Note: This is the re-issue of a previously published book.
The book presents a series of studies that probe young children's knowledge
of a relatively well-defined, abstract semantic realm, that of definite and
indefinite reference. Topics investigated include children's knowledge of
the difference between referring to particular objects (e.g. I have a dog,
which refers to a particular dog) and no particular objects at all (e.g. I
don't have a dog, which makes reference to no particular dog) and their
knowledge of how to account for the knowledge of their listeners in
situations, e.g. in which they have in mind a particular reference but
their listen does not. Because overlapping problems are investigated by a
wide variety of methods, it is possible to verify more certainly the true
level of children's performance. At the same time, the investigation by
many methods illustrates how methodological problems may systematically
affect and at times even distort our picture of development if not
carefully allowed for.