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ERIC Number: ED081016
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1973-Sep
Pages: 18
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: 0
Some Syntactic Characteristics of Spoken and Written Discourse. Studies in Language Education, Report No. 4.
O'Donnell, Roy C.
This study investigated the written and oral discourse of a subject with an established reputation as an author, editor, lecturer, and television host, to determine whether his written discourse was more complex syntactically than his spoken discourse. The oral language sample was taken from a taped television program in which the speaker responded to questions asked by three guest journalists; the written sample was taken from four newspaper columns written by the speaker. The samples were then segmented into minimal terminal syntactic units and the words in each sample were counted, as were the clauses, nonfinite verbals, passive constructions, auxiliaries, and attributive adjectives. Findings revealed (1) the median length of syntactic units was significantly greater in the written language samples; (2) the proportion of syntactic units containing one or more dependent clauses was significantly greater in written samples; (3) oral samples did not show as high a frequency of gerunds, participles, attributive adjectives, passive constructions and modal and perfective auxiliaries; and (4) noun clauses, infinitives, and progressive auxiliaries were observed more often in spoken discourse. (HOD)
Publication Type: N/A
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: N/A
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: Georgia Univ., Athens. Dept. of Language Education.