Published online by Cambridge University Press: 26 September 2008
The present study examines changes with age in interrogative sequences among Dutch-speaking children. Thirty-eight male and female pairs of children were videotaped in a play situation; eight pairs of pre-schoolers and ten pairs of 7-, 9- and 11-year-old schoolchildren, with an equal number of pairs of boys and pairs of girls at each age level. An interrogative sequence consists of: question–listener reaction–confirmation of that reaction. Questions were analysed according to function, content and form, and listener reaction according to how appropriate it was. The main results are: (1) changes with age occur in the use and form but not in the content of questions; (2) a relation exists between the function, content and form of a question and the listener's reaction; (3) listeners frequently do not answer questions (this tendency is stronger within the two younger age groups than within the two older ones); (4) answers are frequently not confirmed.
The authors would like to express their appreciation to Gerda Driessen and Martin Mollee for their help in various phases of the study. Address for correspondence: Vakgroep Ontwikkelingspsychologie, Vrije Universiteit, Koningslaan 22, 1075 AD Amsterdam, The Netherlands.