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UBC Theses and Dissertations

The comprehension of the relational terms because and so by preschool children Welsh, Elizabeth Therese


The comprehension of the relational terms because and so was investigated in preschoolers aged 3;3 - 5;8. The children were told short stories and then were asked to complete sentences that dealt with story content and contained these words. The experiment was designed to see whether age, familiarity with story content, the use of pictures, or the particular term (because vs. so) would affect children’s answers. The results indicated that increasing age and familiarity of story content significantly improved performance. Three year olds provided correct answers only for the stories with familiar content, while five year olds were beginning to succeed even when the story content was new. There was also evidence that pictorial cues had a different effect for the two different relational terms, and that pictorial cues interacted with content familiarity in a characteristic manner at different ages. Findings from this st.udy provide support for a model of lexical development in which the first uses of relational terms are context dependent. This could indicate that early lexical representations are incomplete or that the processing of complex sentential relationships can exceed children’ s attentional resources.

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