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Download Children's Explanations: A Psycholinguistic Study by Morag L. Donaldson PDF

By Morag L. Donaldson

How and whilst does the power to provide and comprehend causes enhance? Morag Donaldson at once addresses this query within the current research, supplying facts from a sequence of ingenious experiments she conducted with three- to 10-year-olds. not like many prior debts, she demonstrates that kids can distinguish among reason and impact and between actual, mental and logical kin good prior to the age of seven. The examine focuses totally on the linguistic talents which are wanted for clarification, particularly the knowledge of simply because, so, why?, and the way do you know?, and it makes a considerable contribution to our knowing of the semantics and pragmatics of causal connectives. although, the learn additionally offers precious insights into kid's similar cognitive skills. kid's factors is a booklet that would be of equivalent curiosity to cognitive and developmental psychologists and to psycholinguistics, in addition to to researchers in schooling for whom its subject has to be of the most important significance.

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They found that the 6- to 7-year-olds and the 11- to 12-year-olds used because equally frequently, and that most of the uses involved psychological relations. The 6- to 7-year-olds did not produce any cause-effect inversions. Katz and Brent note that some of the 33 Development of causal connectives and causality 11- to 12-year-olds produced utterances which bore a superficial resemblance to inversions, but which could reasonably be interpreted as elliptical expressions in the deductive mode. Kuhn and Phelps (1976) presented 5- to 8-year-olds with single pictures depicting causal sequences, and asked the children to ' say a sentence with because that tells about this picture'.

This is the interpretation which will be defended in this book. Keeping these three alternative interpretations in mind, let us now consider the findings of some comprehension experiments which have employed temporal order tasks. Sullivan (1972) presented 4- to 10-year-olds with a causal sentence and two pictures depicting the two elements mentioned in the sentence. She then asked the children to 'point to the picture that comes first'. Sullivan failed to find any clear trends in her results. However, it is worthwhile considering her study in some detail, since it serves to highlight some of the methodological problems which are likely to be encountered when a temporal order task is used to investigate children's knowledge of the causal connectives.

Hood also found that most of the causal relations which the children expressed were psychological rather than physical, but she points out that this is no reason for regarding the expressions as unsystematic. Piaget (1930) regards psychological relations as a primitive form of causality. However, the linguistic demands imposed by expressions of psychological causality are no less than those imposed by expressions of physical causality. In addition, Hood notes that most of the children's causal statements referred to intentions or were requests for action, and that they often referred to negative situations (such as the non-occurrence of an event).

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