School-Age Children’s Metalinguistic Awareness of Grammaticality in Verb Form This study investigated 6-, 7-, and 8-year-old children’s ability to monitor grammaticality in the past progressive, perfect progressive, and perfect verb forms. The children achieved a significantly higher rate of accurate judgments monitoring grammatical forms that ungrammatical forms. Age was a significant factor in error identification. Eight-year-olds were substantially better ... Research Article
Research Article  |   March 01, 1990
School-Age Children’s Metalinguistic Awareness of Grammaticality in Verb Form
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Judith C. Sutter
    University of Alberta
  • Cynthia J. Johnson
    University of Illinois
  • Requests for reprints should be sent to Judith C Sutter, Director, Department of Communication Disorders, Health Sciences Centre, Communication Services Building, 685 William Ave., Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada R3E 072.
Article Information
Research Articles
Research Article   |   March 01, 1990
School-Age Children’s Metalinguistic Awareness of Grammaticality in Verb Form
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, March 1990, Vol. 33, 84-95. doi:10.1044/jshr.3301.84
History: Received November 10, 1988 , Accepted July 3, 1989
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, March 1990, Vol. 33, 84-95. doi:10.1044/jshr.3301.84
History: Received November 10, 1988; Accepted July 3, 1989

This study investigated 6-, 7-, and 8-year-old children’s ability to monitor grammaticality in the past progressive, perfect progressive, and perfect verb forms. The children achieved a significantly higher rate of accurate judgments monitoring grammatical forms that ungrammatical forms. Age was a significant factor in error identification. Eight-year-olds were substantially better at identifying ungrammatical forms than were their younger schoolmates. Verb form, in conjunction with type of anomaly, significantly varied with respect to ease of identification. Errors of the auxiliary and suffix were easier for children to identify than an adverbial error which required a sentence analysis to determine the incompatibility. The context surrounding ungrammatical verb forms significantly affected monitoring ability. Anomalous forms in unrelated sentences were easier to identify as ungrammatical than anomalous forms in sentences taken from a story the children had just heard. It appears that school-age children prefer to maintain the semantic intent of the message rather than critically search for grammatical errors.

ACKNOWLEDGMENT
This study was conducted as part of the first author’s doctoral dissertation submitted to the University of Illinois. Partial financial support for the project came from the Alberta Heritage Scholarship Fund, Government of Alberta, Canada. Portions of this paper were presented in November, 1987 at the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association convention in Detroit.
Special thanks are offered to Dr. Robert Bilger for his statistical advice and to Dr. Joseph Quinn, teachers, and children in the Calgary Catholic School Board, Calgary, Alberta, for their assistance with this project.
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