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Language Planning as a Sociolinguistic Experiment

By: Ernst Jahr

Provides richly detailed insight into the uniqueness of the Norwegian language development. Marks the 200th anniversary of the birth of the Norwegian nation following centuries of Danish rule


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Acquiring Phonology: A Cross-Generational Case-Study

By Neil Smith

The study also highlights the constructs of current linguistic theory, arguing for distinctive features and the notion 'onset' and against some of the claims of Optimality Theory and Usage-based accounts.


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Language Production and Interpretation: Linguistics meets Cognition

By Henk Zeevat

The importance of Henk Zeevat's new monograph cannot be overstated. [...] I recommend it to anyone who combines interests in language, logic, and computation [...]. David Beaver, University of Texas at Austin


Academic Paper


Title: 'Young children''s sensitivity to listener knowledge and perceptual context in choosing referring expressions'
Author: AngelikaWittek
Institution: 'Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology'
Author: MichaelTomasello
Institution: 'Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology'
Linguistic Field: 'Language Acquisition; Psycholinguistics'
Abstract: Speakers use different types of referring expressions depending on what the listener knows or is attending to; for example, they use pronouns for objects that are already present in the immediate discourse or perceptual context. In a first study we found that 2.5- and 3.5-year-old children are strongly influenced by their interlocutor's knowledge of a referent as expressed in her immediately preceding utterance. Specifically, when they are asked a question about a target object ("Where is the broom?"), they tend to use null references or pronouns to refer to that object ("On the shelf" or "It's on the shelf"); in contrast, when they are asked more general questions ("What do we need?") or contrast questions ("Do we need a mop?") that reveal no knowledge of the target object they tend to use lexical nouns ("A broom" or "No, a broom"). In a second study we found that children at around their second birthday are not influenced by immediately preceding utterances in this same way. Finally, in a third study we found that 2.5- and 3.5-year-old children's choice of referring expressions is very little influenced by the physical arrangements of objects in the perceptual context, whether it is absent or needs to be distinguished from a close-by alternative, when they request a target object from a silent adult. These results are discussed in terms of children's emerging understanding of the knowledge and attentional states and other persons.

CUP at LINGUIST

This article appears in Applied Psycholinguistics Vol. 26, Issue 4, which you can read on Cambridge's site or on LINGUIST .



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