Linguistic issues in the competence and performance of hearing-impaired children: The GAEL Test
AdvisorMitchell, Judy N.
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractThis is a linguistic analysis of elicited responses obtained in a language proficiency test of hearing impaired children (Grammatical Analysis of Elicited Language). The analysis focuses on the language, the social situation and setting of the test activity to describe the characteristics that are observable in the elicited responses--specifically the deviations from the target responses of the test, and on discovering the underlying rules that function to guide some of the systematic deviations in the participants' language in the test. The study examines the following features of the deviated responses: the grammatical structure, the syntactic/semantic acceptance and contextual appropriateness of the responses. The study develops procedures for analysis along each of these dimensions, called the Observed Response Analysis based on miscue analysis (Goodman: 1987) and error analysis (Corder: 1981). Some of the deviations were shown to be significantly systematic throughout the test. These systematic grammatical structures in children's underlying system were validated by the developed methodology. There were also many cases where the deviations were inconsistent, the grammatical structures were used 'correctly' at one place and 'incorrectly' at another. This inconsistency in language stems from the transitional nature of grammar which the learners are using. It has puzzled some teachers for a long time how a speaker can know something in one context and not know it in another context. Such uncertainties arise from the belief that speaking is word recall. The imitative responses were also inconsistent sometimes, implying thereby that speaking is more than simply imitating, memorizing or recalling. Children's language took precedence over the language of the test. This understanding of the psycholinguistic processes involved in deviations from the expected language of the test has pedagogical implications for the teachers, testers, or any educators who would like to use tests for diagnostic or prescriptive purpose and adds to the knowledge of not only 'what' children do on the language tests but 'why' they show specific linguistic deviations and what these deviations reflect about children's developing language competencies.
Degree ProgramLanguage, Reading & Culture