Argumentation in pre-adolescents: Description of the complexity and depth in their discursive structure
Among the various discursive modes, argumentation is considered the most complex and, therefore, its acquisition has a central place in late orality, i.e., which takes place during school age. It is estimated that during this stage, the child not only acquires the elements of argumentation, but also learns to make them more complex to meet their communication objectives. In this framework, the present work is a qualitative study of descriptive scope that examines the argumentative complexity of 18 pre-adolescents of 11 years. The data were obtained from a moral dilemma task that led the children, organized in pairs, to resolve a difference of opinion in the context of a dialogic interaction. Pragma-dialectics was used in the analysis, in particular it focused on the structure of the argumentation to observe the interconnection of arguments within the discourse at different levels of embedding. Our findings reveal that children are capable of constructing and organizing complex argumentative discourse. Specifically, this can be seen in the explicitness and richness of the levels of sub-argumentation that is manifested in its argumentative structure.