The Use of Relative Clauses in Speech

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The elicitation task used in this study successfully instigated the production of relative clauses in the two groups of children and adults. There was no significant difference between the two groups of children in the use of RCs, although there was between the adults and children. Therefore, the children may have been too old to show the effect of developmental acquisition in the age range 5 to 8. As previous researchers have found (Utzeri, 2007; Tomasello, 2000; Diessel 2004), SRCs were produced unproblematically by both groups of children and adults, although as hypothesised, the production of ORCs were consistently avoided by all groups, but surprisingly in a greater number by the adults. These results validate the aims in this study, that children and adults are more likely to produce subject relative clauses than object relative clauses, that children and adults will be less accurate in the production of ORCs, and furthermore that there would be a correlation between the older group and adult production and avoidance strategies. Detailed analysis of the responses showed that both groups of children and the group of adults used more avoidance strategies in ORCs as opposed to SRCs. However, the adults only used one avoidance strategy, which was the passive, significantly in ORCs. Both groups of children continued to used structurally simpler and less complex constructions, such as the conjoined sentence and the simple sentence. These they used to avoid both SRCs and ORCs, although not significantly so. This would suggest that both groups of children are developing greater linguistic competence. The rest of this discussion will focus mainly on the possible reasons for the avoi... ... middle of paper ... ...05). Conversational versus expository discourse: A study of syntactic development in children, adolescents, and adults. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 48, 1048-1064. Nippold, M. A., Mansfield, T. C., Billow J. L., & Tomblin B. J. (2008). Expository discourse in adolescents with language impairments: Examining syntactic development. American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, 17, 356-366. Tager-Flusberg, H. (1982). The development of relative clauses in child speech. Papers and Re-ports on Child Language Development, 21, 104-111. Tomasello, M. 2000. Do Children Have Adult Syntactic Competence. Cognition 74: 209-253 Ozge, D. & Marinis, T. & Zeyrek, D. (2009). Comprehension of Subject and Object Relative Clauses in Monolingual Turkish Children. In: Proceedings of the 14th International Confer-ence on Turkish Linguistics. Harrassowitz.
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