The effect of intonation on the illocutionary force of declaratives in child comprehension
Date created: | Last Updated:
: DOI | ARK
Creating DOI. Please wait...
Description: ***Please drop by our Q&A session on Monday, September 7 at 18:00 London time. Here is the Zoom link for the meeting: https://umd.zoom.us/j/99550929429. In the event that there are many participants, we ask guests to use the "raise hand" feature if you have a question. Thanks and we look forward to meeting you!*** This study investigates preschoolers' ability to infer the force of speakers' intended speech acts when they don't match the clause type uttered, by focusing on rising declaratives in English. Prior work shows that infants are sensitive to clause type and intonational distinctions, but doesn't address speech act interpretation. We show that children deploy a sophisticated understanding of pragmatics and prosody to uncover the intended illocutionary force of speakers' utterances. This is done via the results of a comprehension task in which children helped a puppet place animals in workplaces throughout a village. In each trial, the puppet either made a statement about where an animal works, in which case the child had to place the animal in the corresponding location, or the puppet forgot and asked a question, in which case the child had to check a book containing information about each animal's workplace.