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Syntax

The Speech Act


Where speaker meets listener
through grammar!
Syntax
Topics
1. Definition
2. Cognitive & Language Development
3. Syntactic Development
4. Telegraphic (Two-word taxonomy)
5. Sentence types
6. Morphology
7. Assessment
8. Tx
What is the genesis for syntax in
child development
Theory:
1. Cognitive growth (means/ends causality)
DEMANDS longer utterances
2. Modeling of parents= ACL
3. More accurate information = Speech Act
Theory
4. Decontextualizes an utterance
5. Critical for Narration Development

Progression
Ball
Momma ball, ball there, ball go
ball under here
Throw ball to me
Dont throw the ball
I threw the ball and now it is gone
Since you took a turn, it is my turn!


Syntactic Development
Preverbal
Babbling
Echolalia
Vocables, Phonetically Consistent Forms
Holophrase
Telegraphic: Semantic/Syntactic Taxonomy
Phrases
NP: Art + Noun, Art. + Adj.+ Noun
VP: Verb+Modifier (tense) + PP (Intrans), or NP (Trans)
Prepositional Phrase: Prep. + Art.+ Noun
Sentences
Simple
Compound
Complex
HOLOPHRASES
Definition: ONE-word representing a thought
Cognitively
Based on cognitive growth in Object Permanence
Beginning of world knowledge

Linguistically
Meaning based on CONTEXT
Beginning of Semantics
Typically receptive first
EXPRESSIVELY: First WORD- 10-18 months
Typically a substantive
Phase lasts until around 50 words and then to
TELEGRAPHIC


TELEGRAPHIC
Definition: Generation of a two-word
utterance
EXPRESSIVE
Usually begins in normally developing
children with lexicon of 50 words
Typically 18-28 months
Multiple meanings BASED ON CONTEXT
Use a taxonomy: Bloom
Two-word Semantic-Syntactic Taxonomy
by Bloom, Brown, Schlesinger
modifier+ head big daddy
negative + X no juice
X + locative doggie bed
agent + action baby eat
action + object eat cookie
agent + object mommy doll
recurrence + X more ------
PHRASES
Definition- generation of a 3 or more word
construction whose construction can comprise a
sentence

Part of Chomskys Transformational Generative
Language theory
Finite set of rules generating an infinite set of
utterances

Types
Noun NPArt +Adj + noun
Verb
VP=(aux) +Main Verb +NP= TRANSITIVE VERB
VP= (aux) + Main Verb + PP=INTRANSITIVE VERB
Prepositional
PP= Preposition +art+noun
SENTENCES
Cognitive Growth in the ability to Problem Solve,
Need to express those complex relationships
3 Types of Sentences
Simple

Compound

Complex
4 Types of SIMPLE Sentences
Simple
Questions
Negative
Passive Voice
4 Simple Sentences Types
1. Simple (Declarative, Imperatives)
Cognitive: stating propositions
Pragmatic Intentions of Informing,
commenting
Linguistic: S-NP+VP
S-NP +VP
NP must have a noun
NP-art + noun
NP-art +adj +noun
NP-art + adj + conj + adj + noun
NP-Pronoun
VP
VP-(aux)+Main Verb + NP (transitive
verb)
VP (aux)+Main Verb + PP (intransitive
verb)




4 Types of Simple Sentence Constructions
2. Questions
Yes/No
Pragmatic Intent:
Affirmation/negation
Syntactic Patterns:
1. Rising intonation, no
transformation
2. Rising intonation with
transformation
3. Statement + tag

Questions, continued
Wh Questions
Intent: information
types: lower order (factual)
higher order (Analysis,
synthesis, evaluative
Pragmatic: requesting information,
requesting action
Syntactic: wh + verb+NP or PP
Who is making the noise?
What is in the closet?


4 Types of Simple Sentences
3. Negation
Intent: Reject, Protest, Non-existence, Deny
Syntactic Construction Progression
A. no without embedding: No I go bed
B. with embedding: I no go bed
C. with T-do: carries tense (present, past,
future)
not contracted: I do not like broccoli
contracted: I didnt like carrots
tense is indicated with the auxiliary verb
I will not go (future tense)
I havent studied (past tense)

4 Types of Simples
4. Passive Voice
Intent: changes topic/comment relationship
Last construction to develop usually by
5.6yrs
Usually assessed on receptive language tests
Construct:
usually indicated by the word by, from
examples:
Active Voice: The train hits the car
Passive Voice: The car was hit by the train
Active Voice: The boy hit the ball
Passive Voice: The ball was hit by the boy.

