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Conference Information

Full Title: Acquisition of Referring Expressions: Crossed Perspectives

Short Title: AEREF2013
Location: Paris, France
Start Date: 25-Oct-2013 - 26-Oct-2013
Contact: Anne Salazar Orvig; Marine le Mené
Meeting Email: click here to access email
Meeting URL:
Meeting Description: The conference focuses on the acquisition of pronouns and determiners as a key process in children’s linguistic and communicative development. The gradual mastery of these grammatical units marks children’s entry into grammar and provides evidence of their first attempts to construct discourse, participate in verbal interaction, and take their interlocutor’s knowledge and point of view into account.

Pronouns and determiners are thus at the interface of the structural (systems, forms, structures) and functional (pragmatics, discourse, dialogue) dimensions of language. Analyzing these devices can offer important clarifications regarding the relationships between different levels of language structure and use.

A large body of research on pronouns and determiners, both as grammatical morphemes and as referring expressions, has been conducted in the past few years. These studies have explored some of the stages and modalities in the development of various paradigms (fillers, distribution, mastery of an abstract grammatical category, etc.) and have underlined the linguistic factors involved in their development, such as the semantic, phonetic or prosodic dimensions.

The first studies on reference looked mainly at narratives or experimental situations. They showed how children’s use of language develops very gradually before becoming adult-like. Other studies dealing mostly with children’s productions in dialogues and in natural contexts investigated the conditions under which referring expressions are first employed. They demonstrated the impact of factors such as the accessibility of the referent and its occurrence in previous discourse. Other interesting aspects studied so far include the links between referring expressions, joint attention and gestures or cognitive development. Referring expressions have also been approached in relation to the type of discourse, dialogue, or activity being carried out, in a variety of contexts.

Results of these series of studies suggest that determiners and pronouns need to be examined in connection with each of these dimensions jointly. This approach could help fuel a more general discussion of the acquisition of grammar and grammatical categories, and can contribute to the debate on its theoretical underpinnings.

The aim of the conference ‘Acquisition of Referring Expressions: Crossed Perspectives’ is to promote scientific encounters and discussions between researchers who work on these issues in different fields and from different theoretical perspectives. We hope to initiate a debate about topics like the interaction between linguistic levels, statistical and distributional factors in usage and input, cognitive and socio-cognitive development, and dialogue and pragmatic-discursive factors, and thereby enrich our knowledge of the processes underlying language acquisition in general.

The conference will combine:

- plenary sessions;
- oral presentations (20 minutes followed by 10 minutes for discussion). It is also possible to organize panels of 4 presentations;
- poster presentations.

The conference languages will be French and English.

Organizing Committee:

Anne Salazar Orvig, Annie Rialland, Rouba Hassan, Geneviève de Weck, Aliyah Morgenstern, Haydée Marcos, Jocelyne Leber-Marin, Gwendoline Fox, Julien Heurdier, Stéphane Jullien, Marine Le Mené, Christine da Silva, Elise Vinel, Naomi Yamaguchi

Université Sorbonne Nouvelle Paris 3
Université Charles de Gaulle, Lille 3
Université de Neuchâtel
Linguistic Subfield: Cognitive Science; Language Acquisition; Psycholinguistics
LL Issue: 24.2852

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