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LINGUIST List 21.2802

Sun Jul 04 2010

Calls: Language Acquisition, Psycholing, Discourse Analysis/Germany

Editor for this issue: Elyssa Winzeler <elyssalinguistlist.org>


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        1.    Dagmar Bittner, Referential Expressions and Text Coherence at the Onset of School Age

Message 1: Referential Expressions and Text Coherence at the Onset of School Age
Date: 01-Jul-2010
From: Dagmar Bittner <bittnerzas.gwz-berlin.de>
Subject: Referential Expressions and Text Coherence at the Onset of School Age
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Full Title: Referential Expressions and Text Coherence at the Onset of School Age
Short Title: Referential Expressions

Date: 23-Feb-2011 - 25-Feb-2011
Location: Göttingen, Germany
Contact Person: Dagmar Bittner
Meeting Email: bittnerzas.gwz-berlin.de

Linguistic Field(s): Discourse Analysis; Language Acquisition; Psycholinguistics

Call Deadline: 01-Sep-2010

Meeting Description:

'Referential Expressions and Text Coherence at the Onset of School Age'

Organizers: Dagmar Bittner and Nadja Kühn (ZAS, Berlin)

Workshop organized as part of the Annual Conference of the German Linguistic
Society (DGfS) to be held in Goettingen, Germany, February 23-25, 2011

Call for Papers

When starting school, children are expected to produce and comprehend complex
texts. Psycholinguists, however, argue that children have not fully acquired the
target range and functions of discourse cohesive means up to the age of 8 or
even later. Considerably consistent claims have been made on when children
acquire which knowledge and capabilities. At the same time, we are faced with
great variation in the types of investigated discourse and research methods.

Considering referential expressions (RE), there is, for instance, a debate on
when and how children comprehend the discourse functions of definite vs.
indefinite noun phrases. Experimental research (e.g. Schafer & de Viliers 2000)
and studies of narrative data (e.g. Hickmann 2003) report an overuse of definite
noun phrases until the age of 7. In contrast, studies of spontaneous speech do
not report replacement of indefinite by definite noun phrases. Furthermore,
experimental and narrative studies propose that children up to age 5 do not make
anaphoric use of RE (e.g. Karmiloff-Smith 1981, 1985). According to these
studies, definite noun phrases and demonstrative pronouns are used only
deictically. This is mainly explained by deficits in theory of mind: young
children are not able to take into account perspective and knowledge of their
communication partners. Contrary to this, studies of pre-linguistic children
(Tomasello 2009, Carpenter 2009) and early spontaneous speech (Matthews et al.
2006, Bittner 2007) found that children, to some extent, build a representation
of their partner's cognitive status and interact appropriately.

Focusing on RE, the workshop aims at discussing how to integrate the different
results and perspectives with a realistic picture of children's knowledge on
means of text coherence at the onset of school time. We invite studies dealing
with production and comprehension of RE in mono- and multilingual acquisition up
to the age of 6, and especially encourage work focusing on:
- Same type(s) of RE in different types of discourse, e.g. longitudinal
vs.experimental data
- Same type(s) of RE investigated by different research methods, e.g. types of
experiments
- Consistency or change of oppositions between RE in different types of discourse.

Papers should contribute to answering the following questions:
- Which knowledge on RE do children process at which developmental stage?
- Which system of RE do they have at the onset of school age?
- What is the impact of different types of discourse (including context
situation) on the treatment of RE?
- Are there 'complexity' limits for processing the full knowledge on a RE?
- Of what type are such limits?

Bittner, D. 2007. Early functions of definite determiners and DPs in German
first language acquisition. In: Stark, E., E. Leiss & W. Abraham (eds.), Nominal
determination. Typology, context constraints and historical emergence.
Amsterdam/ Philadelphia: Benjamins, 215-240.

Carpenter, M. 2009. Just how joint is joint action in infancy? Topics in
Cognitive Science, 1, 380-392.

Hickmann, M. 2003. Children's discourse: person, space and time across
languages. Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press

Karmiloff-Smith, A. 1981. The grammatical marking of thematic structure in the
development of language production. In W. Deutsch (ed.), The child's
construction of language. London: Academic Press.

Karmiloff-Smith, A. 1985. 'Language and cognitive processes from a developmental
perspective.' Language and Cognitive Processes 1: 61-85.

Matthews, D., Lieven, E., Theakston, A., & Tomasello, M. 2006. The effect of
perceptual availability and prior discourse on young children's use of referring
expression. Applied Psycholinguistics, 27, 403-422.

Schafer, R. & J. de Villiers. 2000 Imagining Articles: What a and the can tell
us about the emergence of DP. BULD 2009. Somerville: Cascadilla press.

Tomasello, M. 2009. Why We Cooperate. Cambridge, Mas.: MIT Press

Abstracts:

Please send your abstract to one of the organizer's email address. The abstract
should not extend one single A4 page (12pt fond, single spaced, one empty line
between title and text) including references, figures etc. Please enclose an
extra page with title; name and affiliation of the authors.

Dagmar Bittner; bittnerzas.gwz-berlin.de
Nadja Kühn, kuehnzas.gwz-berlin.de
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