Development of pragmatic language comprehension in Finnish-speaking children



Publication Details

Loukusa, S., Leinonen, E. K. & Ryder, N. (2007). Development of pragmatic language comprehension in Finnish-speaking children. First Language, 27 (3), 279-296.


This research explores the development of pragmatic comprehension within the framework of relevance theory. Participants were 210 typically developing Finnish children aged from 3 to 9 years. The children were asked questions targeting the pragmatic processes of reference assignment, enrichment and implicature, as proposed by relevance theory. Results indicate that increasing ability to use contextual information in comprehension is related to age. The largest increase in correct answers occurred between the ages of 3 and 4 years. Answering reference assignment questions was not problematic for any of the age groups. Answering enrichment and implicature questions reflected the children's increasing ability to use more complex contextual information in the comprehension process. This supports the processing model suggested by relevance theory.

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