Volume 84-85, Issue 1
  • ISSN 0169-7420
  • E-ISSN: 2213-4883
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This article focuses on the emergence of relational coherence in linguistic expressions such as and, but, then, while, until, before. When do children start expressing relational coherence through various additive, temporal and causal connectives? Within a cognitive theory of coherence relations (Spooren & Sanders, 2008), it is on the basis of their increasing cognitive complexity that predictions are made about the order in which these coherence relations and their linguistic expressions are acquired. This means that causal connectives do not appear before additives, negative connectives not before positives, and temporal connectives occur after non-temporal ones.We investigated these claims in a longitudinal study on the development of story telling skills in 93 Dutch monolingual and bilingual children between the ages of 4 and 9. The results show a strong increase over time in the number and the diversity of connectives. We found evidence for all the hypotheses emerging from Spooren and Sanders' cognitive theory of coherence relations. We found that there are no significant differences between monolingual and bilingual children in their use of additive, temporal and causal connectives. Finally, it turned out that girls use significantly more additive, temporal and causal connectives than boys do at all periods in time.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
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