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Learning about points of view: spatial perspective and the acquisition of ‘I/you’*

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  26 September 2008

Katherine A. Loveland
Rice University and Texas Research Institute of Mental Sciences


A cross-sectional and a longitudinal study of 2-year-old children was performed to investigate the developmental relationship between understanding differences in spatial point of view and correct comprehension and production of I/you pronouns. In Study I only those children who demonstrated understanding that individuals' points of view can differ had begun to master speaker's point of view, as shown by correct use of some of the pronouns. Only children with complete understanding of points of view were able to use all I/you pronouns without errors. In Study 11 no child used the set of I/you pronouns without errors until s/he had complete understanding of points of view. Across children, a given pronoun tended not to be free of errors until the child understood that points of view can differ. Results are interpreted to support the hypothesis that understanding spatial points of view is a cognitive prerequisite to understanding speaker's point of view, which governs the pragmatics of 11 you pronouns.

Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1984

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