ERIC Number: ED151770
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1978-Mar
Reference Count: 0
Developmental Trends in Children's Judgments of Disturbing Elements in Sentences.
Gowie, Cheryl J.; Powers, James E.
The first half of this document reports on research that explores the ways in which knowledge of the world affects judgments of sentence acceptability. Sixty children in grades four through eight were studied at two times, one year apart. The subjects were first interviewed regarding their knowledge of the world in order to identify their role expectations. Subjects were then asked to judge the acceptability of 10 sentences--all of the same syntactic structure--five of which were constructed to reflect subjects' expectations, five to contradict them. (For example, "the girl promises the mother to make the bed" and "the father promises the boy to shoot the squirtgun.") For sentences judged unacceptable, subjects were asked to trace the problem to either semantic, syntactic, or cognitive constraints. Results show that sentences were found unacceptable more frequently when they contradicted subjects' expectations than when they reflected the subjects' prior knowledge of the world. The second half of the paper examines these results in the effort to discover the dimensions of a well-formed sentence, on the basis of which children make judgments of acceptability, and to reveal how the role of prior knowledge changes with children's growth. Three tables and two figures that diagram research results are included. (CC)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (Toronto, Canada, March 27-31, 1977)