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More questions than answers: a study of question–answer sequences in a naturalistic setting*

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  26 September 2008

Suus M. J. van Hekken
Affiliation:
Free University of Amsterdam
Wim Roelofsen
Affiliation:
Free University of Amsterdam

Abstract

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.

Type
Articles
Copyright
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1982

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Footnotes

[*]

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.

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