Analysis of conversational structure from the perspective of language acquisition ; Pokalbio struktūros analizė kalbos įsisavinimo požiūriu
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Analysis of conversational structure from the perspective of language acquisition ; Pokalbio struktūros analizė kalbos įsisavinimo požiūriu

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VYTAUTAS MAGNUS UNIVERSITY INSTITUTE OF THE LITHUANIAN LANGUAGE Ingrida BAL ČI ŪNIEN Ė ANALYSIS OF CONVERSATIONAL STRUCTURE FROM THE PERSPECTIVE OF LANGUAGE ACQUISITION Summary of the Doctoral Dissertation Humanities, Philology (04 H) Kaunas, 2009 The dissertation has been prepared at Vytautas Magnus University in 2004–2009. The right for the joint doctoral studies was accorded to the Institute of the Lithuanian Language and Vytautas Magnus University on July 15, 2003 according to the decree of the Government of the Republic of Lithuania No. 926. Research supervisor: Assoc. Prof. Dr. Ineta Dabašinskien ė Vytautas Magnus University, Humanities, Philology – 04 H The dissertation will be defended before the Council of Philological Sciences of the Vytautas Magnus University and Institute of the Lithuanian Language, Kaunas. Chair: Assoc. Prof. Dr. Asta Kazlauskien ė Vytautas Magnus University, Philology – 04 H Members: Prof. Habil. Dr. Bonifacas Stundžia University, Humanities, Philology – 04 H Assoc. Prof. Dr. Laimut ė Kal ėdien ė Institute of Lithuanian Language, Humanities, Philology – 04 H Vilnius Assoc. Prof. Dr. Meilut ė Ramonien ė Vilnius University, Humanities, Philology – 04 H Dr. Loreta Vaicekauskien ė Institute of Lithuanian Language, Humanities, Philology – 04 H Opponents: Prof. Dr. Genovait ė Ka čiuškien ė Šiauliai University, Philology – 04 H Assoc. Prof.

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Publié le 01 janvier 2009
Nombre de lectures 39

