ERIC Number: ED296564
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1986
Reference Count: N/A
A Study of Pragmatic Skill Development in Two Groups of Young Children: Mildly Retarded and Non-Handicapped.
Cooper, Carolyn S.
The study observed and compared the pragmatic skills of two mildly retarded and two nonhandicapped kindergarten children, focusing on their use of language in everyday conversational situations. A checklist developed by the investigator was used to record observations based on six categories of speech acts: commenting, answering, affirming, denying, directives, and other. Children were observed in their classrooms during free play and while engaged in both large and small group activities. Marked differences in pragmatic language skills of the two groups were observed. The nonhandicapped children used more speech acts that gave control and direction to their conversation. By contrast, speech acts of the mildly retarded children were generally reactive in nature, characterized by high rates of answering, affirming, and denying. Differences in types of directives were noted: nonhandicapped children used questions, while the handicapped children used short and repetitive imperatives. Type of activity also led to observed differences. The handicapped children were observed to be more comfortable speaking in settings which gave structure to their conversation, while the nonhandicapped children appeared to be more at ease talking in loosely structured activities. (Author/JW)
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Department of Education, Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: Kansas Univ., Lawrence. School of Education.
Note: Print in Table 1 is small and light.