The acquisition of routines is one aspect of language development. Routines such as Bye-bye, in contrast to more referential language, appear to be among the earliest acquisitions and are congruent with the sensori-motor child's capacities. This study investigates performance of the highly constrained Hallowe'en Trick or treat routine in 115 children from 2 to 16 years of age. Changes in competence and the role of parental input are examined in relation to cognitive and social factors. (First routines; the Hallowe'en interaction; children's production; adult participation; adult metalanguage; implications for ethnographic research.)
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