Question 7 - Look at some data for a child at the one-word stage of development (this could be video data for the CHILDES database, or observational/diary data you have collected from a child to whom you have access; the contextual function of one-word utterances can be hard to perceive in transcript-only data).
Apply Greenfield and Smith’s analysis, based on the uses of holophrases, to this data. Remember that this analysis is focused on what a child is using their one-word utterances for, i.e. what the holophrases are used to accomplish. Does your data show (some of?) the same functions for holophrases that Greenfield and Smith observed in their study of two children?
This report will be focusing on child language acquisition at the one word stage of development. It will look at data, using the CHILDES database. Firstly, I will give some background information as to what holophrases are, and their important role within language acquisition. My research into holophrases will then provide a solid background in which to answer the question and to explain the results that I have acquired from my data. I will then discuss my methodological technique, in which I will explain specifically what I will do to look at holophrases in the database and consequently answer the question successfully. Following this, the report will have a results and analysis section, which will give the results that I have gathered from the database. Importantly, this section will give analysis of the results and what the holophrases that I have found mean, in regards to the question. Finally, there will be an overall conclusion as to what my research on holophrases has found, and whether they have any similarities with the functions that were found by Greenfield and Smith.
A holophrase, in simple terms, is a one word utterance that is first produced by a child when they are between 9 and 12 months of age. It is from holophrases (also known as the one word stage), that we can talk about the child’s expressive language for the first time. Ingram (1972) states that a holophrase is, in fact, a sentence in itself. This is known as a formalist approach. Researchers who support this view believe that holophrases that are produced by children have a similar structure to whole phrases in adult speech. In contrast to this, there is a functionalist’s view point. This is the idea that holophrastic speech is used by children for various communicative functions, such as requesting. In contrast to the formalist approach, they believe that the single word the child uses is not representative of the complex linguistic system that is present in adult speech. Brown, Fraser and Bellugi (1963) believes that the comprehension of a word precedes it’s production. This is relevant to the results that I will obtain as the function of the holophrase may be affected by whether or not the child actually understands and comprehends the word that they are saying. For the purpose of my data analysis, I will be particularly focusing upon and applying the research on holophrastic functions, conducted by Greenfield and Smith (1976). They looked at the meaning of holophrases and how they may alter over a period of time. From their research, they believed that children have some control when producing holophrases and that they are used by them for a communicative purpose. The functions of the holophrase were split into 5 groups. These five functions will be key when I am analysing my data. I will be looking to see if the groups can be applied successfully to my findings or if there are, in fact, some holophrases found that don’t fit into their defined groups.
|Function of holophrase |What it does | |Performatives |A non-standard sound to accompany an action | |Indicative Objects...
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