Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Teaching & Learning
Problem: This study was designed to meet the need for further investigation of the relationships among oral language, written language, and reading. The following questions were investigated: What syntactical structures characterize the oral and written language of forty-six learning disabled children? What is the relationship between the structures used in the oral and written language of the forty-six subjects? What is the relationship between structures used in oral and written language and errors in oral language? Is the analysis system described by Dever (1978) useful for the purpose of analyzing the syntax of oral language, written language, and reading errors of school-aged, learning-disabled students?
Procedure: Subjects for the study were forty-six learning disabled children in grades two through eight.
This study was exploratory in nature, designed to describe the syntactical structures characteristic of the oral and written language of the subjects and to examine the relationships between the two language forms. In addition, oral reading samples were analyzed and comparisons were made among reading errors and oral and written language use. The language analysis system described by Dever (1978) was the basis of the present analysis. Modifications suggested by Heintz (1979) and Rubbelke (1979) were implemented. In addition, certain methods described by Loban (1976) were incorporated into the analysis.
Results: For all subject groups, both the oral and written language was typified by the use of the following noun phrase constituents: determine^ including possessive, indefinite article, and definite article fillers; and head nouns including pronouns and common nouns.
All subject groups used the following verb phrase constituents in their oral and written language samples: present tense, continuum, and transitive head verbs.
All subject groups used prepositional phrases in both their oral and written language samples.
As grade level increased, the number of different types of constituents used to fill a particular structural slot increased for both oral and written language. However, the variety of constituents present in the written language of the subjects did not equal that of the oral language at any level. This finding is indicative of the greater structural variety of the oral language as compared to the written language for the forty-six subjects of the present study.
Generally, quantitative analyses did not consistently reveal significant relationships among oral and written language structures. However, qualitative analyses involving the identification of the profiles of structural constituents presented by the subjects was useful in making comparisons between the oral and written language of subjects of subjects at the various grade levels and across the various grade levels.
The errors produced by the subjects during oral reading were not systematically related to the frequency of occurrence of the structures selected for analysis of the present study.
The Dever (1978) system was found to be useful for analyzing the syntactic constituents and in establishing the lack of significant relationship between the frequency of occurrence of selected syntactic constituents within the oral and written language of the forty-six subjects. Further, the Dever (1978) system was found to be useful in comparing those structures present in the oral and written language of subjects at individual grade levels and in comparing performance within oral and written language across grade level.
The application of the Dever (1978) system in the analysis of oral reading errors was useful for identifying syntactic constituents containing reading errors. However, patterns of errors on these constituents did not emerge. Therefore, it is concluded that the underlying bases for the reading errors was not constituent-specific but was related to multiple factors of which syntactic complexity may be a part.
Aitchison, Carole Thompson, "Oral, Written, and Read Syntax of Forty-Six Learning Disabled Children" (1981). Theses and Dissertations. 2629.