Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
×
Home

Communicative abilities in children: An assessment through different phenomena and expressive means*

  • FRANCESCA M. BOSCO (a1), ROMINA ANGELERI (a2), LIVIA COLLE (a1), KATIUSCIA SACCO (a3) and BRUNO G. BARA (a1)...
Abstract

Previous studies on children's pragmatic abilities have tended to focus on just one pragmatic phenomenon and one expressive means at a time, mainly concentrating on comprehension, and overlooking the production side. We assessed both comprehension and production in relation to several pragmatic phenomena (simple and complex standard communication acts, irony, and deceit) and several expressive means (linguistic, extralinguistic, paralinguistic). Our study involved 390 Italian-speaking children divided into three age groups: 5;0–5;6, 6;6–7;0, and 8;0–8;6. Children's performance on all tasks improved with their age. Within each age group, children responded more accurately to tasks involving standard communication than to those involving deceit and irony, across all expressive means and for both comprehension and production. Within each pragmatic phenomenon, children responded more accurately to simple acts than to complex ones, regardless of age group and expressive means, i.e., linguistic or extralinguistic. Overall results fit well with the Cognitive Pragmatics theory (Bara, 2010).

Copyright
Footnotes
Hide All
[*]

This research was supported by Regione Piemonte, Project: Institutions, Behavior and Markets in Local and Global Settings (Project IIINBEMA).