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VYTAUTAS MAGNUS UNIVERSITY INSTITUTE OF THE LITHUANIAN LANGUAGE        IngridaBALČIŪNIENĖ 
Summary of the Doctoral Dissertation Humanities, Philology (04 H)
   ANALYSIS OF CONVERSATIONAL STRUCTURE FROM THE PERSPECTIVE OF LANGUAGE ACQUISITION              
Kaunas, 2009
The dissertation has been prepared at Vytautas Magnus University in 20042009.  The right for the joint doctoral studies was accorded to the Institute of the Lithuanian Language and Vytautas Magnus University on July 15, 2003 according to the decree of the Government of the Republic of Lithuania No. 926.  Research supervisor:  Assoc. Prof. Dr.Ineta Dabainskienė  Vytautas Magnus University, Humanities, Philology  04 H  The dissertation will be defended before the Council of Philological Sciences of the Vytautas Magnus University and Institute of the Lithuanian Language, Kaunas.  Chair:  Assoc. Prof. Dr.Asta Kazlauskienė  Vytautas Magnus University, Philology  04 H   Members:  Prof. Habil. Dr.Bonifacas Stundia  University, Humanities, Philology  04 H Assoc. Prof. Dr.LaimutėKalėdienė  Institute of Lithuanian Language, Humanities, Philology  04 H Vilnius  Assoc. Prof. Dr.MeilutėRamonienė Vilnius University, Humanities, Philology  04 H   Dr.Loreta Vaicekauskienė  Institute of Lithuanian Language, Humanities, Philology  04 H  Opponents:  Prof. Dr.GenovaitėKačiukienė iauliai University, Philology  04 H   Assoc. Prof. Dr.Loreta Vilkienė  Vilnius University, Humanities, Philology  04 H   The defence of the dissertation will be open to public. It is to be held at a public meeting of the Council of Philological Sciences of the Vytautas Magnus University and the Institute of Lithuanian Language at 3 p.m. on September 11, 2009 in a room No. 322 of the Faculty of Humanities. Address: K. Donelaičio st. 52, LT-44244, Kaunas, Lithuania Phone: +370 37 327 830, fax: +370 37 323 689  The summary of the doctoral dissertation was sent out on 10thAugust 2009.  Those interested may acquaint themselves with the doctoral dissertation in the M. Mavydas National Library and in the Library of the Lithuanian Language in Vilnius, as well as in Vytautas Magnus University Library in Kaunas.   
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VYTAUTO DIDIOJO UNIVERSITETAS LIETUVIŲKALBOS INSTITUTAS        IngridaBALČIŪNIENĖ 
POKALBIO STRUKTŪROS ANALIZĖ  KALBOSĮSISAVINIMO POIŪRIU 
Daktaro disertacijos santrauka Humanitariniai mokslai, filologija (04 H)
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Kaunas, 2009 Disertacija rengta 20042009 metais Vytauto Didiojo universitete. Doktorantūros teisė Lietuvi suteiktaų kalbos institutui kartu su Vytauto Di universitetu Lietuvos Respublikos Vyriausybės 2003 m. liepos 15 d. nutarimu Nr.  Mokslinėvadovė: doc. dr.Ineta Dabainskienė Vytauto Didiojo universitetas, humanitariniai mokslai, filologija  04 H  Disertacija ginama Vytauto Didiojo universiteto ir Lietuvių kalbos instituto Filologijos mokslo krypties taryboje.  Pirmininkė: doc. dr.Asta Kazlauskienė Vytauto Didiojo universitetas, humanitariniai mokslai, filologija  04 H  Nariai:  prof. habil. dr.Bonifacas Stundia  Vilniaus universitetas, humanitariniai mokslai, filologija  04 H  doc. dr.LaimutėKalėdienė  Lietuviųkalbos institutas, humanitariniai mokslai, filologija  04 H doc. dr.MeilutėRamonienė Vilniaus universitetas, humanitariniai mokslai, filologija  04 H dr.Loreta Vaicekauskienė Lietuviųkalbos institutas, humanitariniai mokslai, filologija  04 H   Oponentai: prof. dr.Genovaitė Kačiukienė iauliųuniversitetas, humanitariniai mokslai, filologija  04 H doc. dr.Loreta Vilkienė Vilniaus universitetas, humanitariniai mokslai, filologija  04 H    Disertacija bus ginama vieame Vytauto Didiojo universiteto ir Lietuvių kalbos instituto Filologijos mokslo krypties tarybos posėdyje 2009 m. rugsėjo 11 d. 15 val. val. Vytauto Didiojo universiteto Humanitarinių mokslų 322 fakulteto auditorijoje. Adresas: K. Donelaičio g. 52, LT-44244, Kaunas, Lietuva Tel. +370 37 327 830, faks. +370 37 323 689  Disertacijos santrauka isiuntinėta 2009 m. rugpjūčio mėn. 10 d.  Disertaciją galima periūrėti Nacionalinėje M. Mavydo, Lietuvių kalbos instituto bibliotekose Vilniuje ir Vytauto Didiojo universiteto bibliotekoje Kaune.    
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INTRODUCTION  Relevance of the Topic and Novelty of the Thesis ld of acquisition of communicative competence in conversation between children and parents has not been broadly analysed in Lithuania. The situation is due to the complicated nature of collecting and processing of spoken language research material, and, thus, until now research of features of the Lithuanian spoken language has been limited to analysis of records from radio, television, and public speeches (oral presentations and lectures). In Lithuania the research on child language has not yet acquired a long-term tradition, although, the first attempts to analyse the acquisition of the Lithuanian language were made as early as during the first independence period of Lithuania by Kalnius (1939), these attempts had not been consistently continued. Systematic collection and analysis of Lithuanian childrens language data started only in 1993: I. Dabainskienė (Savickienė) and P. Wójcik started to collect language data of two Lithuanian girls by applying the method of longitudinal observation. Later the data were adopted for automatic morphological and phonetic analysis using special software. The acquisition of Lithuanian noun morphology (Savickienė 2003) and verb 1999, (Wójcik 2000) morphology were analysed using the collected data, and typical features of child directed speech were identified (Wójcik 1994, Kamandulytė Presently 2005). research is being done on the acquisition of adjective morphology and morphosyntax, as well as specific language impairments (SLI), however, many aspects of Lithuanian language acquisition have not been dealt with, such as the acquisition of Lithuanian syntax and semantics, pragmatics and communicative competence. Therefore the present research deals with one of the least explored fields in the acquisition of the Lithuanian language, that is the acquisition of communicative competence. Using special research methods of analysing childrens speech, the work aims to analyse conversations between a child and parents, define the development of communicative competence, and to probe links between the parental communicative strategy and the acquisition of the native language grammar.   
 
