The Comprehension of Certain Syntactic Structures by Adults Forty adult native speakers of English with normal speech were tested for comprehension of four different syntactic constructions in sentences which were semantically quite simple to understand and similar in nature. Although the syntactic constructions selected have been commonly assumed to be part of ordinary adult language usage, 21 of ... Research Article
Research Article  |   December 01, 1971
The Comprehension of Certain Syntactic Structures by Adults
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Lois Joan Sanders
    University of Illinois, Champaign, Illinois
Article Information
Research Articles
Research Article   |   December 01, 1971
The Comprehension of Certain Syntactic Structures by Adults
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, December 1971, Vol. 14, 739-745. doi:10.1044/jshr.1404.739
History: Received December 14, 1970
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, December 1971, Vol. 14, 739-745. doi:10.1044/jshr.1404.739
History: Received December 14, 1970

Forty adult native speakers of English with normal speech were tested for comprehension of four different syntactic constructions in sentences which were semantically quite simple to understand and similar in nature. Although the syntactic constructions selected have been commonly assumed to be part of ordinary adult language usage, 21 of the 40 subjects responded with at least one error. Thirty-four percent of the responses to one of the subcategories of test items were incorrect, indicating that comprehension of this structure was not characteristic of the verbal behavior of the subjects tested. Use of terms such as “adult English,” “adult language,” or “adult grammar” to refer to language forms used by adults as opposed to immature forms used by children may be misleading since the terms suggest that the syntactic constructions known to adults have been delineated.

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