During schooling, children's oral language skills increase qualitatively and quantitatively. Among the qualitative changes, the development of metapragmatic awareness -the ability to discriminate and to establish relation-ships between linguistic and non-linguistic stimuli -can be found. Despite the various hypotheses that attempt to account for this development, there is no empirical evidence that might explain these changes or specify the ages at which they appear. For the purpose of this article, a test was administered to 160 children between the ages of 6 and 12. The results suggest that as age increases, metapragmatic (conscious) responses increase and epipragmatic (automatic) responses decrease. Likewise, significant differences were found among the age groups, and their responses to the test items depended on the type of exercise, thus confirming that metapragmatic skills are not systematic; their effectiveness varies according to the relations between the linguistic message and the context.
|Translated title of the contribution||Late language development: Metapragmatic consciousness in school-aged children|
|Number of pages||12|
|State||Published - 1 Apr 2010|