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Durham e-Theses
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A study of young children's utterance production

Kenworthy, Alan Paul (1976) A study of young children's utterance production. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.



Unlike most studies of language development, this research is not primarily concerned with the discovery of grammars, but with utterance production. Not only is it concerned with what language young children produce, but also with how they produce it. And it is specifically concerned with the limitations to utterance production at the preschool age. The main reason for taking this approach is the inadequacy of grammatical theories to account for language behaviour. It is argued that Chomsky's distinction between competence and performance is linguistically valuable but psychologically questionable. For instance, those aspects of language behaviour that are said to be linguistically irrelevant are very relevant to a psychological theory of language behaviour. Therefore, this research is based on a comprehensive view of language as a system of communication .The findings suggest that there is no limit to production at this age, other than that arising from learning, and the general discrepancy between receptive and expressive abilities. Furthermore, the variation in utterance production, and the systematic nature of the linkage between utterances and their linguistic and non-linguistic context, indicate that a probabilistic theory of utterance production would best account for the behaviour observed. The research is exploratory, and the findings only give clues as to the nature of utterance production, but they confirm the value of the approach adopted.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Date:1976
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:18 Sep 2013 15:37

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