Methods for Assessing Children's Syntax


The study of child language and, in particular, child syntax is a growing area of linguistic research, yet methodological issues often take a back seat to the findings and conclusions of specific studies in the field. This book is designed in part as a handbook to assist students and researchers in the choice and use of methods for investigating children's grammar. For example, a method (or combination of methods) can be chosen based on what is measured and who the target subject is. In addition to the selection of methods, there are also pointers for designing and conducting experimental studies and for evaluating research.

Methods for Assessing Children's Syntax combines the best features of approaches developed in experimental psychology and linguistics that ground the study of language within the study of human cognition. The first three parts focus on specific methods, divided according to the type of data collected: production, comprehension, and judgment. Chapters in the fourth part take up general methodological considerations that arise regardless of which method is used. All of the methods described can be modified to meet the requirements of a specific study.

Contributors: Helen Smith Cairns, Katherine Demuth, Jill de Villiers, Suzanne Flynn, Claire Foley, LouAnn Gerken, Roberta Michnick Golinkoff, Helen Goodluck, Peter Gordon, Kathy Hirsh-Pasek, Jennifer Ryan Hsu, Louis Michael Hsu, Celia Jakubowicz, Laurence B. Leonard, Barbara Lust, Dana McDaniel, Cecile McKee, Thomas Roeper, Michele E. Shady, Karin Stromswold, Rosalind Thornton

Language, Speech, and Communication series

Table of Contents

  1. Contributors
  2. Preface
  3. Collecting Spontaneous Production Data

    Katherine Demuth

  4. Analyzing Children's Spontaneous Speech

    Karin Stromswold

  5. What Children Know about What They Say: Elicited Imitation as a Research Method for Assessing Children's Syntax

    Barbara Lust, Suzanne Flynn and Claire Foley

  6. Elicited Production

    Rosalind Thornton

  7. The Intermodal Preferential Looking Paradigm: A Window onto Emerging Language Comprehension

    Kathy Hirsh-Pasek and Roberta Michnick Golinkoff

  8. The Picture Selection Task

    LouAnn Gerken and Michele E. Shady

  9. The Act-Out Task

    Helen Goodluck

  10. Questions after Stories: On Supplying Context and Eliminating It as a Variable

    Jill de Villiers and Thomas Roeper

  11. On-Line Methods

    Cecile McKee

  12. The Truth-Value Judgment Task

    Peter Gordon

  13. Eliciting Judgments of Grammaticality and Reference

    Dana McDaniel and Helen Smith Cairns

  14. Crosslinguistic Investigation

    Celia Jakubowicz

  15. Assessing Morphosyntax in Clinical Settings

    Laurece B. Leonard

  16. Issues in Designing Research and Evaluating Data Pertaining to Children's Syntactic Knowledge

    Jennifer Ryan Hsu and Louis Michael Hsu

  17. References
  18. Index