A functional approach to the acquisition of anaphoric relationships
To tell a coherent narrative requires the use of the appropriate linguistic means to identify the characters according to the whereabouts in the narrative. The present study investigates how German-speaking children of three age groups (31/2-4, 5-6, 9-10 years of age) establish reference to two main characters in the telling of a 24-page picture book, and how they linguistically follow these characters through their narrative account. Results show that children of the youngest age group, as well as some of the children of the middle age group, impose a global anaphoric strategy in the sense that they match the main protagonist of the story with the third person pronoun, irrespective of whether this character is reintroduced into the narrative or reference to this character is maintained. At the same time however, the protagonist ranking lower in the animacy hierarchy is matched with an adultlike anaphoric strategy: this character is reestablished in the textual plane by use of a nominal expression, while reference is maintained to this same character in subsequent clauses by use of the third person singular pronoun. The filtering and organizing processes that have given rise to this kind of global stragegy are discussed. Furthermore, it is suggested that the reorganization process is best viewed as progressing from a global system to a local system, whereby the local system is an amalgamation of pragmatic and grammatical factors. © 1985, Mouton de Gruyter.
Bamberg, Michael, "A functional approach to the acquisition of anaphoric relationships" (1986). Psychology. 173.