Developing good reading and investigative skills

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  • 1. Developing good reading and investigative skills:‘Listening’ to data and using annotation to stretch the most able students. Using AfLto enhance able pupils’ work: Assessing pupils’ annotations.Danny Collins’ Child Language Acquisition Project 2007Michael has jus returned from school and is sitting in the dining room with hismother and I. Michael is looking at his reading book from school. For the purpose ofthe transcript below, Michael’s mother is called Tina. 1 Tina : Ben Danny : Yeh (laughs) Tina : Come on Ben (.) Whats wrong Ben? (Tina leaves the room) Danny : Michael (.) what colours the dog? 5 Michael : bak Danny : Yellow (1.0) say yellow Tina : You come in with Mummy and Michael and Danny (Tina enters the room with Michael’s younger brother Ben) Tina : What’s happening now Michael (.) Look Danny’s looking atyour book 10 Danny : What’s the lady holding? Michael : aa night Danny : a light yeh Michael : dit dit Danny : What are them in the sky? 15 Michael : Dit dir Danny : What’s that in the sky Michael ? Michael : mm bnn nnn Danny : Stars Michael : Starrr 20 Danny : That’s it (laughs) Tina : Did you say that was kipper? [referring to “dit dir commentfrom Michael] Michael : Dit dir Tina : Kipper, // good Danny: //Kipper (1.0) What’s that boys (.) that girls name? 25 Michael : mmmm nah noo Tina : Is that biff? Danny: Don’t know? Michael : Bin Tina : Biff 30 Danny : Whats that there // Do you know what that is? Tina : // Chip? Danny ? You don’t know? 1
  • 2. Tina : errr shed (1.0) Say shed Michael : shedr 35 Danny : oh look what’s that Michael? Michael : odge ud ud Tina : Is he sleeping? Michael : (laughs) naahoooo Tina : Whats he doing? 40 Michael : emm in (1.0) in Tina : Theyr’e // inside Danny : // in the shed? Tina : the shed? Michael : DoneMichael is in the dining area after returning from his first day at school. I am talkingto him whilst sitting at the table. 1 Danny : Michael (1.0) What’s my name? Michael : Dan Danny : Dan? (Michael and Danny laugh quietly) 5 Danny : Who are my sisters? Michael : Ermm mm Danny : Rebecca? Michael : Rebec Danny : And Hannah 10 Michael : AnirThe following transcript was recorded two weeks after Michaels first day at school.Michael is in the living room of his house after returning from school with his olderbrother Jack and myself. I am observing the speech and recording what is being said. 1 Michael : Noo noo (.) no (1.0) mine (.) mine Jack : Don’t you want the best time // in the world this can beatanything Michael : // Noooo (.) no Michael : Dak (.) noo// 5 Jack : // Show him your wallet (.) look this isMichaels wallet Jack : You got five pound note (.) show him your five pound Michael : noo Jack : five pound (.) now I’m gunna take it Jack : Show him your // favourite colour 10 Danny : // What are you reading Michael? Michael : a buh Danny : a book? 2
  • 3. Michael : a buh Danny: Who that? 15 Michael : ooo Danny : oo? // Dr who? Michael : // oo (1.0) ye oo Danny : oo (laughs) Michael : ooo (.) oooo 20 Danny : say doctor Michael : docteer Danny : doctor (.) say doc Michael : docdir Danny : who 25 Michael : docdir Danny : yeh that’s it doctor Michael : roe Danny: rose Michael : Rose // 30 Jack : // Whos that? Michael : nun noThe following transcript was recorded two weeks after Michaels first day at school.Michael is in the living room of his house after returning from school with his olderbrother Jack and myself. I am observing the speech and recording what is being said. 1 Danny : What colour is Jack’s shirt? Michael : um umm whi // whi Danny : //good Jack : Shall I put all you stuff in a like a 5 Michael : no naho (2.0) dakkkk dakk stoppp Jack : no Michael shall we put it all nicely so Danny can seethem all? Michael : dak dak dak dakkk Jack : no so Danny can see Michael : dak book da booo 10 Jack : Now put then cards there Michael : thereIn the following conversation Michael is in his living room after returning fromschool. He is with his older brother; Jack, and his mother; Tina is also present withhis younger brother Ben. Ben is making unrecognisable babbling noises in thebackground for the duration of this recording. 1 Michael : Dan dan donir Jack : Shall I play dominos with you Michael? Michael : Dan dan! 3
  • 4. Jack : Shall we come over here and play shall we comeover here? 5 Michael : Dan dan Ben shouts out and babbles in the background Jack : Wanna play bowling? Michael : No Jack : Drive a car (.) look 10 Danny : What are they Michael? Tina :What have you got in your hand? Michael puts forward his hand Tina : No in the box (.) whats in the the box? Michael : Donir donir 15 Tina : Dominos Michael : Dan donir Dan donir Danny : Dominos // Jack : // Who’s in the picture Michael? Jack holds a photo of Michael and shows it to him 20 Michael : Me me Jack : Is that you MichaelMichael is in my bedroom with his Father; Steve, his younger brother; Ben, mymother and myself. His father is fixing my computer whilst Ben and Michael wait forhim in my room. 1 Danny : Have you got lots of friends at school? Michael : Nooo Danny : You havnt got lots of friends? Michael : Noooo 5 Steve : You have got // lots of friends Michael: // noooo Steve : luke Michael : Danny mow Steve : Danny, Daniel sorry Daniel 10 Michael : Dannir Steve : and who else? Michael : dan da err umm da da Danny : Are they your friends ? Michael : neil 15 Danny : Are you going shy? Michael : dine neil neil neil non neil Danny : Oh are you cold ? Michael : no Danny : are you cold? 20 Michael : noo neil 4
