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The Developing Communicator: Pragmatics, Sense Conventions and Non-Literal Uses of Language

Total Cost €


EC-Contrib. €






Project "DEVCOM" data sheet

The following table provides information about the project.


Organization address
address: PROBLEMVEIEN 5-7
city: OSLO
postcode: 313

contact info
title: n.a.
name: n.a.
surname: n.a.
function: n.a.
email: n.a.
telephone: n.a.
fax: n.a.

 Coordinator Country Norway [NO]
 Total cost 1˙500˙000 €
 EC max contribution 1˙500˙000 € (100%)
 Programme 1. H2020-EU.1.1. (EXCELLENT SCIENCE - European Research Council (ERC))
 Code Call ERC-2019-STG
 Funding Scheme ERC-STG
 Starting year 2020
 Duration (year-month-day) from 2020-07-01   to  2025-06-30


Take a look of project's partnership.

# participants  country  role  EC contrib. [€] 
1    UNIVERSITETET I OSLO NO (OSLO) coordinator 1˙485˙511.00


 Project objective

Children are born communicators. A growing body of developmental evidence suggests that the cognitive abilities enabling the expression and comprehension of communicative intentions – so-called pragmatic abilities – which underlie language use and understanding, develop early. However, a puzzling feature of pragmatic development is young children’s difficulties with non-literal uses of language (e.g., “I love you so much I could eat you up!”). How can children be early experts at a range of pragmatically complex tasks requiring attention to speakers’ intentions, but act like ‘literal listeners’ in other contexts? The objective of DEVCOM is to provide an account of the stages and factors involved in children’s developing competence with non-literal uses of language. The project will investigate the novel hypothesis that children’s growing sensitivity to sense conventions, which determine the publicly accepted meaning of words in their language, impedes children’s pragmatic reasoning with non-literal uses in the pre-school years. The empirical data will be gleaned from experimental studies with typically developing children aged 2-7 years, focusing on lexical innovation, lexical modulation, and figurative language, each highlighting the interaction of pragmatic reasoning with sensitivity to sense conventions in a distinct way. Further, the project will investigate whether the persistent difficulties with non-literal uses faced by children with Autism Spectrum Disorder may be linked to the same source. The project will use a set of novel methodologies combining explicit and implicit measures, assuming that while children’s performance on explicit measures is liable to be affected by a growing sensitivity to sense conventions, implicit measures may be more revealing of their actual pragmatic abilities. The empirical results will provide input to a novel theoretical account of pragmatic development that resolves the developmental puzzle of non-literal uses of language.

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The information about "DEVCOM" are provided by the European Opendata Portal: CORDIS opendata.

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