Pragmatic children

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Our study investigated the abilities of 6-year-old German-speaking children to interpret sentences with and without the focus particle <i>nur</i> (only). We report two experiments: In Experiment 1 the study by Paterson et al. (2003) on English was replicated in German. We found that German-speaking children do not interpret <i>only</i>-sentences target-like. This supports Paterson et al. that children ignore information that is not verbally given. The second experiment investigated children&#8217;s pragmatic ability to judge underinformative sentences. The results indicate that children take into account information that is showed on a picture, but not verbally introduced. We argue that children&#8217;s performance in Experiment 1 is not caused by an insufficient pragmatic knowledge but rather to its methodological set up.


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