  • 5. The following transcript is taken in the living room of Michael’s home. Michael and Iare discussing a musical mat that he received for his birthday. This is the fourth timethat I have observed the speech of Michael. 1 Danny : What’s this Michael? Michael : Mat Danny : Mat? Michael : Yer 5 Danny : Oh right what do you do with the mat? Michael : ermm Michael stamps on several different sections of the mat which produce amusical note Michael : Dop Danny : Are you playing a song? 10 Michael : Naahooo Danny : No? (.) play me a song then (2.0) you playing asong?The following transcript is taken from my fourth meeting with Michael. We aresituated in the dining room of his home, and are discussing a piece of work hecompleted at school. Michael has jus returned from school. 1 Danny : Did you make these at school today? Michael : yeh (.) glittir Michael points to the different colour glitters on a sheet of paper Danny : What colours this Michael? 5 Michael : bue Danny : What about that one Michael : Ded, blue, grin Danny : Green? Michael : ni gin 10 Danny points to the gold coloured glitter Danny : Gold Michael : Gol Danny : And what colours the paper? Michael : erm bak 15 Danny : Yeeeh Michael : Mine 5
  • 6. The following transcript is a recording of a conversation between Michael andmyself. He has just returned from school and we are sitting in the dining room at hishouse. This is the fourth time I have observed Michaels speech and recorded it. 1 Danny : What are you drawing Michael? Michael : (laughs) nah no arrghh arrgghh aarghhhh (makes claw-like hand gestures) Danny : What are you drawing? The lid of a metal box falls onto the floor 5 Michael : ahhh bot (2.0) bot Danny : A box? Michael : a bot Danny : Can I draw a picture? Michael : noooo dannir 10 Danny : What shall I draw? Michael : ummm no no Danny : Tell me something to draw Michael : um um um arrggh (.) um um um Michael passes Danny a piece of paper and gestures a circle with hishands 15 Danny :What shall I draw Michael? (.) shall I draw Michael? Michael : NoThe following transcript is the Fifth meeting between Michael, and myself where Ihave observed and recorded his speech. Michael is at my house following Christmasand is playing in the dining room with my two sisters; Rebecca and Hannah. Mymother Lynda is also in the room. This transcript is taken from the 27th December,and therefore Michael is on school holidays for Christmas. 1 Danny : Bob pyjamas? Michael : yea bob pyjamir Danny : Where’s Jack and Ben? Michael : Ahome 5 Danny : At home? (.) who are they with? Michael : Mum Dad Danny : Mum and Dad (.) ahhh (1.0) have you moved housenow? Michael : noooo Danny : Do you live in a new house now? 10 Michael : noooo Danny : Is it nice? Michael : noooo Danny : oi! 6
  • 7. Michael bursts into laughter and switches his attention to Danny froma toy 15 Danny: Do you like your new house? Michael : Yuh Dan Danny : Whats it like? (.) whats it like? Michael : uuuhhhhh yuh Danny : Is it big? 20 Michael : BiaThe following transcript is the Fifth meeting between Michael, and myself where Ihave observed and recorded his speech. Michael is at my house following Christmasand is playing in the dining room with my two sisters; Rebecca and Hannah. Mymother Lynda is also in the room. This transcript is taken from the 27th December,and therefore Michael is on school holidays for Christmas. 1 Danny : Hello Michael Michael : Hello mimir Danny : Are you going home soon? (.) who’s coming to getyou? Michael : ummm Mum Daddir 5 Danny : How are you getting home? Michael : ummm Daddir up Danny : Are you going in the car? Michael : dar Danny : What colours your car? 10 Michael : umm whi Danny : It’s green isn’t it? Michael : Noo whi! Danny : It’s white? Michael : yeh whi (.) whi 15 Danny : Silver? Michael : Noo whi! Danny : White oh right (1.0) what did you do in Romford? Michael : ermmm brurk Danny : Did you shop? 20 Michael : Dop dop Danny : Did you buy anything? Michael : No buy Danny : no buy? Ahhh (.) So what are you going to do tonight, are you going to see Ben and jack? 25 Michael : Ben and DakThe following transcript is the Fifth meeting between Michael, and myself where Ihave observed and recorded his speech. Michael is at my house following Christmasand is playing in the dining room with my two sisters; Rebecca and Hannah. Mymother Lynda is also in the room. This transcript is taken from the 27th December, andtherefore Michael is on school holidays for Christmas. 7
