Antaki, C and Kent, A (2015) Offering alternatives as a way of issuing directives to children: Putting the worse option last. Journal of Pragmatics, 78. 25 -38. ISSN 0378-2166

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In a corpus of c. 250 h of recorded interactions between young children and adults in USA and UK households, we found that children could be directed to change their course of action by three syntactic formats that offered alternatives: an imperative, or a modal declarative, plus a consequential alternative to non-compliance (e.g. come down at once or I shall send you straight to bed; you’ve got to stand here with it or it goes back in the cupboard), or an interrogative requiring a preference (e.g. do you want to put them neatly in the corner for mummy please or do you wanna go to bed). Formatted syntactically as or-alternatives, these can perform the actions both of warning and threatening. But they make a ‘bad’ course of action contiguous to the child's turn. We argue that adults choose this format because the interactional preference for contiguity makes the negative alternative the more salient one. This implies that adults attribute to children the ability to appreciate the flouting of preference organisation for deontic effect.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: CA, Directives, Children, Alternatives, Conditional connectives, Threats, Warnings
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Divisions: Faculty of Natural Sciences > School of Psychology
Related URLs:
Depositing User: Symplectic
Date Deposited: 16 Jun 2016 13:06
Last Modified: 07 May 2019 11:27

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