• Journal of child language · Aug 2006

    I'm sorry I said that: apologies in young children's discourse.

    • Richard Ely and Jean Berko Gleason.
    • Department of Psychology, Boston University, 64 Cummington Street, Boston, MA 02215, USA. rely@bu.edu
    • J Child Lang. 2006 Aug 1; 33 (3): 599-620.

    AbstractWe examined children's use of apology terms in parent-child discourse. Longitudinal data from 9 children (5 males, 4 females) between the ages of 1;2 and 6;1 were analysed. Before 2;0, the use of apology terms was rare. Thereafter, several developmental trends were noted including a decrease with age in directly elicited apologies and an increase in indirectly elicited apologies. With age children's apologies also became more elaborate. Children were exposed to apology terms primarily through apologies directed to them and, to a lesser degree, in talk about apologies. Our study documents young children's early mastery of an important pragmatic skill and identifies parents' role in its acquisition.

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