  • 8. 1 Danny : Are you alright Michael? (.) Michael Michael : Beccc Danny : You alright? Michael : alriggh Dannir5 Danny: What did you get for Christmas? Michael : bob bob Danny : Bob? (.) You mean Bob the Builder? Michael : builder Danny : Really?10 Michael : nyee Danny : Did you have a good Christmas? Michael : dit dir Danny : Did you have a good Christmas ? Michael : dit dir (1.0) ye15 Danny : Yea ? (.) Did you eat lots of food ? Michael : nooo egg dough Danny : Egg on toast? Michael and Danny laugh Danny : What did you have for breakfast this morning?20 Michael : egg dough Danny : Egg on // Michael : // Dannir, danny (.) egg dough Danny : Egg on toast Michael : nyee (.) Beckdir (.) doo25 Danny : Two? Michael : Dannir Danny : Was it nice? Michael : Yea Danny : Nice (.) I like your top, what colour is it?30 Michael : errmmm whi Danny : Grey Michael : Grey Danny : Brown Michael : Bown35 Danny : Who did you sleep with last night? Michael : errrmm ummm (.) Beckdir bed Danny : You slept in a bed? Lynda : Rebecca’s bed Danny : Ah Rebecca’s bed. 8
  • 9. Analysing the dataRemind yourself of the relevant Assessment ObjectivesAO1 - Select and apply a range of linguistic methods, to communicate relevantknowledge using appropriate terminology and coherent, accurate written expressionAO2 - Demonstrate critical understanding of a range of concepts and issues related tothe construction and analysis of meanings in spoken and written language, usingknowledge of linguistic approachesAO3 - Analyse and evaluate the influence of contextual factors on the production andreception of spoken and written language, showing knowledge of the key constraintsof languageAO4 - Demonstrate expertise and creativity in the use of English in a range ofdifferent contexts, informed by linguistic studyCRUCIAL GRADE DESCRIPTOR – DISPLAY IN YOUR CLASSROOMS!A/B boundary performance descriptions Candidates characteristically: a)communicate relevant knowledge and understanding of the methods of languagestudy b) consistently use appropriate terminology to support interpretations whenapplying this understanding c) structure and organise their writing well d)communicate content and meaning through expressive and accurate writing.Candidates characteristically: a) communicate relevant understanding of linguisticapproaches, concepts and issues b) explore the significant features of linguisticvariation that create meaning in spoken and written language c) generally use specificreferences to support their responses. Candidates characteristically: a) explore therelationships between spoken and written language and the contexts in which both areused b) communicate a practical understanding of issues relating to language in use.Candidates characteristically: a) write effectively in a form and style matched toaudience, purpose and genre b) select and order relevant content c) identify here, andsuggest how, key linguistic features are used in their writing to create specific effects. 9
  • 10. Analysing the data Annotate the data, spotting all therelevant features you can: Contexts Pragmatics Semantics Grammatical features Phonological features Put question marks by ANYTHING youdon’t understand Grouping data Discuss the data What is going on here? What are themost interesting aspects of the data? Whatinterests you? What questions could you ask of thedata? TAKE A STEP BACK FROM IT: Whatare the MAJOR AREAS OF INTEREST? 10
  • 11. What is this data saying to you? Group the data Write out a few different categories forgrouping the data Gather quotation to fit into yourcategories START ANALYSING! 11
  • 12. A2 English Language Investigation– D Collins’ response Child Language AcquisitionIntroduction The process of the acquisition of language in children is one of the wonders ofhuman development. The ease at which children acquire basic grammar andvocabulary is something that causes much debate among linguists. Especiallyprominent are the theories of Chompsky and Skinner. Chompsky argues that everyhuman has the capacity for deep universal grammar, whereas Skinner puts forwardthe case that children learn language by the processes of negative and positivereinforcement. My interest in the acquisition of language in children stems from the study ofLanguage development in Unit 6. By accompanying my studies in class, with thefurther reading required for the Language Study it has allowed me to complementeach Unit well. In addition to this I have a keen interest in the development oflanguage in children. A specific reason for this is because I am able to relate mystudies to my cousin who is fours years old, and at a key stage in languageacquisition. My cousin; Michael, recently began infant school, and is currently being taught bya special needs teacher. This is because of his delayed acquisition of speech, which issignificantly below that expected for his age. A major reason for this is that he suffersfrom Dispraxia, which is a condition that affects the co-ordination of the mouthmuscles and can affect speech. At the age of four, his speech is mostly restricted toone-word utterances and sounds. For this reason I have decided to base my languagestudy upon the how the acquisition of language in Michael is affected by specialneeds education in his first months at school.Methodology Over a period of three months I have observed Michael and his speech five times.The first transcript is recorded following his first day at primary school, and the last isrecorded three months later following Christmas. There are a total of 20 transcripts,and I will aim to use around 15 of these when analysing Michael’s communicationskills. The lengths of the transcripts range from 15 seconds to around a minute, and Ihave transcribed them directly from a digital camera recording. I have aimed to keepthe semantic fields of my transcripts as narrow as possible, and have targeted specifictopics such as friends, school, the home, colours and clothing. Using this method, it 12
