Discourse Cohesive Means in Acquisition

Organisator(en) Dagmar Bittner & Nadja Kuehn
Veranstaltungsbeginn 11.03.2012, 09.00 Uhr
Veranstaltungsende 13.03.2012, 18.00 Uhr

Telling others about complex events, impressions, and thoughts in a coherent manner is a very demanding task for children up to their teenage years, and, though less obvious, understanding complex texts produced by others is just as demanding. The richness, diversity, and complexity of the pragmatic and linguistic devices that have to be followed in order to produce and comprehend a coherent discourse make this arguably one of the most challenging tasks in language acquisition. Children have to figure out the structure and content of the macro-parts, i.e. who is acting where and when, what happened and what follows from what happened. In addition, there is a broad range of linguistic means of discourse cohesion which are, at least partially, interacting with each other. Most of them are linked to pragmatic interpretations and to the internal non-linguistic knowledge and emotional states of the communication partner(s).    

The conference will address the micro-level of discourse structure and present current research on the acquisition of the various phenomena that ensure coherence in discourse. In order to open our eyes to the complexity of the domain and the possible interactions between the diverse phenomena, we invite papers investigating children’s development into discourse coherence from all angles and perspectives. Currently, the main body of research focuses on referential expressions with respect to e.g. the introduction and maintenance of referents, topic-sensitivity, and anaphoric capacity. More recently, the role of coherence relations expressed by different types of connectors and the impact of verb semantics in discourse continuation have become of interest. However, apart from the early studies from the 1980s, not much work has been done on time reference and tense/aspect chains in discourse. Little is known about the influence of epistemic, modal, and several other types of expressions. The same holds for the influence of context information, the impact of prosodic information, and the treatment of focus. 

The conference provides the opportunity to discuss the broad range of discourse cohesive means and the methods of their investigation from different theoretical perspectives. We especially encourage the presentation of papers focusing on the following aspects:  

  • correlations and interactions between different types of discourse cohesive means
  • correlations between discourse cohesive means and non-linguistic phenomena such as emotional states, discourse context, etc. 
  • the role of theory of mind 
  • the acquisition of pragmatic implicatures in the use of discourse cohesive means
  • acquisitional milestones and paths in the development of discourse abilities
  • processing of discourse cohesive means
  • the interaction of discourse cohesive means with parameters of information structure
  • acquisition in mono- and bilingual children as well as in SLI children

Invited speakers

Jacqueline Evers-Vermeul
Juhani Järvikivi
Tom Roeper

Call for papers

Abstracts of max. 500 words (not including references) should be sent as a pdf-file by the 19th of September 2011 to the contact address that will be announced at the end of July on the conference homepage. Please provide name(s) of author(s) and affiliation(s) in the text of the email and do not mention it in the abstract file.


Sunday, 11.03. 2012
15.00 – 16.00 PLENARY TALK
Tom Roeper (U Mass)
Minimalist discourse: Internal merge vs. Topic-shift
16.00 – 16.30 Coffee Break
16.30 – 17.00
Jacqueline van Kampen (U Utrecht)
Decomposing Dutch d-pronouns: a perspective from L1 acquisition
17.00 – 17.30
Insa Gülzow (DRK Westend.Kliniken, Berlin)
Theory of mind and the acquisition of German referring expressions
17.30 – 18.00
Dagmar Bittner (ZAS)
Detecting the discourse functions of the German demonstrative pronoun DER

Monday, 12.03.2012
09.00 – 10.00 PLENARY TALK
Juhani Järvikivi (NTNU Trondheim)
Linguistic and non-linguistic salience in children’s processing of discourse reference in dynamic scenes
10.00 – 10.30 Coffee Break
10.30 – 11.00
Antje Skerra & Natalia Gagarina (ZAS)
Microstructure of the elicited narratives: patterns of discourse coherence
11.00 – 11.30
Ewa Lenart (U Paris 8)
"Discourse errors" in children’s narratives in L1 English, French and Polish: a case of ellipsis
11.30 – 12.00
Ruth A. Berman (U Tel Aviv)
Developing Variation in Discourse Temporality
12.00 – 13.30 Lunch
13.30 – 14.00
Elena Petrosyan & Barbara Schmiedtová (U Heidelberg)
Development of narrative competence in monolingual children aged 7 to 14 years. A comparative study of German and Russian
14.00 – 14.30
Whitney Goodrich Smith1 & Carla Hudson Kam2
1 (U Maryland) 2 (U British Columbia)
Learning 'who she is' from 'where she is': Children's use of gesture in ambiguous pronoun interpretation
14.30 – 15.00
Akke de Blauw, Anne Baker & Judith Rispens (U Amsterdam)
Learning discourse cohesive means in parent-child interaction: temporality
1; 9 – 3; 9

15.00 – 15.30 Coffee Break
15.30 – 16.00
Bracha Nir (U Haifa)
Information Coherence in Multi-Clausal Units of Discourse: A Developmental Perspective on Narrative Text Production
16.00 – 16.30
Melina Aparici1, Elisa Rosado2, Nayme Salas3 & Liliana Tolchinsky2
(U Autonoma de Barcelona) 2 (U Barcelona) 3 (U Bangor)
Connecting discourse through clause packaging: L1 & L2 developmental patterns across genres and modalities
19.00 Conference Dinner
Restaurant 'Cum Laude', Universitätsstrasse 4, 10117 Berlin

Tuesday, 13.03.2012
09.00 – 10.00 PLENARY TALK
Jacqueline Evers-Vermeul (U Utrecht)
Categories of Coherence relations and Connectives
Converging evidence from language use and language acquisition

10.00 – 10.30 Coffee Break
10.30 – 11.00
Rosie van Veen, Jacqueline Evers-Vermeul, Huub van den Bergh & Ted Sanders (U Utrecht)
"Why? Because." How parents influence the acquisition of causal connectives
11.00 – 11.30
Stefanie Röhrig (U Mainz)
Empirical evidence for context-dependent enrichment of the conjunction und - An acquisition study
11.30 – 12.00
Judy Kupersmitt1, Rachel Yifat1 & Shoshana Blum-Kulka2
1 (U Haifa) 2(Hebrew U Jerusalem)
Causal and spatial relations in developing narrative coherence: a comparative study in Hebrew as L1 and L2
12.00 – 13.30 Lunch
13.30 – 14.00
Tanja Tagoe (FU Berlin)
Cohesion in Narratives: Typical Development and Williams syndrome
14.00 – 14.30
Elise Drijbooms, Margriet Groen & Ludo Verhoeven (Radboud U Nijmegen)
Coherence and cohesion in children’s written narratives
14.30 – 15.00
Cora Kim (FU Berlin)
Linguistic means for narrative cohesion in relation to children’s theory of mind