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Tag questions

I have a few questions about tag questions: For example: P It is a red ball, huh? P You can't open it, can you? P It's your ball, isn't it? P Let's not do that, OK? We had a few things were curious about concerning tag questions. The first is that children in our samples do not often respond to tag questions (often, the intonation from the adult seems to be a statement rather than a question). Our understanding of SALT is that after each utterance is marked with a question mark, SALT will analyze the immediately following response from the child as "Responses to Questions". Therefore, if children in our samples don't usually respond to tag questions but the adult in the sample is constantly using them, we worried if this would affect responses negatively? Would it be advisable to end the tag question with a period if intonation suggests that the phrase with the tag is being used more as a comment rather than a true question? Posted by SALT Support Staff Sep 21, 2014

One thought on “Tag questions”

  • Salt Support

    You are correct that SALT calculates response to questions by looking at each of the examiner questions to see if the following utterance is a child utterance. So if there are a lot of unanswered tag questions, the child’s responses to questions will be negatively affected. So it seems reasonable to end tag questions with a period, rather than a question mark, if you can tell from the intonation that it is more of a statement than a question. Following that logic, any question, tag or otherwise, that isn't really a question should not end with a question mark.
    Posted by SALT Support Staff Sep 21, 2014

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