A longitudinal analysis of young children's use of cohesion in oral narratives

Dodsworth, Pamela Rose (1990) A longitudinal analysis of young children's use of cohesion in oral narratives. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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    Available under License - The author retains copyright ownership and moral rights in this thesis. Neither the thesis nor substantial extracts from it may be printed or otherwise reproduced without the author's permission.
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Abstract

The early development of nine cohesive devices (pronominal reference, demonstrative reference, comparative reference, clausal ellipsis, verbal ellipsis, nominal ellipsis, substitution, conjunction and lexical cohesion) was examined in an 18 month longitudinal study of narratives in 10 children from approximately age 2 to 3 1/2 years. The types of noun errors made in their narratives were also explored. The study shows that the total number of cohesive ties used increased with both increasing age and mean length of utterance (MLU). The children showed an increase in the use of pronominal reference and conjunctions as they matured and a decrease in verbal and clausal ellipsis. Furthermore, specific cohesive devices were acquired at different times with substitution the last to appear, preceded by comparative reference and nominal ellipsis at a lower MLU. The remaining six cohesive devices were present in the earliest speech samples elicited. The total number of noun and pronoun errors declined with increasing age and MLU. Specifically, inferable and non-inferable omissions declined over time. However, it was found that when children introduced new nouns and pronouns into their narratives, approximately one out of five remained ambiguous throughout the course of the study. In general, the children's stories become more comprehensible as the children mature because their use of cohesion improves and error production declines. However, they still have difficulty in properly introducing new nouns into their narratives at 3 1/2 years of age.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
URI: http://research.library.mun.ca/id/eprint/5855
Item ID: 5855
Additional Information: Bibliography: leaves 71-76.
Department(s): Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of > Psychology
Science, Faculty of > Psychology
Date: 1990
Date Type: Submission
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Cohesion (Linguistics); Discourse analysis, Narrative; Language acquisition; Children--Language

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