Syntax
“The Speech Act”
Where speaker meets listener
through grammar!
Syntax
• Topics
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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
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“Ball”
“Momma ball,” “ ball there,” “ ball go”
“ball under here”
Throw ball to me
Don’t 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
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modifier+ head
negative + X
X + locative
agent + action
action + object
agent + object
recurrence + X
big daddy
no juice
doggie bed
baby eat
eat cookie
mommy doll
more ------
PHRASES
• Definition- generation of a 3 or more word
construction whose construction can comprise a
sentence
• Part of Chomsky’s Transformational Generative
Language theory
– Finite set of rules generating an infinite set of
utterances
Types
Noun NP—Art +Adj + noun
Verb
VP=(aux) +Main Verb +NP= TRANSITIVE VERB
VP= (aux) + Main Verb + PP=INTRANSITIVE VERB
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
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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 didn’t like carrots
• tense is indicated with the auxiliary verb
– I will not go (future tense)
– I haven’t 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, that’s why they are called Conjoined
• Type
Vocabulary
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Causal
Conditional
Disjunctive
Temporal
because, so, therefore
if
but, or, although
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
• I’m 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 didn’t 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
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Bound
– Derivational
– prefixes
suffixes
Inflectional
s, ing, ed, er
Brown’s 14 Grammatical Morphemes
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1. Articles, “a, the”
2. Nouns: plurals, possessives
3. Prepositions: “in, on”
4. Verb tensing for all tenses except future
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present progressive
present
irregular past
past
‘to be’
Brown’s 14 Grammatical Morphemes
• Contain both Free and Bound Morphemes
• Greatest acquisition of Morphemes is between
4-7 years
• Selection Criteria
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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
Brown’s 14 Grammatical Morphemes, continued
– 4. Verbs
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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: He’s a good boy
• 2. As auxiliary (helping verb)
– uncontracted: She is going to the game
– contracted: She’s going home
Order of Development for
Brown’s 14 Grammatical Devlopment
• Linked to Brown’s 5 Stages of Development
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Stage
MLU
Stage I
1.0-2.0
Stage II
2.0-2.5
Stage III 2.5-3.0
Stage IV
3.0-3.75
Stage V
3.75-4.5
Stage V+ 4.5 +
Age (approx) Characteristics
12-26 m
27-30 m.
31-34 m.
35-40 m
41-46m
Morphologic Dev.
Sentence Form Dev.
Embedding
Joining of Clauses
Sequence of Development for the14 Grammatical Morphemes
– Morpheme
• Present Progressive
• In,on
27-30
• Regular Plural
• Irregular Past
• Possessives
• Uncontracted Copula
• Articles
• Regular Past
• Regular 3rd Person (s)
• Irregular 3rd person
• Uncontractible Auxiliary
• Contractable Copula
• Contractible Auxiliary
Age in Months
19-28
24-33
25-46
26-40
27-39
28-46
26-48
26-46
Stage II
28-50
29-48
29-49
30-50
Stage III
ANALYSIS Of SYNTAX
in a Language Sample
Analysis of Syntactic Length of Utterance
in a Language Sample
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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 child’s 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
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Total Number of Utterances
• Formula
Rules for Counting MLU, Brown
Count as 1 morpheme
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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
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Possessives
Third person singular
Regular past
Present progressive
– 3. Negative contractions
(can’t)
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 car’s 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
Formal Assessment
• Typically part of a more
complete language assessment
– Receptive (processing)
– semantics/syntax
Expressive (production)
semantics/syntax
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Cloze (sentence completion=morphology
Key word=sentence generation
Imitation
Sentence Linking (Combining) and/or Delinking
Descriptive 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 child’s 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
– Brown’s 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
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Syntax