Faculté des lettres et sciences humaines

Constructions syntaxiques et discours: les introductions de référents dans des narrations produites par des enfants présentant des troubles spécifiques du développement du langage oral et des enfants tout-venant

Jullien, Stéphane

In: Revue Tranel (Travaux neuchâtelois de linguistique), 2008, vol. 48, p. 7-24

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    It is now generally admitted, following Lambrecht (1994), that word order in French is constrained by topicality and shared knowledge between speakers rather than defined by a strict SVO order. Thus, the purpose of this paper is to study how French-speaking children take into account the shared knowledge with the adult using syntactic constructions to introduce referents in narratives, the so-called global marking of information (Hickmann, 2003; Hickmann et al., 1996). The data were taken from a European research project1. The population of the study was composed of normal-speaking children, from 4 to 11 years of age, and of language-impaired children, from 6 to 11 years of age. We show here that, like local marking, the global marking of information is a late acquisition. Furthermore, syntactic constructions, such as il y a ('there is'), are not only involved in information structure but are engaged in discourse planning and constrained by the type of referent introduced. Moreover, we find that language-impaired children (SLI) use different syntactic devices to introduce referents in discourse.