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date: 28 January 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Children growing up in vastly different cultural contexts acquire language. To many, this strongly suggests that the mechanisms of language development are universal. Yet it is also possible that, at least to some extent, children develop language in idiosyncratic ways. This possibility is motivated by seeing language as a cultural tool and its development as part of broader processes of enculturation and socialization. In the first part of this chapter, the authors emphasize the sensitivity of language development to social factors. This sensitivity leads both to common principles of language development and variability in development. In the second part of the chapter, the authors focus on the development of linguistic tools related to the management of interactions, such as expressions of affective and epistemic stance and politeness. They conclude by considering the scope, nature, and methods of examining the relation between language development and culture.

Keywords: language development, culture, socialization, emotion, epistemic expressions, politeness, indirect directives

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