Peer Conflict Explanations in Children, Adolescents, and Adults: Examining the Development of Complex Syntax Purpose Expository discourse, the use of language to convey information, requires facility with complex syntax. Although expository discourse is often employed in school and work settings, little is known about its development in children, adolescents, and adults. Hence, it is difficult to evaluate this genre in students who have language ... Research Article
Research Article  |   May 01, 2007
Peer Conflict Explanations in Children, Adolescents, and Adults: Examining the Development of Complex Syntax
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Marilyn A. Nippold
    University of Oregon, Eugene
  • Tracy C. Mansfield
    University of Oregon, Eugene
  • Jesse L. Billow
    University of Oregon, Eugene
  • Contact author: Marilyn A. Nippold, Communication Disorders and Sciences, College of Education, University of Oregon, Eugene, OR 97403. E-mail: nippold@uoregon.edu.
Article Information
School-Based Settings / Normal Language Processing / Language Disorders / Research Articles
Research Article   |   May 01, 2007
Peer Conflict Explanations in Children, Adolescents, and Adults: Examining the Development of Complex Syntax
American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, May 2007, Vol. 16, 179-188. doi:10.1044/1058-0360(2007/022)
History: Received August 29, 2006 , Accepted January 5, 2007
 
American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, May 2007, Vol. 16, 179-188. doi:10.1044/1058-0360(2007/022)
History: Received August 29, 2006; Accepted January 5, 2007
Web of Science® Times Cited: 24

Purpose Expository discourse, the use of language to convey information, requires facility with complex syntax. Although expository discourse is often employed in school and work settings, little is known about its development in children, adolescents, and adults. Hence, it is difficult to evaluate this genre in students who have language disorders. This study examined syntactic complexity in expository discourse in an effort to begin to establish a normative database.

Method Speakers with typical development whose mean ages were 11, 17, and 25 years old (n = 60) participated in a peer conflict resolution (PCR) task designed to elicit expository discourse. The results were compared with an additional measure of expository discourse, the favorite game or sport (FGS) task, reported in a previous study that included these same participants (M. A. Nippold, L. J. Hesketh, J. K. Duthie, & T. C. Mansfield, 2005).

Results The PCR task elicited expository discourse from speakers in all 3 groups. Older speakers packed more information into their utterances than did younger ones, and the PCR task elicited greater syntactic complexity than did the FGS task.

Conclusions The PCR task is potentially a useful tool for examining expository discourse. Research is needed to expand the database and administer the task to clinical groups.

Acknowledgments
This project was partially supported by two grants awarded to the first author: Grant 2P50DC02746-06A1 from the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders and a Summer Faculty Research Award from the University of Oregon. The authors express sincere gratitude to the children, adolescents, and adults who participated in this research project and to the teachers and administrators who granted permission for the testing to take place at their schools. The assistance of Communication Disorders and Sciences graduate students in collecting and transcribing the language samples is also greatly appreciated. Portions of this research were presented at the Annual Convention of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, San Diego, CA, November 2005.
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