Social Interaction, Social Context, and Language: Essays in Honor of Susan Ervin-Tripp

By Dan Isaac Slobin; Julie Gerhardt et al. | Go to book overview
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become the basis for the self-regulatory, ideational functions, part of which is expressed syntactically.

3. Can the emerging pattern of discourse markers moving from interactional functions defined by limited contexts to more abstract symbolic representation observed in our data be extended to explain the acquisition of other forms? Especially forms that are viewed as central to syntax in traditional generative linguistic theories?

These questions are the next step in exploring the relations between discourse and syntax. Having examined a particular part of linguistic ability, the use of discourse markers, we have seen how the social, pragmatic, semantic, and syntactic aspects of linguistic forms interact over the course of acquisition. These investigations promise to be a model for understanding language acquisition in its full cognitive and social contexts of development.

As language acquisition explorers, we overlook a new uncharted territory; all that we have discovered about social development, cognitive abilities, discourse, and linguistics seem to meet at some point on the horizon. We are thankful that Susan Ervin-Tripp has pointed us in this direction.


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Corsaro, W. ( 1985). Friendship and peer culture in the early years. Norwood, NJ: Ablex.

Escalera, E. ( 1989). Children's use of Okay. Unpublished manuscript, University of California, Berkeley.

Fillmore, C., Kay, P., & O'Connor, M. ( 1988). Regularity and idiomaticity in grammatical constructions: The case of let alone. Language, 64, 501-538.

Gerhardt, J. ( 1990). The relation of language to context in children's speech: The role of HAFTA statements in structuring 3-year-olds' discourse. Papers in Pragmatics, 4:(1/2), 1-57.

Givón, T. ( 1989). Mind, code and context: Essays in pragmatics. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Guo, J. ( 1994). Social interaction, meaning, and grammatical form: Children's development and use of modal auxiliaries in Mandarin Chinese. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, University of California, Berkeley.

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Social Interaction, Social Context, and Language: Essays in Honor of Susan Ervin-Tripp
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