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  The Objective of the Study The mainobjective of the study to define the development of conversation is between a child and parents: to analyse how a child acquires the structure of conversation (learns initiating and closing a conversation, continuing topics, turn-taking, repairing conversation breakdowns), learns certain speech acts (the main focus is on the acquisition ofdirectives andquestions), and how the communicative behaviour of parents influences the acquisition of the native language grammar. To achieve these goals the following research tasks have been set: 1. To transcribe existing records of conversations between a child and parents, which have been collected by the method of longitudinal observation, according to CHILDES standards of childrens speech transcription (http://childes.psy.cmu.edu/) . 2. To annotate transcriptions of conversations for phonetic, morphological, grammatical error analysis, as well as for conversation and pragmatic analysis. 3. To make an automatic linguistic analysis using the CHILDES software. 4. Based on the acquired results, to define the most typical features of conversation between a child and parents, as well as to define the development of the features as a child grows, such as: 4.1. linguistic strategies for initiating and closing a conversation; 4.2. features of topic shift and turn-taking during a conversation; 4.3. linguistic reaction to conversation breakdowns; 4.4. influence of parents communicative behaviour to the acquisition of the native language grammar.  Research Material 1. A transcribed corpus of conversations of a child (a Lithuanian girl) and her parents has been annotated for a multipurpose linguistic analysis using aolinuditng al observation method(20002002) and tools of the program CHILDES. The size of the corpus is 128,517 running words, which comprises 27 hours of records of the childs
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(1;82;8) conversations with her parents. All the compilation work has been done by the author of the research, who is also the mother of the child1. During the longitudinal observation period the girl's both parents had been students at Lithuanian universities. The girl was the only child in the family, who during the observation period had not been attending a kindergarten (as she has been brought up by her parents and from 2;7 by a nurse), therefore, her language development had been mostly influenced by the familys language model. Both her parents speak Northern Paneveikiai Subdialect of the East Aukshtaitish dialect between themselves, while they speak to the child in Standard Lithuanian. The girl speaks only in Standard Lithuanian, however, she also understands the dialect, and there have been noticed some most typical phonetic and grammatical features of the mentioned dialect in the early period of the observation. It must be mentioned, that until now the language research of Lithuanian children has been limited to the children that spoke standard Lithuanian, therefore, the current research is new, as it initially analyses the acquisition and attrition of the dialect and later the acquisition of Standard Lithuanian. 2. A linguistic diary kept 19992002 is used as an additional material. The diary was kept by the girl's mother, where some everyday examples of the girl's speech had been recorded, as well as the girls new words were registered with explanation, time of usage, and description of situation. The childs language errors were also registered in the diary. Five to fifteen dialogues between the girl and her parents had been recorded each week, which had real or implied addressee with registered exact date of dialogues and utterances. The size of the diary is more than 11 thousand words. It comprises the child's age from 1;11 till 3;5; all this data is transcribed and written by the text processing programMS Word.  Research Methods 1.A longitudinal observation has been applied for the collection and method grouping of the childs linguistic data. Following the requirements of this method, 15 20 minute long conversations between the child and parents had been recorded by a portable tape-recorder in a common environment (parents or grandparents homes). The attempts were made to record as many different situations as possible: games,                                                  1In 2005 the author did her internship at the Institute of Linguistics of the Vienna University, where she completed a special theoretical and practical course on the work with the program CHILDES.
 
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preparation of food, eating, communication with guests, bathing, preparation for the sleep, etc. The recordings were done at different times of the day, which mostly depended on the child's willingness to communicate. Most of the recordings are conversations between the girl and her mother, some dialogues are between the child and her father, and there are also quite a few dialogues between more than two participants (with participation of child, mother, and father; or child, mother, and grandmother). The collected data has been grouped by months trying to maintain similar size and length within each months material. 2. A method of corpus linguisticshas been implemented by using the program CHILDES for compiling, processing and analysing the corpus of the child and her parents. 3.Analyticalmethod has been applied to linguistic analysis. 4.Descriptive has been used for the presentation of theoretical method principles and research results. 5.Comparative method has been applied, when comparing communicative features of the child and parents, and analysing parents reaction to errors of a certain type.  Statements to be Defended 1. A child acquires different elements of conversation structure at different stages of childs development: the easiest for a child is to acquire how to initiate a conversation and how to react appropriately to others initiations; it takes longer to acquire rules for closing a conversation, and the most difficult task is learning how to repair conversation breakdowns. 2. Abilities to continue a topic of conversation are acquired already in the early childhood. As a child grows and acquires more communicative competence, a child obtains more sophisticated and diverse strategies for topic continuation. Feminine strategies of topics continuation and reaction to other speakers utterances show up in girls speech. 3. In a natural spontaneous conversation content preferred to isform an in interlocutors utterance by both parents and a child independently of the age or linguistic competence.
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4. When speaking to a child, parents do not only try for successful communication, but also strive to teach a child to speak correctly: theyreformulate, correct andexpand only grammatically incorrect utterances of a child, but also not colloquialisms and dialectal utterances. 5. The communicative behaviour of parents influences the formation of the grammatical system in a childs language: those errors disappear faster, which are treated negatively by parents.  Structure of the Work This dissertation consists of an introduction, three chapters, conclusions, references, and annexes. The introduction deals with relevance and novelty of the topic, the objective of the work, tasks, research material, methods, theoretical background, and statements to be defended. The first part deals with the acquisition of conversation structure (ability to initiate, continue, and close a conversation); the second part deals with topic continuation and shift, as well as turn-taking in a conversation between the child and parents; the third part attempts to show, how parents linguistic and communicative behaviour influences the acquisition of the native language grammar. The concluding part presents conclusions in a generalised and structural manner. Annexes that illustrate research material and a process of the research are presented at the end of the work.  1. ACQUISITION OF THE CONVERSATIONAL STRUCTURE The analysis of the structure of conversation between the child and parents involves the following different research efforts: an analysis of initiating a conversation, an analysis of speakers abilities to repair conversation breakdowns (situations, when other speakers utterance is misunderstood or misheard), and an analysis of adherence to rules of closing a conversation.  1.1. Initiating Conversation 1.1.1.Commonly conversations between the target child and parents are initiated due to a speakers urge: a) to comment on a situation or its development; b) to talk about things that interest a speaker; c) to talk about things that interest a listener; d) to
 
