Referential cohesion in Swedish preschool children's narrativesLindgren, J. & Vogels, J., Aug-2018, In : Journal of Pragmatics. 133, p. 45-62 18 p.
Research output: Contribution to journal › Article › Academic › peer-review
Referential cohesion is an important part of discourse, as speakers use referring expressions to glue utterances together. Choosing an appropriate expression requires the speaker to continuously keep track of the salience of referents in the discourse. Because this is cognitively challenging, children are expected to have problems creating referential cohesion. Yet, research has also shown that young children are sensitive to discourse factors in choosing referring expressions. To shed more light on how and when children learn to use referential expressions to create a cohesive discourse, we analyzed oral narratives by monolingual Swedish-speaking children aged 4;0–6;10, elicited with the Multilingual Assessment Instrument for Narratives (MAIN). We hypothesized that children would base their choice of referring expressions to a large extent on discourse factors for which no detailed mental model of the discourse is required, such as animacy. Our results show that the children indeed relied heavily on animacy as a cue for pronominalization. At the same time, they were sensitive to fine-grained levels of local discourse salience. We propose that, like adults, children use a combination of global and local discourse factors for choosing referring expressions, but that the relative weights of these factors may vary with cognitive capacity.
|Number of pages||18|
|Journal||Journal of Pragmatics|
|Publication status||Published - Aug-2018|
- Swedish, REFERRING EXPRESSIONS, DISCOURSE, CHARACTER, ATTENTION, LANGUAGE; ENGLISH, ACQUISITION, PRONOUNS, CHOICE