ERIC Number: ED173857
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1975
Reference Count: 0
Synchronic and Diachronic Analysis of Linguistic Factors in the Written Composition of High School Students.
Leffert, Beatrice G.
Student editorials and letters to the editor that appeared in selected school newspapers during two school years (1949-1950 and 1973-1974) were analyzed to determine whether the more recent writing revealed characteristics usually associated with oral expression, a hypothetically negative influence of television viewing. In the analysis, only five of forty factors that were specifically chosen for their relationship to oral expression yielded significant change toward oral expression, suggesting that little movement toward oral style in formal writing had actually occurred. The lack of significant regional differences in editorials on 39 of the 40 factors might indicate national uniformity, although clusters of high frequencies of particular usage in papers from a region might indicate a tendency toward regional styles. Dale-Chall readability levels were lower for 1949-1950 materials than for 1974-1975 materials, with significant differences between the editorials and letters of 1949-1950, but no significant differences between the editorials and letters of 1973-1974. The findings appear to support the conclusion that vocabulary has expanded and syntax has become simplified in the 25 years between sampled materials. These changes appear to be evolutionary in nature, requiring attendant changes in instructional emphasis and the revision of the Dale-Chall readability formula. (RL)
Descriptors: Content Analysis, Descriptive Linguistics, Diachronic Linguistics, Language Usage, Language Variation, Oral Language, Readability, School Newspapers, Secondary Education, Structural Analysis, Student Publications, Syntax, Trend Analysis, Vocabulary, Writing (Composition), Writing Skills
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Research prepared at Hofstra University