The expression of reference by Dutch children of 4, 6 and 8 years old
Horst, M.L. van der
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Purpose: this study examines the use of linguistic means for the expression of reference by Dutch children of 4, 6 and 8 years old. Method: 110 children are included in this study. The expression of reference was studied in a narrative task of a Dutch language test and compared to an adult control group existing of 10 adults. Results: A significant effect was found for number of words and sentences (MLU) in the narratives. Furthermore there is a significant effect of age on the percentages correct and incorrect references. Age has a significant effect on some, but not all, categorized errors. Conclusions: the findings suggest a relationship between age and expression of reference: 8 years old children use more reference in their stories than the 4 year old group, and incorrect reference use diminishes with age. In contrast to the literature, an 8 year old child does not perform adultlike in expressing reference.