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Conversational or communicative skill? A reassessment of two-year-olds' behaviour in miscommunication episodes*

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  17 February 2009

Marilyn Shatz*
Affiliation:
University of Michigan
Anne Watson O'Reilly
Affiliation:
University of Michigan
*
Human Performance Center, 330 Packard Rd.University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 48109, USA.

Abstract

Young children's competence in using and responding to clarification requests may reflect their desire to achieve goals through the direction of others rather than knowledge that messages must be understood by another mind. This possibility was addressed by examining miscommunication episodes between children aged 2;6 and their parents in videotaped free play sessions. Although the children generally responded appropriately in form to parental clarification requests, they responded more often to and resolved successfully more of those following their own requests than those following their assertions. Thus, the results support the idea that young children are frequently motivated to repair their utterances when they have not achieved some overt behaviour desired from others. These findings are discussed in the light of the conversational experience two-year-olds bring to clarification situations.

Type
Articles
Copyright
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1990

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Footnotes

*

Acknowledgements: We wish to thank Louise Cherry Wilkinson for her generosity in providing us access to her videotapes and transcripts, and Marilyn McDermott for her assistance in coding for reliability.

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