Passive Voice continued
3 Types of Constructions
1. reversible
either noun could be the actor or object
example: The girl was chased by the boy

2. instrumental nonreversible
nouns cannot be reversed
example: The window was broken by the ball
(the ball was broken by the window)
3. agentive nonreversible
nouns cannot be reversed
example: The window was broken by the boy
(the boy was broken by the window)
Types of sentences
2. Compound
Definition: Two clauses
Clause is a group of words that contains both a
subject and a predicate.
Simple and compound sentences are clauses
Conjoining terms: and
Composed of 2 clauses joined by a compound
The girl played basketball and the boy
went shopping.




3. Complex Sentences
Definition: Sentence consisting of a main
clause and a clause or a phrase
Clause: group of words containing both a
subject and predicate
Phrase: Group of related words that does not
include a subject and a predicate, and is used
as a noun substitute or as a noun or verb
modifier
Types: Conjoined and Embedded
Types of Sentences
composed of either
1. main clause and a clause
Since we are going out, you need
to wear a suit.

2. independent clause and phrase
unembedded
To see that fish was quite an
experience.
embedded
The child, who swam the event,
is my niece.
Complex sentences: Conjoined
Clausal, thats why they are called Conjoined
Type Vocabulary
Causal because, so, therefore
Conditional if
Disjunctive but, or, although
Temporal when, before, after, then
Complex Constructions: Clausal Embedding
Embedding may occur at the end of the
sentence or in the center
Embedding Types
Relative Pronoun
Im going with someone (whom) you like.
Object Noun Phrase Compliments
I think (that) I like to study
Parallel Clauses
He gave me the present (that) I didnt like
(both clauses share the same subject or object)
Non Parallel Clauses
He likes the girl living next store



Complex Constructions: Phrasal Embedding
Types
Prepositional
He swam in the lake
Participle (verb derived word ending in
ing,ed,t,en, and some irregular forms)
Setting sun, lost cause, gilted sword
Gerund (verb functioning as a noun
Skiing is fun.
Infinitive Phrase
He wanted to open his present
MORPHOLOGICAL ACQUISITION
Morphology Acquisition
Addresses both FREE and BOUND
morphemes
Morpheme review (p. 22)
Free
Bound
Derivational Inflectional
prefixes suffixes s, ing, ed, er

Browns 14 Grammatical Morphemes
1. Articles, a, the
2. Nouns: plurals, possessives
3. Prepositions: in, on
4. Verb tensing for all tenses except future
present progressive
present
irregular past
past
to be
Browns 14 Grammatical Morphemes
Contain both Free and Bound Morphemes
Greatest acquisition of Morphemes is between
4-7 years
Selection Criteria
1. Phonetically minimal forms
2. Receive only light vocal emphasis
3. Limited number of constructions
4. Multiple phonologic forms
5 slowly developing
analyzed only particular grammatical construcitons


14 Grammatical Morphemes
Organized by Class
14 Grammatical Morphemes by Class
1. Articles: the (definite), a (indefinite)
2. Nouns: plurals, possessives
3. Prepositions: in, on
4. Verbs
Browns 14 Grammatical Morphemes, continued
4. Verbs
present progressive: MV+ing
3rd person regular (present): hits forms: s,z,Iz
3rd person irregular (present): does, has
irregular past: ran, came, fell
regular past: decided
Verb to be
1 as copula (linking verb to be)
uncontracted: He is a good boy
contracted: Hes a good boy
2. As auxiliary (helping verb)
uncontracted: She is going to the game
contracted: Shes going home


Order of Development for
Browns 14 Grammatical Devlopment
Linked to Browns 5 Stages of Development
Stage MLU Age (approx) Characteristics
Stage I 1.0-2.0 12-26 m
Stage II 2.0-2.5 27-30 m. Morphologic Dev.
Stage III 2.5-3.0 31-34 m. Sentence Form Dev.
Stage IV 3.0-3.75 35-40 m Embedding
Stage V 3.75-4.5 41-46m Joining of Clauses
Stage V+ 4.5 +
Sequence of Development for the14 Grammatical Morphemes
Morpheme Age in Months
Present Progressive 19-28
In,on 27-30
Regular Plural 24-33
Irregular Past 25-46
Possessives 26-40 Stage II
Uncontracted Copula 27-39
Articles 28-46
Regular Past 26-48
Regular 3rd Person (s) 26-46
Irregular 3rd person 28-50
Uncontractible Auxiliary 29-48
Contractable Copula 29-49
Contractible Auxiliary 30-50 Stage III

