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Dynamic resonance and explicit dialogic engagement in Mandarin first language acquisition

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineJournal articlepeer-review

E-pub ahead of print
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>13/05/2022
<mark>Journal</mark>Discourse Processes
Publication StatusE-pub ahead of print
Early online date13/05/22
<mark>Original language</mark>English


The present paper aims to shed light on the relationship between priming and creativity throughout Chinese children’s ontogenetic development. It has been suggested that priming in naturalistic interaction occurs not as an exclusively implicit phenomenon. New methodological desiderata beyond traditional acceptability judgements have been proposed, including large-scale corpus-based analysis (cf. Branigan & Pickering 2017; Lester et al. 2017), as it is noted that priming may correlate with interlocutors’ engagement and intersubjectivity throughout naturalistic interaction (Authors 2021b). This study is centred on priming occurring creatively, in the form of dynamic resonance, viz. involving the re-elaboration ‘on the fly’ of a previously encountered construction. We fitted a conditional inference tree and mixed effects linear regression based on the normalised entirety of Child-Carer/Child-Peer interaction of the Zhou2 and Zhou3 Mandarin corpora of first language acquisition (cf. Li & Zhou 2004; Zhang & Zhou 2009), from 8 months to 5 years of age. The models indicate that children significantly acquire the ability to creatively re-use a constructional prime around age 4, distinctively in combination with sentence final particles of intersubjectivity (cf. Author 2017, 2018, 2020). The latter are non obligatory markers that speakers employ to express their concern about the addressee’s reaction to an ongoing utterance. These results constitute a fundamental discovery in the research on priming, as they indicate that the ability to creatively re-use a prime is ontogenetically correlated with explicit dialogic engagement.