SES Differences in Children’s Argumentative Production


  • Maia Julieta Migdalek
  • Celia Renata Rosemberg


Recent studies have examined the argumentative strategies used by young children in everyday situations as well as in experimental settings. However, differences in argumentative production as a function of Socio-Economic Status (SES) have been minimally explored. This study aims to analyze eventual differences regarding social group in the use of argumentative strategies and connectors marking causal and adversative relationships within these strategies. The corpus is 615 disputes occurred during play situations in the homes of 39 4-year old children living in Buenos Aires, Argentina: 453 of mid SES children and 162 of low SES. Argumentative strategies were codified using a system of inductively derived categories: a) the reiteration of the child’s point of view; b) the narration of previous experiences; c) the anticipation of courses of action; d) generalization; e) the description of the characteristics of an object, event or internal state; f) referencing authority; g) the mitigation of the point of view; h) providing an alternative proposal. Results show that in both social groups the use of an argumentative strategy to sustain the point of view predominates over merely stating the point of view. Additionally, we found significant differences in a) Reiteration strategy, with the low SES group showing a greater use of this strategy and b) Generalization and Description strategies, with the mid SES children employing these ones more frequently. Regarding the connectors, significant differences were only detected in the use of consecutive and adversative markers. The mid SES group showed a greater use of these particular connectors.