Developmental Science

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Volume 6 Issue 2 (April 2003), Pages 119-231

Children's early theory of mind: exploring the development of the concept of desire in monolingual Spanish children (pages 159-165)


This paper presents the results of an analysis of the lexical term ‘querer’ (want) qua genuine reference to desire. The instances of ‘querer’ to be analyzed were taken from the naturally occurring speech of monolingual speakers of Spanish. Specifically, a database of 24,558 child utterances taken from the CHILDES system was analyzed. This corpus yielded 444 utterances with the desire term ‘querer’. The utterances belong to several children whose ages range from 21 to 46 months. The results of this study support the hypothesis that children consistently refer to desire at around 2 years of age and that children undergo a marked increase in their reference to this concept at 36 months of age, although it is not yet clear whether they start referring to their own desires before those of someone else.

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