Footnotes
References
Hide All
Adams, C., Cooke, R., Crutchley, A., Hesketh, A. & Reeves, D. (2001). Assessment of comprehension and expression 6–11 (ACE 6–11). Windsor: NFER-Nelson.
Airenti, G. (1998). Dialogue in a developmental perspective. In Cmejrkovà, S., Hoffmannovà, J. & Svetlà, J. (eds.), Dialoganalyse VI, Teil 1. Tubingen: Max Niemeyer Verlag.
Airenti, G. & Angeleri, R. (2011). Situation-sensitive use of insincerity: pathways of communication in young children. British Journal of Developmental Psychology 29, 765–82.
Angeleri, R., Bosco, F. M., Gabbatore, I., Bara, B. G. & Sacco, K. (2012). Assessment battery for communication (ABaCo): normative data. Behavior Research Methods 44, 845–61.
Bara, B. G. (2010). Cognitive pragmatics. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
Bara, B. G., Bosco, F. M. & Bucciarelli, M. (1999a). Developmental pragmatics in normal and abnormal children. Brain and Language 68, 507–28.
Bara, B. G., Bosco, F. M. & Bucciarelli, M. (1999b). Simple and complex speech acts: what makes the difference within a developmental perspective. In Hahn, M. & Stoness, S. C. (eds.), Proceedings of the XXI Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society, 5560. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
Bara, B. G., Bucciarelli, M. & Johnson-Laird, P. N. (1995). Development of syllogistic reasoning. American Journal of Psychology 2, 157–93.
Bernicot, J. & Legros, S. (1987). Direct and indirect directives: what do young children understand? Journal of Experimental Child Psychology 43, 346–58.
Bishop, D. V. M. (1998). Development of the Children's Communication Checklist (CCC): a method of assessing qualitative aspects of communication impairment in children. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry 39, 879–91.
Bosco, F. M., Angeleri, R., Zuffranieri, M., Bara, B. G. & Sacco, K. (2012). Assessment battery for communication: development of two equivalent forms. Journal of Communication Disorders 45, 290303.
Bosco, F. M. & Bucciarelli, M. (2008). Simple and complex deceits and ironies. Journal of Pragmatics 40, 583607.
Bosco, F. M., Bucciarelli, M. & Bara, B. G. (2004). The fundamental context categories in understanding communicative intention. Journal of Pragmatics 36, 467–88.
Bosco, F. M., Bucciarelli, M. & Bara, B. G. (2006). Recognition and repair of communicative failures: a developmental perspective. Journal of Pragmatics 38, 1398–429.
Bosco, F. M., Vallana, M. & Bucciarelli, M. (2009). Comprehension of communicative intentions: the case of figurative language. Journal of Cognitive Science 10, 245–77.
Bosco, F. M., Vallana, M. & Bucciarelli, M. (2012). The inferential chain makes the difference between familiar and novel figurative expressions. Journal of Cognitive Psychology 24, 525–40.
Bradley, R. H. & Corwyn, R. F. (2002). Socioeconomic status and child development. Annual Review of Psychology 53, 371–99.
Bretherton, I., Fritz, J., Zahn-Waxler, C. & Ridgeway, D. (1986). Learning to talk about emotions: a functionalist perspective. Child Development 57, 529–48.
Bucciarelli, M., Colle, L. & Bara, B. G. (2003). How children comprehend speech acts and communicative gestures. Journal of Pragmatics 35, 207–41.
Creusere, M. (2000). A developmental test of theoretical perspectives on the understanding of verbal irony: children's recognition of allusion and pragmatic insincerity. Metaphor and Symbol 15, 2945.
De Marco, I., Colle, L. & Bucciarelli, M. (2007). Linguistic and extralinguistic communication in deaf children. Journal of Pragmatics 39, 134–58.
Demorest, A., Meyer, C., Phelps, E., Gardner, H. & Winner, E. (1984). Words speak louder than actions: understanding deliberately false remarks. Child Development 55, 1527–34.
Dewart, H. & Summers, S. (1997). The pragmatics profile of communication skill in childhood. Windsor: NFR-Nelson.
Dews, S., Winner, E., Kaplan, J., Rosenblatt, E., Hunt, M., Lim, K., McGovern, A., Qualter, A. & Smarsh, B. (1996). Children's understanding of the meaning and functions of verbal irony. Child Development 67, 3071–85.
Dunn, J. (1991). Young children's understanding of other people: evidence from observations within the family. In Frye, D. & Moore, C. (eds.), Children's theories of mind: mental states and social understanding, 97114. Hillsdale, NJ: Psychology Press.
Ekman, P. & Oster, H. (1979). Facial expression of emotion. Annual Review of Psychology 20, 527–54.
Enrici, I., Adenzato, M., Cappa, S., Bara, B. G. & Tettamanti, M. (2011). Intention processing in communication: a common brain network for language and gestures. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience 23, 2415–31.
Filippova, E. & Astington, J. W. (2008). Further development in social reasoning revealed in discourse irony understanding. Child Development 1, 126–38.
Friend, M. & Bryant, J. B. (2000). A developmental lexical bias in the interpretation of discrepant messages. Merrill-Palmer Quarterly: Journal of Developmental Psychology 46, 342–69.
Giora, R. & Fein, O. (1999). Irony comprehension: the graded salience hypothesis. Humor 12, 425–36.
Glenwright, M. & Pexman, P. M. (2010). Development of children's ability to distinguish sarcasm and verbal irony. Journal of Child Language 37, 429–51.