  • 13. will be possible to chart any development in Michael’s speech regarding a certaintopic over a period of months. The audience in the transcripts varies, but I am present at each recording. In two ofthe recording sessions Michael’s brothers are present as is his mother. In the threeremaining sessions, I have observed speech between Michael and his father, and hisaunt and cousins. Using this method, I will be able to analyse any potentialdifferences in his speech depending on the company he is in.Analysis Questions It is key to examine how responses from Michael differ depending on the nature ofthe question posed to him. A key type of question I have posed to Michael has beenOpen Questions, which give little clue of the answer required in the question. In myfirst meeting with Michael from transcript 1 and 2 the following questions are posedto Michael. Transcript 1 line 1 and 2 Danny : “Michael(1.0) What’s my name?” Michael : “Dan” Transcript 2 line 1 and 2 Danny : What’s your favourite colour Michael? Michael : mmm gin Here we can see that if basic open questions are posed to Michael then arecognisable answer is given. “Gin” represents Michael’s intention of saying “green”,but due to difficulties with pronunciation, Michael cannot link “g-r” at the beginningof the word. I will look to further examine Michael’s phonological problems later inthe project. To examine open questions more closely it is vital to study examples of moresophisticated questions posed to Michael. Transcript 10 line 10,11,12 and 13 Danny : Your moving house? Michael : Ye Danny : Where are you moving to? Michael : mummir, daddir, ben, dak, me, daddir 13
  • 14. From this example we can see that Michael’s struggles to understand the secondquestion posed. In the semantic field of “the house”, Michael associates his familymembers with the home. Instead of taking note of the word “where”, Michael insteadconfuses it with “who”. Pragmatically this could mean that Michael has a notion ofmoving house, and uses the people he is moving with to reinforce his understandingof the question. I have recorded further evidence of this reinforcing of an answer, andthis is shown below. Transcript 15 line 35 and 36 Danny : Who did you sleep with last night? Michael : errrrrmm ummmm (.) Beckdir bedHere it again appears that Michael fails to understand to nature of the question andconfuses “who” with “where”. However, I believe this further proves the point I madepreviously, that Michael is reinforcing his answer, expanding on the answer by givingfurther details, and stating where it was that he slept last night. Transcript 3 line 16 and 17 Danny : What’s that in the sky Michael? Michael : mm bnn nnn Again we can see that when a sophisticated open question is posed to Michael, hestruggles to understand. This is shown by the “mm bnn nn”, which signifies Michael’sintention to answer, but his lack of understanding for the question posed. A key point to raise about open questions, is that they are more pragmaticallychallenging to the recipient, especially to child in the process of language acquisition.This is because the range of possible answers and the sophistication is commonly of agreater complexity and diversity. Closed questions are more comforting on the otherhand, because they only incur a set number of responses. This could explain whyMichael has responded less well when posed open questions as opposed to closedquestions. Closed questions offer limited responses to the question posed. This usuallyincorporates an answer of “yes” or “no”. I will now look at some closed questionsposed to Michael to observe how he responds to them. Transcript 7 line 5 and 6 Lynda : Do they [fireworks] go up in the sky? 14
  • 15. Michael : yeh dye (.) ye Transcript 8 line 17 and 18 Danny : Oh are you cold? Michael : No From these transcripts we can already gather that Michael appears to be morecomfortable when asked questions which require a “yes or no” answer. As opposed toopen questions, closed questions offer Michael a clue as to the answer required. Aninteresting observation from these two transcripts is that they both refer to on of thefive senses, these being touch and his visual skills. This could suggest that Michaelhas a solid understanding of sensual feelings and in turn can respond to questionsposed in relation to them. In understanding speech, Michael occasionally needs prompting to be able toprovide an answer. An example of this is repetition. Transcript 9 line 2,3,4 and 5 Steve : Say cheese Michael : Cheeeee Steve : Say cheese Michael : Deeeeese From this transcript we can see that following a further prompt from his father,Michael manages to pronounce the “se” an the end of the word cheese, however healso fails to pronounce the “ch” sound and instead replaces it with “d”. This is injuxtaposition to the first time Michael attempts to pronounce cheese, where hesuccessfully pronounces “ch”, but does not incorporate “se” into the ending of theword. This could suggest more about Michael’s phonological traits than hisunderstanding through further prompting by his father. It is possible that Michaelfinds it difficult to include two complex sounds such as “ch” and “se” at the sametime. Instead he manages to pronounce one of these in each of his attempts topronounce cheese. A further example of this is shown below. Transcript 13 line 11,12,13 and 14 Danny : Gold 15
