Individual differences in teenagers and adults’ mastery of connectives from the written mode - Speaker: Sandrine Zufferey

Sandrine Zufferey

Center for the Study of Language and Society (CSLS) – University of Bern

Individual differences are found in all aspects of language acquisition, and remain visible in the way adult speakers process and understand their mother tongue (e.g., Kidd, Donnelly & Christiansen, 2017 for a review). These individual differences are even more pronounced for written language competence, such as reading comprehension and writing skills (Kamhi & Hinton, 2001). In this presentation, I will focus on one type of individual variation linked to written language competence: the individual differences in the ability to use connectives from the written mode. I will trace the emerge of these differences during teenage years, and explore their persistence among adult native speakers. I will argue that the important differences of competence observed for the French connectives included in our experiments can be explained by their frequency in language use. I will also show that the mastery of these connectives varies depending on people’s degree of familiarity with the written mode, as measured by their level of exposure to print.