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3-year-old children make relevance inferences in indirect verbal communication


Schulze, Cornelia; Grassmann, Susanne; Tomasello, Michael (2013). 3-year-old children make relevance inferences in indirect verbal communication. Child Development, 84(6):2079-2093.

Abstract

Three studies investigated 3-year-old children's ability to determine a speaker's communicative intent when the speaker's overt utterance related to that intent only indirectly. Studies 1 and 2 examined children's comprehension of indirectly stated requests (e.g., “I find Xs good” can imply, in context, a request for X; N = 32). Study 3 investigated 3- and 4-year-old children's and adults' (N = 52) comprehension of the implications of a speaker responding to an offer by mentioning an action's fulfilled or unfulfilled precondition (e.g., responding to an offer of cereal by stating that we have no milk implies rejection of the cereal). In all studies, 3-year-old children were able to make the relevance inference necessary to integrate utterances meaningfully into the ongoing context.

Abstract

Three studies investigated 3-year-old children's ability to determine a speaker's communicative intent when the speaker's overt utterance related to that intent only indirectly. Studies 1 and 2 examined children's comprehension of indirectly stated requests (e.g., “I find Xs good” can imply, in context, a request for X; N = 32). Study 3 investigated 3- and 4-year-old children's and adults' (N = 52) comprehension of the implications of a speaker responding to an offer by mentioning an action's fulfilled or unfulfilled precondition (e.g., responding to an offer of cereal by stating that we have no milk implies rejection of the cereal). In all studies, 3-year-old children were able to make the relevance inference necessary to integrate utterances meaningfully into the ongoing context.

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7 citations in Web of Science®
8 citations in Scopus®
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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Psychology
Dewey Decimal Classification:150 Psychology
Language:English
Date:2013
Deposited On:15 Jan 2015 12:03
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 18:50
Publisher:Wiley-Blackwell Publishing, Inc.
ISSN:0009-3920
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1111/cdev.12093
PubMed ID:23550944

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