, Volume 22, Issue 2, pp 273-290
Date: 23 Jan 2008

Variation in the Use of Pronouns as a Function of the Topic of Argumentation in Young Writers Aged 11 Years

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Abstract

In our view, the ability to impose moral values which may be, to some extent, either shared or conflictual, influences the strategy adopted when writing argumentative texts. Our hypothesis is that the greater the socio-moral distance between the writers’ representations (the writers in this case being children) and those of the recipients (here the parents), the more likely it is that writing will be successful. Three topics derived from a preliminary experiment and corresponding to significant differences in opinion between children and parents were tested in a population of 11-year-old pupils. The pupils had to write a letter designed to convince their parents about one of these topics. We analyzed the texts in order to identify the different configurations in the frequencies of use of the pronouns (frequencies of Je (I), Tu (You), Il (He), On (One/We)) and adverbs. These frequencies differed depending on the topic that was being written about (the moral context that is mobilized).