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The socio-cognitive foundation of Danish perspective-mixing dialogue particles

Research output: Contribution in Book/Report/Proceedings - With ISBN/ISSNChapter

Publication date2016
Host publicationViewpoint and the fabric of meaning
EditorsBarbara Dancygier, Wei-lun Lu, Arie Verhagen
PublisherMouton de Gruyter
Number of pages18
ISBN (print)9783110369076
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Danish dialogue particles are nine optional, non-focusable monomorphemic words which point to intersubjective configurations of shared knowledge, conflicting perspectives, or different balances in knowledge states. Acquisition of the particles requires sophisticated perspective-taking skills as children must be able to represent a proposition from both their own and another person’s perspective simultaneously.
A comparison of results from 164 Danish children and 60 adults on a gap-filling test with three of the particles suggests that most 11-to-14-year-olds follow adult-like usage norms for these three particles. The children demonstrated understanding of the complex meaning of each individual particle and sensitivity to the ways in which constellations of character perspectives shifted in the narratives. A comparison with the performance of Danish same-age, verbal children with autism, known to have difficulties with taking others’ perspective, showed that the children with autism chose the most appropriate dialogue particle in the test significantly less often than the typically developing children.
The results confirm the semantic analysis of the particles and the cognitive-functional view of language as reflecting cognitive predispositions and communicative requirements.