ERIC Number: EJ1145904
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2017-May
Abstractor: As Provided
Spoken Language Production in Young Adults: Examining Syntactic Complexity
Nippold, Marilyn A.; Frantz-Kaspar, Megan W.; Vigeland, Laura M.
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, v60 n5 p1339-1347 May 2017
Purpose: In this study, we examined syntactic complexity in the spoken language samples of young adults. Its purpose was to contribute to the expanding knowledge base in later language development and to begin building a normative database of language samples that potentially could be used to evaluate young adults with known or suspected language impairment. Method: Forty adults (mean age = 22 years, 10 months) with typical language development participated in an interview that consisted of 3 speaking tasks: a general conversation about common, everyday topics; a narrative retelling task that involved fables; and a question-and-answer, critical-thinking task about the fables. Each speaker's interview was audio-recorded, transcribed, broken into communication units, coded for main and subordinate clauses, entered into Systematic Analysis of Language Transcripts (Miller, Iglesias, & Nockerts, 2004), and analyzed for mean length of communication unit and clausal density. Results: Both the narrative and critical-thinking tasks elicited significantly greater syntactic complexity than the conversational task. It was also found that syntactic complexity was significantly greater during the narrative task than the critical-thinking task. Conclusion: Syntactic complexity was best revealed by a narrative task that involved fables. The study offers benchmarks for language development during early adulthood.
Descriptors: Oral Language, Syntax, Structural Analysis (Linguistics), Interviews, Young Adults, Phrase Structure, Audio Equipment, Narration, Critical Thinking, Communication (Thought Transfer), Benchmarking, Language Acquisition, Coding, Computer Software, Computational Linguistics
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
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