In Study 1, effects of age and stimulus material on the character introductions of monolingual Swedish 4–6-year-olds were analyzed. Study 2 dealt with anaphoric reference in the same children with a focus on effects of age, animacy, and topicality. Study 3 compared the character introductions of monolinguals to Swedish-German and Swedish-Turkish bilinguals. Finally, in Study 4, we analyzed Swedish-German bilinguals’ performance on comparable tasks in their two languages.   

These studies show that the stimulus material used and the child’s language background, influence the extent to which children are able to use appropriate referential forms at a certain age. Additionally, there were clear age effects for introductions but less so for reintroduction/maintenance.