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Academic Paper


Title: Two-year-old children differentiate test questions from genuine questions
Author: Gerlind Grosse
Institution: Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology
Author: Michael Tomasello
Institution: Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology
Linguistic Field: Language Acquisition
Abstract: Children are frequently confronted with so-called ‘test questions’. While genuine questions are requests for missing information, test questions ask for information obviously already known to the questioner. In this study we explored whether two-year-old children respond differentially to one and the same question used as either a genuine question or as a test question based on the (playful game versus serious task) and (playful ostensive cues versus not). Results indicated that children responded to questions differently on the basis of the situation but not the expressed attitude of the questioner. Two-year-old children thus understand something of the very special communicative intentions behind test questions.

CUP AT LINGUIST

This article appears IN Journal of Child Language Vol. 39, Issue 1, which you can READ on Cambridge's site .



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