The production and comprehension of referring expressions

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In this chapter, we provide a developmental outline of the emergence of referential skills during early childhood. We first briefly outline the major theoretical frameworks of reference as based on the adult literature and also introduce the growing body of developmental work. In two subsequent sections, we focus on typically developing children’s comprehension and production skills, respectively. Next, we look to clinical populations, summarising research on referential skills in children with autism spectrum disorders. We conclude by outlining a developmental sketch of children’s referential skills, considering some of the current debates within the development of reference.


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