chapter  9
14 Pages

The Developmental Stylistics of Young Writers' Communicative Intentions

Research over the past 30 years indicates that even young children are able to use oral language to communicate effectively in a variety of situations (Warren-Leubecker & Bohannon, 1989). In their conversation, preschoolers can maintain topics, take turns appropriately, and elicit replies from conversational partners. They simplify their sentences when speaking to very young children. When asked to adopt various roles, they can adapt their language according to their role as speaker and the role of their partner. They can understand indirect requests made by peers or parents. They can judge between the "niceness" of pairs of requests like I want a candy and I would like a candy; and even 2-year-olds can increase the politeness of their requests when prompted to do so. Of course, their ability to adjust their speech to the situation improves with age.