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Authors: TAN KAI HUI
Issue Date: 1986
Abstract: This study first originated from this writer's personal interest in the subject of cohesion and then in a natural fashion from the course in syntax. And as this writer together with three others had already gathered data on the spoken language of children in 1982 for a research project under the auspices of the Institute of Education, it was thought opportune and pragmatic to use the same corpus to investigate the system of cohesion in the speech of children. Investigative in nature, this study sought to attempt a description of the pattern of cohesive features in the children's speech, considering Singapore's unique linguistic situation; that English is used as a second language (vis-a-vis foreign language). Most of the studies on cohesion in children's language have been done with native-speaking children and in native English-speaking countries. There is no known study in depth of cohesion in children's speech in English in Singapore. Forty children (20 boys and 20 girls) of ethic Chinese parentage and aged 7-8 years were sought from two schools, Raffles Girls' Primary School and Henry Park Primary School. The father had to be in the middle-income group and educated in English up to at least GCE 'O' level. The 'home language' had to be English. And the children were 'average' as identified by their teachers. Each child was interviewed individually by an interviewer whose main task was to elicit talk. Each session lasting half an hour was recorded on tape. The children's speech was immediately transcribed by the same interviewer on the same day of recording, in order to ensure the highest degree of accuracy possible in transcription. For the purpose of this study, the speech of the interviewer was included. The system of cohesion (Halliday and Hasan 1976; Hasan 1980) was chiefly followed for the analysis of grammatical cohesion, and adapted to the analysis of lexical cohesion. Cohesive ties of reference, substitution, ellipsis and conjunction were quantified. So were the first and second person pronominals in quoted speech. However, lexical repeitions and collocations were analysed separately and differently, ie they were not quantified. Results of the analysis indicated an 'uneven' or 'patchy' use of grammatical cohesive elements by the children in their speech. Lexical cohesive relations were more regularly employed. That is to say, they were found in all the texts to a greater or lesser extent. Both grammatical and lexical cohesion were found to mutually support each other. While certain limitations of this study were revealed, it can be said that the purpose of this investigation has been achieved.
Appears in Collections:Master's Theses (Restricted)

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