ANALYSIS Of SYNTAX
in a Language Sample

Analysis of Syntactic Length of Utterance
in a Language Sample
1. MLU computes by morphemes
2. MLR computes words
3. T-units computes sentences ONLY
4. C-units computes any phrase, clause, or
sentence
Mean Length of Utterance
Positive correlation between Age and MLU
A fairly reliable tool until the age of 3 or an
MLU of 4
from ages 1.6 through 5 years, MLU may
increase approximately 1.2 morphemes
/year
MLU is only a GROSS developmental index
provides NO INFORMATION on specific
structural complexity

Mean Length of Utterance
Purpose: Estimate of childs syntactic development
compared to chronological age
Up to an MLU of 4.0 increase in MLU correspond to
increases in utterance COMPLEXITY
Assessement:Taken in a Language Sample or PBA,
Need at least 50 utterances to be considered
minimally REPRESENTATIVE. A 100 utterances is better!
Formula:
MLU=Total Number of Morphemes
Total Number of Utterances

Formula
Rules for Counting MLU, Brown
Count as 1 morpheme
1. Compound words
2. Irregular past (did)
3. Diminutives (doggie)
4. Indefinite Pronouns
(anyone, someone)
5. Catenatives (gonna)

COUNT ONCE
Repetitions =ONE TIME

DO NOT COUNT
Fillers (um, huh)
Stuttering

Count as SEPARATE
Morphemes
1. Auxiliaries (is, have,
will, can, must, would)
2. Inflections
Possessives
Third person singular
Regular past
Present progressive
3. Negative contractions
(cant)

Practice Corpus:
Grammatical Morphemes and MLU
1. My child likes to read
2. The boys are studying in the library.
3. What time did they leave?
4. When did the girls take the small dog?
5. The baby was sleeping in the crib.
6. Dogs chased the scared cat up the tree.
7. We studied all night and it helped my grade.
8. Their cars in the garage.
9. Tom hops on one foot.
10. The time to order pizza is not at eight in the
morning!

Other Syntactic Measures
MLR word count
not sensitive to morphological transformations
Looks length of utterance by a numerical count
T-units
Analysis of SENTENCES ONLY
C-units (communicative units)
Analysis of phrases, clauses and sentences
Not telegraphic

ASSESSMENT
Syntactic Assessment
1. Formal Test Formats
1.1.Receptive= Auditory Processing/decoding
Point to the picture that shows: The horse was
ridden by the boy
1. 2. Expressive=encoding
cloze, generation using a key word, imitation,
combining

2. Language Samples
Analysis through 1. MLU, C-Unit, T-Unit, MLR
2. Construction Types
Semantic/Syntactic,
Sentence Constructions

Assessment
Typically part of a more
complete language assessment
Receptive (processing) Expressive (production)
semantics/syntax semantics/syntax

Methods:
Cloze (sentence completion=morphology
Key word=sentence generation
Imitation
Sentence Linking (Combining) and/or Delinking

Assessment
Use the Language Sample
Analyzed by
1. Length of utterance
MLU morphemes
MLR=words
T-units-complete sentences, one independent main clause
with any dependent clauses
C-units-phrases and sentences

2. Sentence types
Phrases
Sentences
4 simple sentences
compound
complex


Intervention
Intervention ideas
Syntactic Development is based on Pragmatic
RANGE OF COMMUNICAITON INTENTIONS
Therefore, must be meaningful!!!!
Strategies of modeling specific constructions,
expansion of childs utterance, imitation
Linking utterances
Use of kinesis, blocks, or some type of VISUAL
PROP to teach patterning
Use of Social Stories
More IDEAS:
Websites

Syntactic Summary
Syntactic Development is viewed as a merging of
cognition and language
More complete expression of the Speech Act in
communication
Assumes continued semantic acquisition
Syntactic acquisition is:
Morphology acquisition
Browns 14 Grammatical Morphemes
Syntactic Construction Expansion
Expanding from Telegraphic
to Phrases
to Sentences
Sentence Types
4 simple sentence types
Compound
Complex
End of Syntax Discussion