The use of the past tense in games of pretend

Lodge, K. R. (1979) The use of the past tense in games of pretend. Journal of Child Language, 6 (2). pp. 365-369. ISSN 0305-0009

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This note is concerned with the way in which children use tense to distinguish between different realities in games of pretend. I shall attempt to relate this phenomenon to a general feature of English grammar and suggest a social interpretation of this feature as well. My data are based on observation of my daughter and her friends engaged in pretend-games over the past five years. At the time of writing she is ten, and I noted the linguistic feature under discussion shortly after she had gone to school. I have also noted the phenomenon in children of about four (i.e. of pre-school age) who regularly play with older children. The feature is quite simple: the simple past tense form is used for giving ‘stage directions’ for a game of pretend (usually in association with dressing up) rather than the general ('present') tense. The following gives an example of this usage in the context of a game.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: language and linguistics,experimental and cognitive psychology,developmental and educational psychology,linguistics and language,psychology(all) ,/dk/atira/pure/subjectarea/asjc/1200/1203
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Arts and Humanities > School of Language and Communication Studies (former - to 2014)
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Depositing User: LivePure Connector
Date Deposited: 13 Jun 2022 08:30
Last Modified: 05 Aug 2023 00:52
DOI: 10.1017/S0305000900002361

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