ERIC Number: ED023486
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1967
Reference Count: 0
The Acquisition of Linguistic Structure. Technical Report VIII, A Study in the Acquisition of Language: Free Responses to Commands.
Shipley, Elizabeth F.; And Others
To determine whether children's language patterns are learned responses or inherently organized, this study observed children's responses to commands. The 13 subjects were middle class children aged 18 to 30 months. The children were rated as verbally mature, intermediate, or immature; and responses were classified as action, verbal, and relevant. The children's mothers gave syntactically varied commands (adults' and children's language patterns) and semantically varied commands (English and nonsense words). The results showed that the children responded more to the well-formed command. There was a significantly positive relationship between verbal maturity and obedience to command. A significant number of children responded less frequently to nonsense commands than English words except to repeat the command. The only relationship between responses and verbal maturity occurred where the verbally mature child repeated the nonsense command. Three conclusions were reached: (1) the child does make distinctions at some stage, although it may not be evident in speech; (2) the distinctions vary with verbal maturity; and (3) the child has some means of organizing language to control new information. A number of references are cited, and data are included in appendixes. (JS)
Publication Type: N/A
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: National Institutes of Health (DHEW), Bethesda, MD.
Authoring Institution: Eastern Pennsylvania Psychiatric Inst., Philadelphia.