ERIC Number: ED079741
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1973
Reference Count: N/A
Teaching a Second Language: Sentence Length and Syntax. NCTE Research Report No. 14.
Stieglitz, Francine B.
The effect of sentence length and syntactic structure on the repeatability of sentences by native and foreign speakers of English was investigated in this study using 18 native English speakers, 30 advanced foreign students, and 114 intermediate level foreign students. Eighty-four sentences were presented for repetition, varying according to word length (5, 8, and 11 words), sentence pattern (NVN, NVPN, and NVNPN), and type of sentence expansion (adjuncts, restrictive adjective clauses, and end adverbial clauses). Each subject was presented all of the sentences in one session; the responses were tape recorded. The test was divided in half, with sentences randomly ordered within each half. Results showed that the easiest pattern was NVN and the most difficult was NVNPN; the end adverbial clause was the easiest type of sentence expansion and the adjunct was the most difficult. Given the same pattern and type of expansion, 8-word sentences were easier to repeat than 11-word sentences. Foreign students made the most errors in changing singular nouns to plurals and vice versa in 8-word sentences and made more errors omitting items in 11-word sentences. It was concluded that the ability to repeat a sentence correctly depends on syntactic structure as measured by sentence pattern, expansion, and number of words in a sentence. (HOD)
Descriptors: College Students, English (Second Language), Foreign Students, Language Proficiency, Language Research, Pattern Drills (Language), Sentence Structure, Syntax
National Council of Teachers of English, 1111 Kenyon Rd., Urbana, Ill. 61801 (Stock No. 16253, $2.50 non-member, $2.25 member)
Publication Type: N/A
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: National Council of Teachers of English, Urbana, IL.