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Revitalizing Endangered Languages

Edited by Justyna Olko & Julia Sallabank

Revitalizing Endangered Languages "This guidebook provides ideas and strategies, as well as some background, to help with the effective revitalization of endangered languages. It covers a broad scope of themes including effective planning, benefits, wellbeing, economic aspects, attitudes and ideologies."

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Dissertation Information

Title: Use of Referring Expressions by Autistic Children in Spontaneous Conversations: Does impaired metarepresentational ability affect reference production? Add Dissertation
Author: Mark Wicklund Update Dissertation
Email: click here to access email
Institution: University of Minnesota at Twin Cities, Linguistics
Completed in: 2012
Linguistic Subfield(s): Pragmatics; Psycholinguistics; Text/Corpus Linguistics; Cognitive Science;
Director(s): Jeanette Gundel

Abstract: References that speakers make can include both conceptual information,
which contributes to explicatures, and procedural information, which
constrains explicatures (Wilson & Sperber 1993). The current study compares
the references made by autistic and typically developing children in
naturally occurring conversational settings, with an understanding of
pronouns and determiners (following Gundel et al. 1993) as procedural
markers of an intended referent's cognitive status in the minds of
listeners. The result is an exploration of how the metarepresentational
impairment associated with autism affects procedural and conceptual aspects
of reference production in an unstructured context that many researchers
recommend to better observe how autistic children handle the pragmatic
challenges presented in everyday life.

Results support a hypothesis that most day-to-day uses of pronouns and
determiners do not involve metarepresentational consideration of the mental
states of one’s listeners. However, analysis of references to entities
judged to be in the current focus of listener attention suggests that
autistic children are impaired in recognizing what information regarding
cognitive status and conceptual content listeners require. Possible
explanations are considered, including: impaired metarepresentational
mindreading ability limits appreciation of listener needs; early joint
attention impairment interferes with recognition of references as
intentional acts and subsequent acquisition of pronouns and determiners as
procedural markers of referent cognitive status; and as a connectivity
disorder, impairment in autism is most manifest when the need for
high-level integrative processing is greatest. Monitoring relevant
reference information in unstructured social situations strains the
integrative processing ability of autistic children, resulting in
tendencies toward over- and underspecification.