  • 16. Michael : Gol Danny : And what colours the paper? Michael : erm bak As before we can see that Michael fails to incorporate a consonant sound with adigraph within the same word. Here the two examples are Gold and Black. Whenpronouncing gold, Michael has no problem in pronouncing “g”, but when it has to becombined with the ending of “d”, he fails to pronounce the whole word. Again, whensaying black, Michael fails to combine the digraph of “Bl” with the consonant endingof “k”. These facts suggest that Michael finds it hard to combine two consonants,digraphs or a digraph and a consonant when they occupy the beginning and ending ofa word.A further method of requesting information from Michael is through issuingstatements or imperatives. These demand an answer from the recipient and are moredeclarative than a question. It is important to see how Michael responds to statementsas opposed to open and closed questions. Transcript 11 line 12 and 13 Danny : Tell me something to draw Michael : um um um arrggh (.) um um um Danny: What shall I draw Michael? (.) Shall I drawMichael? Michael : No From this extract we can compare the differing reactions from Michael when given aquestion and a statement. When told, “tell me something to draw” Michael respondswith the false start or filler token of “um um um arrggh (.) um um um” suggestingthat Michael is willing to give a response, but is unable to understand the nature of therequest. The beginning of the utterance; “tell me”, could be seen as more abrasivethan beginning with “what” or “why”. This could explain why Michael struggles togive an answer. When the same request is given in the form of a question; “What shallI draw Michael? (.) Shall I draw Michael?”, the answer “no” is given immediately,suggesting Michael understood the nature of the request better when posed as aquestion rather than a statement. The nature of questions and requests posed to Michael are of vital importance tothis study because they give and insight into Michael’s development, and indicatewhere he stands in his understanding of basic commands. Through looking at varioustranscripts, I have found that when open questions are posed to Michael, he responds 16
  • 17. in a positive manner when the semantic field of the question is one in which he iscomfortable. For example in terms of family and school, Michael tended to respondpositively to open questions asked. However, when the semantic field of the questionwent past the boundaries of what he was comfortable with. Then the responsesbecame either non-existent, or less confident and short. Michael tended to react farbetter to closed questions, because they offered a clue as to the nature of the questionwhen asked. In their response, they often only require a single word, and so Michaelwas often more comfortable in answering question that needed a simple “yes or no”. I looked at repetition as a way of gaining a response out of Michael, and theyworked to a certain extent. Repetition is often used to correct phonological errors andso they are used often in conversation with Michael. I found that when someone wastalking to Michael and a word was stated in order for him to repeat it, Michael oftenunderstood that he had to copy the speaker, but whether he was successful or notdepended upon the phonological complexity of the word. For example I found thatMichael often found it difficult to combine to complex sounds in a word such as “ch”and “se” when repeating the word cheese.Audience Through studying my transcripts of Michael’s speech, I have noticed that theaudience to whom Michael is in conversation with is key to his interest in theconversation, tone and length of response. I have observed conversations betweenMichael and his mother, father, younger brother, aunt and myself. Firstly I will examine Michael’s interaction with his mother through speech. Transcript 3 line 37, 38, 39 and 40 Tina : is he sleeping? Michael : (laughs) naahoooo Tina : What’s he doing? Michael : emm in (1.0) in In the context of discussing his schoolbook, it can be ascertained that Michaelshows a positive mentality towards the conversation. When asked two questions (onea closed and the other an open question), Michael provides a response which answersthe question. Michael laughing when he is asked the first question suggests a positiveinterest in the conversation. Also as seen before, the open questions provides a lessprecise and detailed answer than a closed question. The reason behind this is againthat when Tina asks, “is he sleeping”, a clue is given as to the semantic field of thequestion, and so provides Michael with an idea of how to respond. A further reasonbehind Michael’s positive interaction with his mother could be attributed to the factthat Tina is more aware of the semantic fields to which Michael responds the best.This would be because she spends the most time with Michael, and has moreexperience of his speech and responses 17
