Control and use of pronouns in the writing of native American children.

Persistent Link:
http://hdl.handle.net/10150/184750
Title:
Control and use of pronouns in the writing of native American children.
Author:
Gespass, Suzanne Ruth.
Issue Date:
1989
Publisher:
The University of Arizona.
Rights:
Copyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
Abstract:
Research into the comprehension of pronominal anaphora in reading has lead to contradictory conclusions about the role of pronouns in text and about how and when they are processed by the reader. This study investigated pronoun assignment from the point of view of the writer. Pronouns and other referring expressions were examined in the writing of six native American (Tohono O'odom) children over two years while in third and fourth grade. The young writers appropriately used and controlled the full range of pronouns in regard to person, number, case and gender. In the two hundred ten text analyzed, pronoun frequency was actually greater than the pronoun frequency in professionally authored text. This finding is attributed to an overgeneralization of the language principle of economy identified by Kenneth Goodman which states that pronouns are used whenever possible except where ambiguity would result. Unnecessary repetition of the noun phrase is, thus, avoided. That the young writers conform to the rule provides evidence that they understand and control the pronoun system. Reference establishment, reference miscues, and genre influences were investigated in relation to pronoun choice, strategies for choosing, and patterns of ambiguity. Strategies for avoiding ambiguity included the use of naming and length to disambiguate. Reference ambiguities were rare and occurred primarily in situations where the text merged with the context as when the definite article or demonstrative is used to point to something in the general context of the writing situation such as a picture or reference material. Although related indirectly to genre, the specific conditions of the assignment were found to affect the amount and kind of ambiguity most directly. Developmental effects were examined in relation to sense of audience. Implications are that the direct teaching of pronominal anaphora is not only a necessary but may be counterproductive because of the unnatural focus on something that is already controlled. This study confirms and supports the strength of a whole language classroom where a writing process approach is used.
Type:
text; Dissertation-Reproduction (electronic)
Keywords:
English language -- Pronoun; English language -- Study and teaching; Tohono O'Odham Indians -- Education; Indians of North America -- Education -- Arizona
Degree Name:
Ph.D.
Degree Level:
doctoral
Degree Program:
Teaching and Teacher Education; Graduate College
Degree Grantor:
University of Arizona
Advisor:
Goodman, Kenneth

Full metadata record

DC FieldValue Language
dc.language.isoenen_US
dc.titleControl and use of pronouns in the writing of native American children.en_US
dc.creatorGespass, Suzanne Ruth.en_US
dc.contributor.authorGespass, Suzanne Ruth.en_US
dc.date.issued1989en_US
dc.publisherThe University of Arizona.en_US
dc.rightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.en_US
dc.description.abstractResearch into the comprehension of pronominal anaphora in reading has lead to contradictory conclusions about the role of pronouns in text and about how and when they are processed by the reader. This study investigated pronoun assignment from the point of view of the writer. Pronouns and other referring expressions were examined in the writing of six native American (Tohono O'odom) children over two years while in third and fourth grade. The young writers appropriately used and controlled the full range of pronouns in regard to person, number, case and gender. In the two hundred ten text analyzed, pronoun frequency was actually greater than the pronoun frequency in professionally authored text. This finding is attributed to an overgeneralization of the language principle of economy identified by Kenneth Goodman which states that pronouns are used whenever possible except where ambiguity would result. Unnecessary repetition of the noun phrase is, thus, avoided. That the young writers conform to the rule provides evidence that they understand and control the pronoun system. Reference establishment, reference miscues, and genre influences were investigated in relation to pronoun choice, strategies for choosing, and patterns of ambiguity. Strategies for avoiding ambiguity included the use of naming and length to disambiguate. Reference ambiguities were rare and occurred primarily in situations where the text merged with the context as when the definite article or demonstrative is used to point to something in the general context of the writing situation such as a picture or reference material. Although related indirectly to genre, the specific conditions of the assignment were found to affect the amount and kind of ambiguity most directly. Developmental effects were examined in relation to sense of audience. Implications are that the direct teaching of pronominal anaphora is not only a necessary but may be counterproductive because of the unnatural focus on something that is already controlled. This study confirms and supports the strength of a whole language classroom where a writing process approach is used.en_US
dc.typetexten_US
dc.typeDissertation-Reproduction (electronic)en_US
dc.subjectEnglish language -- Pronounen_US
dc.subjectEnglish language -- Study and teachingen_US
dc.subjectTohono O'Odham Indians -- Educationen_US
dc.subjectIndians of North America -- Education -- Arizonaen_US
thesis.degree.namePh.D.en_US
thesis.degree.leveldoctoralen_US
thesis.degree.disciplineTeaching and Teacher Educationen_US
thesis.degree.disciplineGraduate Collegeen_US
thesis.degree.grantorUniversity of Arizonaen_US
dc.contributor.advisorGoodman, Kennethen_US
dc.contributor.committeememberGoodman, Yettaen_US
dc.contributor.committeememberLarson, Carolen_US
dc.identifier.proquest9000129en_US
dc.identifier.oclc703631258en_US
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