University of Oulu

Loukusa, S., Mäkinen, L., Gabbatore, I., et al. (2017). Understanding Contextual and Social Meaning in Typically Developing Finnish-Speaking Four- To Eight-Year-Old Children. Psychology of Language and Communication, 21(1), pp. 408-428. doi:10.1515/plc-2017-0020

Understanding contextual and social meaning in typically developing Finnish-speaking four- to eight-year-old children

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Author: Loukusa, Soile1; Mäkinen, Leena1; Gabbatore, Ilaria1,2;
Organizations: 1University of Oulu
2University of Turin
3Tilastoneuvonta, Oulu
4Murdoch University
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.7 MB)
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Language: English
Published: De Gruyter, 2017
Publish Date: 2018-02-08


This study examined the development of social-pragmatic comprehension in 170 Finnish four- to eight-year-old children. The children were asked to respond to socially and contextually demanding questions targeting their social-pragmatic language processing, and to explain their correct answers in order to elicit their awareness of how they had derived the answers from the context. The results showed that the number of correct answers increased especially between the ages of four and seven years. We found that questions demanding contextual processing without mind-reading were the easiest to understand, followed by questions demanding processing of feelings of others and false beliefs. The questions demanding understanding of relevant language use and processing of contextual factors including mental states and intentions were the most challenging for the children. Between four and five years of age there was a remarkable developmental phase in children’s ability to give proper explanations.

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Series: Psychology of language and communication
ISSN: 1234-2238
ISSN-E: 2083-8506
ISSN-L: 1234-2238
Volume: 21
Issue: 1
Pages: 408 - 428
DOI: 10.1515/plc-2017-0020
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 515 Psychology
612 Languages and literature
Funding: This research was financially supported by the Academy of Finland.
Copyright information: © by Soile Loukusa. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 License.