2014 | 1 | 1 | 2-14
Article title

Origins of discursive and rhetorical practices. Rhetorical perspectives on children’s language acquisition

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Children’s language acquisition is normally explained either in biological, nativist or in functionalist and usage based terms. The main thesis of this article is that rhetorical terminology introduced by Aristotle is fruitful for our understanding of the development process children go through when learning language. Introducing rhetoric to descriptions of children’s language acquisition presupposes the presence of rhetoric in all communicative practices. This article introduces the concept of a civic art of rhetoric as developed by Eugene Garver in his reading of Aristotle as a theoretical framework for describing what characterizes children’s earliest communication. The article should therefore be understood as a discussion of rhetorical concepts relevant for describing children’s language acquisition. This approach highlights language acquisition as a cultural practice and children’s fi rst communication as something more than just imperfect verbal communication.
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