Syntactic Complexity in Spanish Narratives A Developmental Study Research Article
Research Article  |   June 01, 1994
Syntactic Complexity in Spanish Narratives
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Vera F. Gutierrez-Clellen
    San Diego State University San Diego, CA
  • Richard Hofstetter
    San Diego State University San Diego, CA
  • Contact author: Vera F. Gutierrez-Clellen, PhD, Department of Communicative Disorders, College of Health and Human Services, San Diego State University, San Diego, CA 92182-0151.
Article Information
Cultural & Linguistic Diversity / School-Based Settings / Language / Research Articles
Research Article   |   June 01, 1994
Syntactic Complexity in Spanish Narratives
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, June 1994, Vol. 37, 645-654. doi:10.1044/jshr.3703.645
History: Received July 26, 1993 , Accepted December 22, 1993
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, June 1994, Vol. 37, 645-654. doi:10.1044/jshr.3703.645
History: Received July 26, 1993; Accepted December 22, 1993

Syntactic complexity in the movie retellings of 77 school-age Spanish-speaking children was examined using a structural constituent analysis. The results demonstrated developmental differences in the length of T-units, index of subordination, use of relative clauses, and prepositional phrases. There were also differences in the length of T-units, use of nominal clauses, and adverbial phrases across Spanish language groups. The analysis underscores the significance of subordination as a cohesive device and as an indicator of narrative proficiency.

Acknowledgments
This work was supported, in part, by a U.S. Department of Education, Bilingual Education Doctoral Fellowship Award G008300757 to the first author from Temple University. The authors wish to acknowledge partial funding support for data collection, data analysis, and manuscript preparation from San Diego State University. We are grateful to Margaret Lahey and Holly Craig for their editorial comments on earlier drafts of this manuscript; Luis Maestre, Rhonda Johnson, Aquiles Iglesias, Jose Jimenez, and Mary Frazier for their support with data collection; Amy McGrath, Elvida Martinez, Belén Robles, and Dori Tremper for their help with data analysis; and to the teachers, parents, and children who cooperated in this endeavor.
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