ERIC Number: ED163771
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1977-Aug
Reference Count: N/A
From Conversation to Syntax. Papers and Reports on Child Language Development, No. 13.
Ervin-Tripp, Susan M.
Previous research has shown how macro-structures can affect children's verbalizations. This study focuses on whether conversational contexts of forms are learned along with syntax, on what makes syntax, and on how to predict speech. Transcripts of videotapes of young children provided a matrix of function or act against actual utterance, wherein the most concrete formulation preserving function was sought. Analytic categories needed for this purpose were (proper) NAME, ACT, OBJ (of action), and (concrete) OBJECT. Findings show that: (1) starting with function categories results in massive simplification of early speech data; (2) production rules must include reactions to prior talk and surrounding circumstances; (3) the degree of syntactic abstractness or generality changes in proportion to function, context and discourse information included in the production rules; (4) syntactic rules derived from textual data depend strongly on the type of interaction sampled; and (5) clinical analysis of some child texts show that "bursts of syntax" or outer limit lengths combined with new syntactic complexity occur under highly motivated situations. Pragmatic, conversational, and circumstantial contexts can all radically alter what is displayed of the child's knowledge. It is concluded that clarifying structural organization at other levels also clarifies the syntactic apparatus used to accomplish cohesion, procedural repair work, interpersonal goals, and referential semantic communication. (MHP)
Descriptors: Child Development, Child Language, Communication Skills, Discourse Analysis, Language Acquisition, Language Research, Linguistic Competence, Literature Reviews, Parent Child Relationship, Parent Influence, Pragmatics, Preschool Children, Speech Communication, Structural Analysis, Syntax, Verbal Development, Verbal Stimuli
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Stanford Univ., CA. Dept. of Linguistics.