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Abstract

Abstract

The present study examines the development of ‘but’-introduced clauses in adult-toddler conversations, distinguishing between autonomous productions () and adult-child co-constructed uses (Adult: , Child: ). Analyses covered all adult and child ‘but’ uses in three longitudinal Hebrew corpora (age-range: 1;5–3;3), showing that: (1) both adults and children mostly use ‘but’ in co-construction rather than autonomously; (2) adults begin co-constructing ‘but’-clauses with children months before the children start using ‘but’, mostly by elaborating on single-word child productions before adding the ‘but’-clause (Child: , Adult: ); (3) as children start combining more clauses, adults gradually conjoin more ‘but’-clauses directly with the children’s productions, without elaboration (Child: . Adult: ). These patterns suggest that the main function of ‘but’-clauses in adult-child discourse is co-constructing ideas contributed by two (or more) interlocutors. Such co-constructions are initially scaffolded by the adults, until the children are able to contribute full-fledged propositions to co-constructions. These findings provide further evidence of the role of adult-child interaction in introducing and familiarizing children with new linguistic structures, and advancing their developing grammar.

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/content/journals/10.1075/il.20007.lus
2021-06-11
2021-06-19
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