This book provides new insight into the development of the child's ability to become a competent participant in conversation. The author combines a pragmatic analysis of the functions language can perform with an innovative and extensive empirical investigation of the development of young children's language use and sociocognitive skills. She gives a detailed description of the development of children's language between the ages of three-and-a-half and seven, broadens the scope of theorizing about language development by placing it in relation to the development of social understanding, and provides a new framework for understanding speech problems and designing ways to solve them. It is the first study to find a strong link between language, sociocognitive development, and social development. It will be welcomed by child language specialists, developmental and social psychologists, conversation and discourse analysts, and their advanced students.