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Pragmatics in acquisition*

  • EVE V. CLARK (a1)


Recent research has highlighted several areas where pragmatics plays a central role in the process of acquiring a first language. In talking with their children, adults display their uses of language in each context, and offer extensive feedback on form, meaning, and usage, within their conversational exchanges. These interactions depend critically on joint attention, physical co-presence, and conversational co-presence – essential factors that help children assign meanings, establish reference, and add to common ground. For young children, getting their meaning across also depends on realizing language is conventional, that words contrast in meaning, and that they need to observe Grice's cooperative principle in conversation. Adults make use of the same pragmatic principles as they solicit repairs to what children say, and thereby offer feedback on both what the language is and how to use it.



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Address for correspondence: Eve V. Clark, Department of Linguistics, Margaret Jacks Hall–Bldg 460, Stanford, CA 94305-2150, USA; e-mail:



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Pragmatics in acquisition*

  • EVE V. CLARK (a1)


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