ERIC Number: ED215570
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1974
Reference Count: N/A
Basic Inferencing in Discourse.
Shuy, Roger W.
This paper contends that children's failure to demonstrate predictable gains in reading ability may be attributable to the failure of the teaching program to focus on strategies involving larger and larger chunking of the language accesses. Teaching programs in reading should be constructed to develop middle-level reading skills. Such programs would call on a child's knowledge of syntax and pragmatics--a knowledge about how language is used. Incorporating pragmatics into a theory of reading aids the child's acquisition of the ability to spot implicatures, to understand what is left unsaid, to skip over redundancies, to spot the important, to skim over the unimportant, and to accomplish many other highly important cognitive processes. The development of functional language competence is essential to reading. Functional language includes reference to context, discourse, conversation, and language use over language form. When constructing reading materials it is necessary to attend to some common misconceptions about clarity and simplicity. Among these are that (1) a limited vocabulary or limited sentence patterns yield clarity, (2) short items are better than long items, (3) repetition contributes to clarity, (4) simplicity is equivalent to clarity, and (5) Latinate vocabulary is more complex than Anglo-Saxon words. (JK)
Descriptors: Child Language, Cognitive Processes, Communicative Competence (Languages), Context Clues, Discourse Analysis, Elementary Education, Language Acquisition, Morphemes, Phoneme Grapheme Correspondence, Pragmatics, Psycholinguistics, Reading Instruction, Reading Research, Sentences, Sociolinguistics, Syllables, Syntax, Vocabulary Development
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: National Inst. of Education (DHEW), Washington, DC. Teaching and Learning Div.
Authoring Institution: Center for Applied Linguistics, Washington, DC.