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Cognitive Linguistics

Editor-in-Chief: Divjak, Dagmar

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Volume 25, Issue 3


Dialogic syntax and complement constructions in toddlers' peer interactions

Bahar Köymen / Amy Kyratzis
Published Online: 2014-08-01 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/cog-2014-0028


Children start producing grammatically complex sentences during toddlerhood (Bloom et al. 1984; Diessel 2004). This study examines how toddlers use complement constructions as a communicative resource in peer interactions. The data come from an archival database, which consists of 500 hours of videorecordings of children's naturalistic interactions in a daycare center. All complement constructions produced by seven target children were identified. The data illustrate children using “format tying” (Goodwin 1990, 2006) and “dialogic syntax”. They construct utterances “based on the immediately co-present utterance[s]” (Du Bois, this issue) of their own and others (caregivers) in the discourse, as means of demonstrating positive or negative alignment with their interlocutors, thereby negotiating the participation framework (Goffman 1981; Goodwin and Goodwin 2004). As children tie to prior utterances, and transform and embed them into matrix clauses with stance-indexing verbs like I said, I want, and Let me, complex complement constructions are built up dialogically over sequences of interaction.

Keywords: complement constructions; dialogic syntax; format tying; children's peer interactions; function and grammar; language acquisition

About the article

Received: 2011-03-16

Revised: 2014-05-13

Accepted: 2014-05-15

Published Online: 2014-08-01

Published in Print: 2014-08-01

Citation Information: Cognitive Linguistics, Volume 25, Issue 3, Pages 497–521, ISSN (Online) 1613-3641, ISSN (Print) 0936-5907, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/cog-2014-0028.

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