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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter Mouton 2020

The comprehension of coherence relations in expository texts at the age of 10 and 12

From the book Referential and Relational Discourse Coherence in Adults and Children

  • Angelika Becker , Renate Musan and Valentina Cristante


The ability to understand coherence relations like cause/result between parts of texts is crucial for the comprehension of texts. The present study investigates how well students of grade 4 and grade 6 manage the construction of coherence in expository texts. Performance differences in comprehending additive, causal, contrastive, and temporal anteriority relations suggest a specific line of development: After an early phase which does not show significant differences in dealing with the four relations, there is first progress in constructing causal relations and, after a short delay, in constructing adversative relations. The performance concerning additive and temporal anteriority relations remains on a comparatively low level. What seems to be crucial for the developmental progress is the relevance of relations for the meaning of the text and - especially for temporal anteriority relations - the sequence of propositions. Not all text recipients profit from the presence of connectives to the same degree, least of all weak readers.

© 2020 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Munich/Boston
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