ERIC Number: ED331023
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1990-Aug
Reference Count: 0
Using Headlines To Illustrate the Role of Context in Language Processing.
The role of context in language is so obvious that, paradoxically, it often goes unnoticed by students who are studying it. Newspaper headlines (real and contrived) can be used to demonstrate to students the context dependency of language. The simplest version of such a demonstration takes 5 minutes; the longest version takes about 20 minutes. Students in two classes were presented with a demonstration. Fifty students in the first class read the headlines to judge their reality; 48 students in the second class assessed whether the headlines were real and were asked to generate interpretations of others. Results indicated that when students were told only to read the headlines, they tended to identify the obvious meanings of the headlines, even when the intended meaning was not the obvious one. The different forms of the demonstration are useful in different ways, depending on how much time is spent on the topic of ambiguity. The short version is suitable for a quick demonstration of some fairly general points; the longer versions generate results that lead to deeper discussion of the role of context in comprehension. (One table of data is included; the short and long versions of the demonstration are attached.) (RS)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Guides - Classroom - Teacher; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Newspaper Headlines
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Psychological Association (98th, Boston, MA, August 10-14, 1990).