Development of Multi-level Linguistic Alignment in Child-adult Conversations
Thomas Misiek | Benoit Favre | Abdellah Fourtassi
Proceedings of the Workshop on Cognitive Modeling and Computational Linguistics
Interactive alignment is a major mechanism of linguistic coordination. Here we study the way this mechanism emerges in development across the lexical, syntactic, and conceptual levels. We leverage NLP tools to analyze a large-scale corpus of child-adult conversations between 2 and 5 years old. We found that, across development, children align consistently to adults above chance and that adults align consistently more to children than vice versa (even controlling for language production abilities). Besides these consistencies, we found a diversity of developmental trajectories across linguistic levels. These corpus-based findings provide strong support for an early onset of multi-level linguistic alignment in children and invites new experimental work.