ERIC Number: ED198704
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1978-Aug
Understanding Sentences in Contexts: Some Developmental Studies.
Tyler, Lorraine K.; Marslen-Wilson, William D.
Dutch children (ten five year olds and ten seven year olds) were asked to repeat two-clause sentences that varied in internal semantic cohesiveness. Results showed that semantic factors were primary in determining the five year olds' performance, while seven year olds, though possibly not insensitive to semantic variables, were retaining syntactic information about both high and low cohesion sentences. In a second experiment, 40 English children aged five or seven were asked to repeat variably cohesive sentences in which each of two clauses was, with respect to previously read material, either repetitious, informative, or irrelevant. Five year olds were shown to be more dependent on word order for semantic integration in that they performed best with a repetitious/informative model. Seven year olds could rapidly semantically integrate sentences with a variety of information structures. With regard to integration errors and first clause omissions, asymmetries appeared between the five and seven year olds which indicated that the former were more limited than the latter in the kind of information that was sufficiently rapidly integrated to allow for the appearance of over-integration errors. These results indicate that the developmental sequence in question is one in which the basic skill is the interpretation of utterances in their context. (JB)
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Stanford Univ., CA. Dept. of Linguistics.