Self- and other-repairs in child–adult interaction at the intersection of pragmatic abilities and language acquisition

Abstract : Children's language acquisition develops at the crossroads of the appropriation of the linguistic system and its use in dialogue. Analyzing how children and adults cooperate to overcome production or comprehension troubles in repair sequences can help us understand those interesting moments when the interdependence of ‘language’ and ‘speech’ in interaction is brought to light. These sequences also reflect the mutual influence of linguistic development and socialization in children's language acquisition through the organization of child–adult interactions as socially constructed practices (Forrester, 2008). Furthermore, if other-repairs in dialogue are efficient and help children acquire the linguistic system, self-repairs illustrate children's language development through conversation. Children's capacity to self-repair rests on their ability to monitor conversation, position themselves in dialogue and handle the linguistic system well enough to alter, adjust or correct the form and/or the content of their productions according to conventions and to their communicative intent. Both other and self-repairs could therefore be analyzed as indicators of the child's cognitive, social-pragmatic and linguistic development. The notion of ‘repair’, whether it be self-repair or other-repair, implies some intentionality, a target to reach, either from the point of view of the meaning of the utterance or the point of view of its form. A sequence with a repair is a sequence during which one of the interlocutors is confronted with a comprehension or production problem and tries to remediate that in order for the ‘cooperative principle’ to hold good (Grice, 1989 quoted by Bernicot and Clark, 2010). Repair sequences have been mainly studied within two theoretical frameworks: conversation analysis (Schegloff et al., 1977 and Forrester, 2008) and pragmatic analyses of child–adult interactions (Chouinard and Clark, 2003 and Bernicot et al., 2006). The present study on self and other-repairs is at the crossroads of these two theoretical approaches.
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Aliyah Morgenstern, Marie Leroy, Stéphanie Caët. Self- and other-repairs in child–adult interaction at the intersection of pragmatic abilities and language acquisition. Journal of Pragmatics, Elsevier, 2013, The Pragmatic-Discursive Dimension of Grammar Acquisition, 56, pp.151-167. ⟨10.1016/j.pragma.2012.06.017⟩. ⟨halshs-01186977⟩

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