Acquisition and use of pronouns in a dialogic perspective
First uses of personal pronouns are characterized by their variability and instability. Since the processes involved in reference to discourse entities and to speech roles do not overlap, the use of pronouns cannot merely be explained by grammatical factors. This chapter considers dialogue as both the context and the mediator of the formal and functional mastery of pronouns. Several facets of dialogue are analyzed as the context in which linguistic units make sense for children who experience their situated use. The progressive construction of the pronominal system is examined through the lenses of factors that contribute to the pairing of forms and functions in ‘pre-constructed’ discursive sequences: adult’s uses, positioning, reflection of the other’s voice, and dialogic dynamics. Children’s mastery of pronouns is thus considered as grounded in their first dialogic experiences.