Grice, H. P. (1989). Studies in the ways of words. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
Hart, B. & Risley, T. (1995). Meaningful differences in the everyday experience of young American children. Baltimore, MD: Brookes.
Herba, C. & Phillips, M. (2004). Annotation. Development of facial expression recognition from childhood to adolescence: behavioural and neurological perspectives. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry 45, 1185–98.
Hollingshead, A. B. (1975). Four factors index of social status. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.
Kasher, A. (1991). Pragmatics and Chomsky's research program. In Kasher, A. (ed.), The Chomskyan turn, 122–49.Oxford: Blackwell.
Landis, J. R. & Koch, G. G. (1977). The measurement of observer agreement for categorical data. Biometrics 33, 159–74.
Lewis, M., Stanger, C. & Sullivan, M. (1989). Deception in 3-year olds. Developmental Psychology 25, 439–43.
Lloyd, P., Peers, I. & Foster, C. (2001). The Listening Skills Test. Hove: Psychological Corporation.
London, K. & Nunez, N. (2002). Examining the efficacy of truth/lie discussions in predicting and increasing the veracity of children's reports. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology 83, 131–47.
Lucariello, J. & Mindolovich, C. (1995). The development of complex meta-representational reasoning: the case of situational irony. Cognitive Development 10, 551–76.
Magnuson, K. (2007). Maternal education and children's academic achievement during middle childhood. Developmental Psychology 43, 1497–512.
Mehrabian, A. & Wiener, M. (1967). Decoding of inconsistent communications. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 6, 109–14.
Morton, J. B. & Trehub, S. E. (2001). Children's understanding of emotion in speech. Child Development 72, 834–43.
Perner, J. (1991). Understanding the representational mind. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
Perner, J., Ruffman, T. & Leekam, S. (1994). Theory of mind is contagious: you catch it from your sibs. Child Development 65, 1228–38.
Perner, J. & Winner, E. (1985). ‘John thinks, that Mary thinks that …’ Attribution of second-order belief by 5- to 10-year-old children. Journal of Child Experimental Psychology 39, 437–71.
Pexman, P. M. & Glenwright, M. (2007). How do typically developing children grasp the meaning of verbal irony? Journal of Neurolinguistics 2, 178–96.
Pons, F., Harris, P. L. & de Ronsey, M. (2004). Emotional comprehension between 3 and 11 years: developmental periods and hierarchical organization. European Journal of Developmental Psychology 1, 127–52.
Premack, D. & Woodruff, G. (1978). Does the chimpanzee have a theory of mind? Behavioral and Brain Sciences 1, 512–26.
Pungello, E. P., Iruka, I. U., Dotterer, A. M., Mills-Koonce, R. & Reznick, J. S. (2009). The effects of socioeconomic status, race, and parenting on language development in early childhood. Developmental Psychology 45, 544–57.
Reiter, R. 1980. A logic for default reasoning. Artificial Intelligence 13, 81132.
Ross, E. D. (2000). Affective prosody and aprosodias. In Marsel Mesulam, M. (ed.), Principles of behavioral and cognitive neurology, 316–31. New York: Oxford University Press.
Row, M. (2008) Child-directed speech: relation to socioeconomic status, knowledge of child development and child vocabulary skill. Journal of Child Language 35, 185205.
Russell, J., Jarrold, C. & Potel, D. (1995). What makes strategic deception difficult for children: the deception or the strategy. British Journal of Developmental Psychology 12, 301–14.
Sacco, K., Angeleri, R., Bosco, F. M., Colle, L., Mate, D. & Bara, B. G. (2008). Assessment Battery for Communication – ABaCo: a new instrument for the evaluation of pragmatic abilities. Journal of Cognitive Science 9, 111–57.
Searle, J. R., (1975). Indirect speech acts. In Cole, P. and Morgan, J. L. (eds.), Syntax and semantics, vol. 3: speech acts, 5982. New York: Academic Press.
Sodian, B. (1991). The development of deception in children. British Journal of Developmental Psychology 9, 173–88.
Striano, T. & Vaish, A. (2006). Seven- to 9-month-old infants use facial expressions to interpret others' actions. British Journal of Developmental Psychology 24, 753–60.
Talwar, V. & Lee, K. (2008). Social and cognitive correlates of children's lying behavior. Child Development 79, 866–81.
Tirassa, M., Bosco, F. M. & Colle, L. (2006a). Sharedness and privateness in human early social life. Cognitive Systems Research 7, 128–39.
Tirassa, M., Bosco, F. M. & Colle, L. (2006b). Rethinking the ontogeny of mindreading. Consciousness and Cognition 15, 197217.
White, K. R. (1982). The relation between socioeconomic status and academic achievement. Psychological Bulletin 91, 461–81.
Winner, E. & Leekman, S. (1991). Distinguishing irony from deception: understanding the speaker's second-order intention. British Journal of Developmental Psychology 9, 257–70.
Wood, D. (1988). How children think and learn: the social context of cognitive development. Cambridge: Basil Blackwell.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Journal of Child Language
  • ISSN: 0305-0009
  • EISSN: 1469-7602
  • URL: /core/journals/journal-of-child-language
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Metrics

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed