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Title:Anaphoric reference in oral narratives of 6- and 7-year-old children
Author(s):Wiley, Harolynn Marie Okita
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Johnson, Cynthia J.
Department / Program:Speech and Hearing Science
Discipline:Speech and Hearing Science
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Health Sciences, Speech Pathology
Psychology, Developmental
Abstract:The present study investigates 6- to 7-year-old children's ability to use anaphoric pronominal reference in oral narratives. For frequency of anaphoric pronoun use, there appears to be a significant difference between child and adult performance. Although children and adults generally refer to the same categories of noun referents, children evidence a greater number of noun referents in their narratives. Age was found to be a significant factor for appropriate use of nominals and pronominals with respect to their function within narratives. Children tend to rely heavily on using pronominals to serve both in maintaining reference (correct usage) as well as switching reference (incorrect usage) to characters and objects in stories. Children are significantly better at appropriate usage of nominals and pronominals for the unstructured conversational narrative than for the structured narrative of story retelling. Within-group comparison of child subjects according to their scores on the Peabody Individual Achievement Test indicate that even small differences in reading ability were significantly related to increases in appropriate functional usage of nominals and pronominals in narratives.
The overall purpose of the present study was to identify the linguistic performance of children who, at this age-level, have just begun their formal school careers. It does appear that they are operating with a high degree of accuracy in terms of anaphora, although aspects of development such as the ability to appropriately match form to function are still not equivalent to adult performance. It further appears that the form-function mapping of anaphoric reference is in a critical stage of development in the 6- to 7-year-old. This suggests that other linguistic "forms" may be at critical periods due to the fact that language demands on the child are increasing according to the changing expectations of the academic and social environment.
Issue Date:1991
Rights Information:Copyright 1991 Wiley, Harolynn Marie Okita
Date Available in IDEALS:2011-05-07
Identifier in Online Catalog:AAI9211035
OCLC Identifier:(UMI)AAI9211035

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