  • 18. I will now look at how Michael’s responses and attitudes towards conversationdiffer when talking to his father. Transcript 9 lines 6-14 Danny : How are you today? Steve : Say I’m, fine Michael : Dine Danny : What colour is your shirt? Michael : umm umm um it um mm um Steve : Yellow Michael : Nanir Steve : And purple Michael : Purpir Straight away from this transcript we can see that Michael’s father appears to take amore proactive role in the conversation. There are visibly more prompts andphonological clues given by the father, and he appears to be more expectant ofanswers. This expectant nature is shown when Steve states “Dine”, and “yellow”before Michael offers a response. This could suggest that Steve has less confidence inMichaels phonological capability than his mother, and so offers help through prompts,often before Michael has been given chance to offer a response. It appears to showthat even when not confident about a word or response Michael attempts to give ananswer because of the expectant nature of his father’s speech. The transcript showsthat Michael has not yet mastered the sound of “y”, “le” and “f”. Twice he replacesthe ending to a word with “ir”, and this could possibly suggest that when Michael isnot confident about the final syllable he replaces it with a sound he is comfortablewith, this being “ir”. We can also see that again Michael responds positively torepetition of the word, however as before, he struggles with the phonological aspectof the word as opposed to the understanding of it. The final conversation I wish to observe is one between Michael and his olderbrother Jack who is 9 years old. It is important to establish how Michael’s speechdiffers when talking to another child as opposed to his parents. Transcript 5 line 1-7 Danny : What colour is Jack’s shirt? Michael : um umm whi // whi Danny : // good Jack : Shall I put all your stuff in a like a 18
  • 19. Michael : no naho (2.0) dakkk dakk stoppp Jack : No Michael shall we put it all nicely so Dannycan see them all? Michael : dak dak dak dakkk When asked a question by myself, Michael provides a positive answer, this being“whi”. Again, however we can see that Michael cannot use the “t” sound as thecorrect last syllable of the word white. Michael’s attitude is positive to the questionposed by myself, however his attitude changes when Jack enters the conversation.When asked a question by Jack, Michael responds with “no naho, dakkk dakkstoppp”, and when this question is followed up the next response is “dak dak dakdakkk”. Such a sudden change of attitude towards the conversation can be attributedto the fact his brother is now asking him questions. Because of his greater familiaritywith Jack, it can be ascertained that Michael is more comfortable to express negativityin his speech. An example of this negativity in his speech is shown by the followingextract. Transcript 6 line 4,5,6 and 7 Jack : Look these are mine Michael : No mine Jack : No these are all mine Michael : Noooo This differs from when he is in conversation with myself, as although I am a memberof Michael’s family, I spend little time with him in comparison with Jack. Therefore itcould be said that he is less willing to express his true negative feelings toconversation with me. Michael’s relationship with Jack is also different to that of hisparents. When in conversation with his parent’s they command authority overMichael, and a greater level of respect is shown in his speech. When questions areposed, which maybe out of the interest of Michael, he stills attempts to give ananswer, which is in juxtaposition to his brother Jack. This could possibly be anexample of parent’s expectant of answers from their children, and thus pressuringthem towards corrects speech through the use of repetition and prompting. The morerespectful nature of Michael’s speech is shown below when in conversation with hisfather. Transcript 8 line 7,8,9,10,11 and 12 Steve : Luke Michael : Danny mow Steve : Danny , Daniel sorry Daniel Michael : Dannir Steve : And who else? 19
  • 20. Michael : dan da err umm da da From this extract we can again see that Michael responds positively when posedquestions by his Father. He offers answers when prompted or asked, and this is vastlydifficult to when in speech with Jack, when only negative responses to denote a lackof interest in the conversation are given. It is probable that even if Michael lacksinterest in a conversation with his father, he will still offer an answer because of theauthoritive context of a conversation with a parent. Paralinguistic features are key when trying to ascertain whether Michael hasunderstood the nature and context of a question. Speech is only an aspect ofcommunication, and paralinguistic features also come under this umbrella ofcommunication. Therefore they can be used to show understanding, to communicateback a response and are a different component to study Michael’s understanding ofspeech. Transcript 10 