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Children’ use of intonation in reference and the role of input

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Abstract

Studies of children’s use of intonation in reference are few in number but are diverse in terms of theoretical frameworks and intonational parameters. In the current review, I present a re-analysis of the referents in each study, using a three-dimension approach (i.e., referential givenness-newness, relational givenness-newness, contrast), discuss the use of intonation at two levels (phonetic, phonological), and compare findings from different studies within a single framework. The patterns stemming from these studies may be limited in generalisability but can serve as initial hypotheses for future work. Furthermore, to shed light on the role of input in the acquisition of intonational encoding of referents, I examine caregivers’ use of intonation in reference in infant direct speech. In addition, I discuss how future research can advance our knowledge of these issues.

References

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