AbstractThe aim of this research is to study three types of cohesive devices that give sense to text:
1. Tense and aspect in relation to verbs
2. Reference to people ( eg "he")
3. Connectors, links between prepositions
This is in order to know the influence of variable age in the use of these devices in a narrative
A cross- sectional study was carried out in order to investigate the use of the three cohesive devices ( tense and aspect, reference to people and connectors in a narrative) by children of different ages, adults and elderly people
Sixty children, 30 boys and 30 girls, aged 3,5,7,9,11 an 13 ( 10 children for each group) and 10 adults aged 20 on average( 5 men and 5 women) as well as 10 elderly people ( 5 men and 5 women, aged 72 on average) participated in this study. All of them were Catalan speakers
Procedure and material
Participants were individually interviewed and were videotaped for data collection. Two stories, A and B, were shown to the participants. The narratives were elicited by the following instruction " Here, are some pictures that make a story, look at them and, then, tell me what you see".
The sessions were transcribed and coded within the CHAT format (CHILDES System, McWhinney, 1994)
Narrative context, which means the instruction given by the experimenter as well as the knowledge, shared by the participant and the experimenter, since they are looking at the same pictures- influences basically the use of the tense and the references to people . In fact, the majority of participants use present tense in the two stories . Few participants use past tense in order to produce the two narratives. On the other hand, a large number of participants use the a pro-drop form, when they introduce the main character of the story.
Variable age plays an important role in the use of the different types of cohesive devices studied, basically the reference to people and the connectors. In relation to the reference the people, two conditions are taken into account ( introduction and maintenance of characters) during the story.
Results show that the youngest participants produce more pro-drop form in the introduction of main characters in the two stories, whereas older participants - children from the age of 9 as well as adults and old age people- use a phrasal noun preceded by an indefinite article.
In relation to the maintenance of characters, a pro-drop form is the most used in all age categories.
In relation to connectors, results show that age increases the use of subordinate clauses. Nevertheless, temporal conjunctions are the most used.
Narrative context has a large influence on the use of cohesive devices in narratives. In relation to variable age, there are three periods in the use of the three types of devices studied. A first period in the early childhood, starting at the age of 3, when the linguistic system begins to function then a long period of learning and consolidation of the system, middle and late childhood until adolescence, and a third period, adulthood and old age, in which all the devices are used more specifically.
|Date of Award||6 May 2005|
|Supervisor||Maria Rosa Solé Planas (Director)|