Processes in the Acquisition of Pragmatic Competence

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Book Chapter

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Pragmatic acquisition has been of great interest to developmental psycholinguists for the last 15 years. Many researchers have attempted to describe the develop­ mental course of specific skills such as requesting (e.g., Becker, 1982, 1986; Ervin-Tripp & Gordon, 1986) and have looked both at children’s ability to produce the behaviors correctly and their ability to discuss the behaviors (i.e., exhibit metapragmatic knowledge). A small group of researchers (e.g., Eisenberg, 1982; Gleason, Perlmann, & Greif, 1984; Gleason & Weintraub, 1976; Greif & Gleason, 1980; Pellegrini, Brody, & Stoneman, 1987) has focused on parents’ techniques for teaching their English-speaking children pragmatic skills. To the extent that they are more than descriptive, most of these researchers attempt to place pragmatic teaching within a social framework. That is, in this and the comparable cross-cultural literature (see, for example, Schiefifelin & Ochs, 1986), pragmatic teaching techniques and pragmatic behaviors are concep­ tualized in terms of broader goals and methods of socialization and enculturation.

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Citation / Publisher Attribution

Processes in the Acquisition of Pragmatic Competence, in G. Conti-Ramsden & C. Snow (Eds.), Children's Language, v. 7, p. 7-24