ERIC Number: ED166671
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1978-Dec
Reference Count: 0
Why Short Subjects Are Harder to Find Than Long Ones. Technical Report No. 466.
Read, Charles; And Others
This paper examines certain of the cues to surface constituency that are salient to children in the comprehension of syntactic structure. Accessibility is studied through a set of experiments requiring seven-year-old children to repeat certain syntactic constituents. These children can correctly identify subjects and also predicate phrases with surprising accuracy, but their performance appears to depend heavily on prosodic cues, as indicated by the poorer success of children in identifying single pronoun subjects and subjects of sentences with misleading intonation contours. It is argued that duration (phrase-final lengthening) is an especially important cue in children's comprehension of structure and that children may be more heavily dependent on prosodic cues as signals of syntactic structure than are adults. Finally, it is suggested that children's reliance on prosodic cues may relate to the difficulty that many beginning readers have in comprehending what they read (even when they can identify the individual words in a written sentence), since prosodic cues are not systematically preserved in written language. (Author)
Descriptors: Comprehension, Cues, Educational Research, Grade 2, Intellectual Development, Language Patterns, Language Processing, Language Research, Language Rhythm, Listening Comprehension, Phonology, Phrase Structure, Primary Education, Reading Comprehension, Research Reports, Suprasegmentals, Surface Structure, Syntax, Verbal Development
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: National Inst. of Education (DHEW), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: Wisconsin Univ., Madison. Research and Development Center for Individualized Schooling.
Note: Not available in hard copy due to print quality; Best copy available