Contrastive Stress and Children's Interpretation of Pronouns Contrastive stress signals the hearer that the speaker thinks that certain information is not shared by the speaker and hearer. In the case of stressed pronouns the speaker is signalling the inappropriateness of applying normal interpretive strategies. Children were presented with sentences such as John hit Bill and then he ... Research Article
Research Article  |   September 01, 1980
Contrastive Stress and Children's Interpretation of Pronouns
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Lawrence Solan
    Cornell University, Ithaca, New York
Article Information
Research Articles
Research Article   |   September 01, 1980
Contrastive Stress and Children's Interpretation of Pronouns
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, September 1980, Vol. 23, 688-698. doi:10.1044/jshr.2303.688
History: Received May 2, 1979 , Accepted August 14, 1979
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, September 1980, Vol. 23, 688-698. doi:10.1044/jshr.2303.688
History: Received May 2, 1979; Accepted August 14, 1979

Contrastive stress signals the hearer that the speaker thinks that certain information is not shared by the speaker and hearer. In the case of stressed pronouns the speaker is signalling the inappropriateness of applying normal interpretive strategies. Children were presented with sentences such as John hit Bill and then he hit Sam. Surprisingly, it was found that when the pronoun was stressed the children performed better than when it was unstressed. It is argued that children are employing an ad hoc strategy for interpreting stressed pronouns, and that they have not initially mastered the interaction of strategies and contrastive stress. It is further argued that prosodic features such as contrastive stress provide children with helpful clues for developing interpretive strategies.

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