line 3,4 and 5 Danny : What did you do at school today? Michael gets up from the table and begins to point at acardboard box Michael : bot bot Transcript 11 line 1 and 2 Danny : What are your drawing Michael? Michael : (laughs) nah no arghh arrgghh aarghhhh (makes clawlike hand gestures) From the first transcript we can see that when posed an open question, Michaelunderstands the context and nature of it, but cannot respond immediately. Thequestion posed is highly conceptual, and requires Michael to recall information andthen summarise it in a response. To avoid ignoring the question, Michael points to abox in the room to signify the fact that he has encountered boxes at school today. Hethen tries to follow this up by accompanying it with some speech, this being “botbot”. Again we can see from this utterance that Michael finds it difficult to pronouncesome complex sounds such as “x”. Michael understands the concept that he mustsummarise the nature of his question into a relevant response, and he summarises thisdown to “bot bot” which incorporates the main activity of his day at school. Thisactivity was painting boxes, and therefore we can ascertain that Michael’s level ofunderstanding is on a level with the questions posed to him, but again, it is shown thathis phonological ability does not match his conceptual awareness. 20
  • 21. The second extract again shows paralinguistic features, but this time Michael usesthem to emphasise the point he has just made though speech. It is key to understandthat when asked the question, Michael is drawing a dinosaur. When asked what he isdrawing, Michael uses onomatopoeia, which he links to the subject of his drawing.The “arrghh” utterance signifies Michael’s linking of this sound often associated witha monster, to the dinosaur in his picture. He then follows this up by making a clawlike gesture with his hand. This again shows that Michael associates this action withdinosaurs or monsters through a semantic field of horror, monsters and dinosaurs. Theuse of the gesture is used to back up the utterance, which Michael has given, andcould suggest that he is not entirely confident that I have understood him based on thespeech alone. In this case he uses a paralinguistic feature to confirm myunderstanding. Phonology From studying the transcripts, it is clear to see that Michael struggles regularly withthe pronunciation of certain letters and digraphs. I will look to highlight particularlyprominent examples of this, and analyse whether there is a link between the soundsand how they are pronounced. “h” “gr” “”j” “k” « e e » or «y» On several occasions Michael has a clear difficulty in pronouncing “h”. Whenattempting to pronounce “Hannah”, he instead responds with “anir”. A furtherexample is when talking about “Dr Who”, Michael instead pronounces it as “oo”. When talking about the word “green”, Michael fails to pronounce the digraph “gr”and instead says “guin” This occurs twice in the same conversation, and so it can beseen to be a problem with Michael’s phonology rather than an anomaly. Further on intranscript 13, Michael again fails to pronounce “green”, in its place he says “guin”. Michael appears to also have a problem when pronouncing “j”. This is particularlyprominent when attempting to say his Brother Jack’s name, which appears to alwaysbe pronounced as “Dak”, and is shown clearly in Transcript 4. Also in Transcript 4, itbecomes clear that Michael has problems when pronouncing “k”. Instead of ending“book” with a “k”, Michael instead substitutes the “k” for a “h” and says “buh”. Thiscould suggest that Michael realises his difficulty in pronouncing “k” and insteadreplaces it with a phoneme he is more comfortable with, this being “h”. 21
  • 22. A very prominent feature or Michael speech is the use of the phoneme “ir”, whichreplaces several endings to words. The most common of these is when Michael ispronouncing a word which ends in “ee” or “y”. For example in transcript 6, “money”has been pronounced as “monir”, “mummy” and “daddy” are “mummir” and “daddir”and “Danny” is pronounced “dannir”. From looking at this, it is clear that Michaelstruggles when pronouncing the phoneme “ee” or “y”. Instead he substitutes it with asound that he is comfortable with, and this is “ir”. What appears clear about the connection between “ee” and “ir” is that they bothexpress a relatively similar sound. It may be possible that in the comfortable contextof a home situation, Michael becomes comfortable in saying “ir” as opposed to “e” or“yy”, and therefore it becomes a habit to which he is not corrected. It could bepossible that if he was in a different contextual situation such as school, then becausehe was less comfortable, Michael would be more open to correction of his mistake.Also the fact that Michael replaces “ee” with the similar sounding “ir” could possiblypoint towards Chomsky’s theory of Universal Grammar. This theory suggests thateach human has the deep grammar to be able to produce language, and this is differentto all other species on Earth. The fact that Michael cannot pronounce “ee”, but useshis initiative to instead say “ir” suggests that Michael has a clear understanding ofgrammar. He appears to understand that “ir” would