Between early childhood and adulthood, language acquisition is succeeded by a bloom of repertoire for managing interaction, a growing sensitivity to the relation of language and society, an expanding ability to wield power through the strategic use of language, and an increasing sophistication in framing speech activities. This book examines a wide range of language practices among school-age children and teenagers, using data from naturally occurring recorded talk and from careful observation of interaction in peer groups. The contributors analyze talk at play, at school, and at work, documenting the growing communicative skills of young people while always focusing on what young speakers themselves do with (and through) language. Theoretical constructs to which the contributors appeal include Goffman's notion of footing and Hymes' communicative competence, as well as multiple characterizations of discourse structure. The chapters show older children as strategic language users, dynamic actors who are often concerned with defining themselves as a distinctive group, different from adults, yet who just as often display proficiency at sophisticated discourse activities that presage those of adulthood.
- Publication Date:
- 21 / 08 / 1998