Adult-child discourse: The conversational relevance of pauses

Holly K. Craig, Tanya M. Gallagher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The present investigation examined 2 to 3 year old children's responses to pauses compared to their responses to other classes of adult behavior within child initiated request sequences. The results indicated that the children responded differentially to neutral and negative adult responses. However, only some, children made a similar distinction between long pauses, inter-utterance pauses greater than one second, and short pauses, inter-utterance pauses of one second or less. The data contributes to our understanding of the young child's responses to pauses and highlights the need for empirical validation of discourse segmentation procedures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)347-360
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Pragmatics
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 1983
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Artificial Intelligence


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