be recognisable to a listener if itreplaces “ee”, and therefore because “ir” is a sound he is comfortable in producing, heestablishes it as a substitute for “ee”.Conclusion After analysing my transcripts I have uncovered some interesting patterns andpossible reasoning behinds Michael’s speech patterns. As stated at the beginning ofthe study, Michael suffers from Dispraxia; a condition which affects the fine motorskills and most notably control of the tongue and mouth. It is important to understandthat Michael intelligence is not affected by Dispraxia, only his means to convey itthrough speech. For this reason Michael is undergoing the phases of languageacquisition a year or two after his peers. I have consistently found that Michael conceptual awareness and understanding ofcontexts is often let down by his phonological ability. He has the ability to understand 22
  • 23. questions and sentences, which has been shown by his limited speech andparalinguistic features. However, it is his lack of phonological capability due toDispraxia that prevents him from conveying his understanding. Michael pragmatic awareness has been shown to be normal for his age severaltimes. He understands the needs to summarise responses, and even provides answerswhich build upon the expected answer. Again it is his speech capability that lets himdown. Context is a very important issue when understanding Michael’s speech. I havenoticed several times that his speech has been shaped by the contexts in which he findhimself., and also that he adapts his speech to fit certain social situations. This isanother example of Michael’s firm grasp of pragmatic understanding of speech. A keyexample of context is the tone to which Michael speaks in. This varies between arespectful, and engaging tone when conversing with his parents, to a more brash andnegative attitude when talking to his older brother Jack. The context of the householdstipulates that a positive tone should be taken when talking to his parents, as they holdan authority over Michael. This authority is not present when talking to his brother,and therefore the tone of conversation from Michael does not reflect this. Thesefactors show that Michael has a clear understanding of the context of conversation,and the tones he should talk to various people in. A final point I have observed about Michael’s speech is again context bound. Hehas developed some bad habits when learning to speak, most notably replacing wordendings with “ir”. This could be explained by a lack of correction within the contextof the household. Michael will feel a sense of comfort at home, and therefore will bemore relaxed when speaking. If at school, his speech is liable to change due to thedifferent context and his knowledge that he is more likely to be corrected. TASK: Mark this investigation using the grid and assessmentobjectives.ONCE YOU’VE GRADED IT, COMMENTING ON ITSSTRENGTHS AND WEAKNESS, BULLET POINT WHATYOU HAVE LEARNT ABOUT LISTENING TO DATAHERE: 23
  • 24. Language ChangeLog onto this website and research the British Library’scatalogue, finding two texts of similar genres to compare:http://www.bl.uk/catalogues/illuminatedmanuscripts/TourIntroGen.aspMAKE UP YOUR OWN SCHEME OF WORK!Useful background material can be gathered at:www.universalteacher.org.ukand click on the links for English Language A LevelRead the material and answer the quizzes. 24
  • 25. A Level English Language essayNAME:______________________________ESSAY TITLE:________________________________________________________ D B C D EDESCRIPTOR A DESCRIPTORI N T R O D U C T I O NMain issues are outlined in the No attempt to illustrateintroduction, including contours of question.comprehensive references topossible CONTEXTS.Introduction highlights the Introduction fails to addressimportance of the question. the question.ABIDING BY ASSESSMENT OBJECTIVESAO1 - Select and apply a range Select and apply a very fewof linguistic methods, to linguistic methods, tocommunicate relevant communicate relevantknowledge using appropriate knowledge using appropriateterminology and coherent, terminology and coherent,accurate written expression accurate written expressionAO2 - Demonstrate critical AO2 - Demonstrate limitedunderstanding of a range of understanding of a range ofconcepts and issues related to concepts and issues relatedthe construction and analysis of to the construction andmeanings in spoken and written analysis of meanings inlanguage, using knowledge of spoken and written language,linguistic approaches using knowledge of linguistic approachesAO3 - Analyse and evaluate the AO3 – Describe in a limitedinfluence of contextual factors fashion the influence ofon the production and reception contextual factors on theof spoken and written language, production and reception ofshowing knowledge of the key spoken and written language,constraints of language showing knowledge of the key constraints of languageAO4 - Demonstrate expertise AO4 – Demonstrate veryand creativity in the use of little expertise and creativityEnglish in a range of different in the use of English in acontexts, informed by linguistic range of different contexts,study informed by linguistic study SUMMARY: MARK: TARGETS: GRADE: 25