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Children who grow up exposed to more than one language face a range of challenges and developmental environments which differ from those of monolinguals. Recently, studies have suggested that this may lead to differences in the development of pragmatic skills and sensitivity to sociopragmatic cues. We investigate whether bilingually exposed children are able to make further use of these cues in an ostensive teaching setting for word learning in a sample of 110 children aged 4 to 6 years old and find evidence that bilingual children do perform significantly better in ostensive teaching settings when asked to use pragmatic cues to derive the meaning of a novel word. We discuss implications for theories of pragmatics and bilingual development.

Original publication




Journal article


Pragmatics and Cognition

Publication Date





31 - 58