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influence a listeners behaviour. These reasons are of unequal importance: some of them (commenting on a situation or its development and talking about things that interest a speaker) are more important to a child, while others (talking about things that interest a listener)  to parents. Some of them lose importance as a child grows, the others remain important through the whole investigation period. 1.1.2.The success of a conversation very much depends on how the attention of a potential listener is caught and on appropriateness of an initiation for the situation. After analysis of records it has emerged, that all initiations can be divided into two groups: attention-getting and attention-directing strategies, while these groups can further be divided into smaller subgroups. The group ofattention-getting comprises the following means: a) vocatives; b) directives; c) interrogatives; d) singing; e) comments on a performed action. While the group of attention-directing comprises: a) names; b) expressive particles; c) phrases of politeness; d) comments on other persons action. This classification partly coincides with results from other research (McTear 1985), however, there are some ways of conversation initiating, which are not mentioned in other studies such as: singing, and phrases of politeness (thank you, God bless you); and vice versa, some ways of attention-getting mentioned in other theoretical sources have not been found in the investigation material (e. g. deictic pronouns/ adverbs, greeting terms). The ways of attention-getting that help to initiate a conversation are acquired at different stages of child's development: conversation initiating by means of vocatives and comments of own performed actions are acquired at the earliest stage (from 1;10), later (from 2;1) directives are used to reach the same effect, and at the latest questions are used to initiate a conversation (2;6). Mostly the girl initiates a conversation by comments of her own or other persons actions, directives and questions; and less frequently by vocatives, expressive particles, and phrases of politeness. In mothers speech dominate questions and vocatives, while father initiates a conversation by directives. 1.1.3.The reaction to other persons initiation may be classified into five types: a) no response; b) challenges; c) inappropriate/ irrelevant responses; d) minimal predicted responses, and e) appropriate responses. After analysing the distribution of
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these reaction types, it has emerged, that a child has abilities to respond appropriately to other persons initiation already in the early childhood. Even though linguistic knowledge and skills are still very limited, the girl at the age of 1;8 is already able to realise what sort of information is needed to the other speaker and can use her linguistic knowledge (own created words, onomatopoeias, etc.) for delivering the information. Later (from 1;10) the girl learns formulating grammatically correct answers and delivering to an interlocutor not only the required information, but also additional information. Although during recorded conversations there are many situations, when the child does not respond to an adults initiations, these conversation breakdowns are not due to insufficient linguistic competence, but rather due to a badly chosen topic by an adult; in other words most often the girl ignores her parents not due misunderstanding or inability to formulate an appropriate answer, but due to uninteresting or unacceptable topic offered by her parents. From around 2;5 the girl is already able to realise, that according to rules of polite conversation, one needs to respond to an interlocutor even at times when a topic of conversation is not interesting, thus, cases of appropriate responses become more and more frequent.  1.2. Conversation Breakdowns and Repairs In order to analyse the development of child's ability to repair conversation breakdowns that occur during a natural spontaneous conversation, the conversation breakdowns between the child and her parents have been analysed, when an interlocutor's utterance has been misheard or misunderstood due to some obvious and explicit factors (noisy environment, inattentive listening, unclear speech, etc.). Such conversation breakdowns are commonly repaired by using: a) metadiscursive questions, and b) questions of clarification. The analysis has shown, that it is more difficult, in comparison to other communication skills, to acquire the ability to repair communication breakdowns. Even though such questions has been used rather frequently in parents speech, in childs speech they can be found only in third year, while some of these questions have not been recorded until the end of the observation (2;8). Nevertheless, during the observation period it has been observed that some of these questions have started to occur in the girls speech, and, thus, it could be maintained that the usage and features
 
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