Theory, Model, Method


Activity: Qualitative versus Quantitative Analysis

1. The data set below contains utterances produced by an English-speaking child at the age of one year and nine months.

1 back-pack
2 lap
3 right now
4 hi
4 bottle
6 here mama
7 by lap Aja
8 I sit down here
9 I read that
10 I get it
11 corner
12 by corner
13 throw it
14 here Mama get that
15 under there
16 I pooted
17 a hooks
18 I reach that
19 get that
20 kick it
21 powder
22 I try it
23 oh cinnamon roll
24 peanut butter
25 have a look
26 here, Papa bite that
27 (de) diaper change
28 break a piece
29 here you go
30 in the pockets
31 one
32 have it
33 flush
34 I flush
35 shut de door

(material adapted from: Foster-Cohen, Susan H. 1999. An Introduction to Child Language Development. Longman: 59)

a) Quantitative Analysis: In language acquisition research, the average length of child utterances at a given point in development is seen as an indicator of the child's development in terms of morphological and syntactic complexity. The average length of utterances (or mean length of utterances (MLU) is calculated on the basis of either words or morphemes. The procedure is as follows: (1) the number of words or morphemes is calculated for each utterance in the data sample; (2) the total number of words or morphemes is calculated; (3) the sum of the total number of words / morphemes is divided by the number of utterances.

Calculate the MLU value in words for the sample.

Treat compound nouns (back-pack, peanut butter, cinnamon roll) as one word. Do not count exclamations (e.g. oh) as a word. Give the MLU value with one decimal, e.g. 2.5 or 3.3.

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b) Qualitative analysis: Analyse the word combination patterns in the child's two-word utterances, three-word utterances and four-word utterances and list the utterances corresponding to that type.

Example:
Word combination pattern in utterance 16: pronoun - verb
Further utterances corresponding to that pattern: 35

There are 14 additional patterns in the sample. Enter your answers in the blanks below in the same form as in the example.

Choose from the following list of categories:

noun, verb, adverb, preposition, pronoun, determiner.

If there are no other examples of a pattern enter / in the blank.

If there is more than one additional example of a pattern list them by using commas (e.g. 16, 35, 46).

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