Definite and Indefinite Determiners in French-Speaking Toddlers: Distributional Features and Pragmatic-Discursive Factors

Abstract : The aim of this article is to study the effects of pragmatic-discursive factors on the choice of determiners (more specifically, definite or indefinite determiners) and their distributional features. It contends that distributional features alone cannot account for mastery of the determiner category and that determiner productivity must also be examined in terms of how determiners are actually used in discourse. 2367 noun phrases produced by 24 French-speaking children between 1;10 and 3;0 (cross-sectional and longitudinal corpus) observed in natural dialogues at home, day-care and nursery school were analyzed for the distributional features of their pre-nominal slot filling (a measure of determinant contrast with noun overlap). The results of this analysis were compared with those of an analysis of NP uses in discourse. Results show that the distributional patterns of determiners depend more on the discursive (referent introduction and reactivation, labelling, topic development) and dialogical (answers, self- and other repetition) uses of NP than on the level of syntactic – morphological development. The discussion focuses on the intertwining of pragmatics and grammar and the role of pragmatics in language acquisition.
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Submitted on : Tuesday, February 14, 2017 - 5:39:10 PM
Last modification on : Thursday, February 7, 2019 - 5:09:09 PM

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Anne Salazar Orvig, Haydée Marcos, Stéphanie Caët, Cristina Corlateanu, Christine Da Silva, et al.. Definite and Indefinite Determiners in French-Speaking Toddlers: Distributional Features and Pragmatic-Discursive Factors. Journal of Pragmatics, Elsevier, 2013, The Pragmatic-Discursive Dimension of Grammar Acquisition, 56, pp.88-112. ⟨10.1016/j.pragma.2013.03.015⟩. ⟨halshs-01467858⟩

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