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ERIC Number: ED041878
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1967
Pages: 8
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: 0
Grammatical Structures in the Speech of Children: A Transformational Analysis.
O'Donnell, Roy C.; And Others
Journal of Experimental Education, v36 n2 p70-7 W 1967
The techniques of transformational grammar can be used effectively to identify and describe significant differences in the language competencies of children at several grade levels. The oral language responses of 150 elementary school children and 30 kindergartners (selected at random) to two silent, animated films of Aesop's "Fables" were transcribed and segmented into syntatic units for linguistic analysis. Among the findings of the analysis are (1) that the length of compositions, the length of minimal terminable syntactic units (T-units), and the number of sentence-combining transformations per T-unit increase with advance in grade, particularly during grades 1 and 5, signifying important stages in the development of language complexity, (2) that nominal constructions containing adjectives, participles, and prepositional phrases show significant increments in the rate of occurence at each advance in grade level, and (3) that boys surpass girls, except in grade 5, in length of compositions and of T-units, and in the use of nominal and coordinate constructions. (Included are nine tables to indicate such data as mean number of words used per T-unit and compostion, and structural patterns of main clauses and of grammatically incomplete constructions in boys' and girls' speech at six grade levels.) (See also ED 017 508.) (JB)
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