Article published in:Developmental aspects of written language
Edited by Sofía A. Vernon Carter and Mónica Alvarado
[Written Language & Literacy 13:2] 2010
► pp. 183–205
The lexicon in writing–speech-differentiation
The study analyzed text-embedded lexical usage as diagnostic of writing-speech-distinctions in stories and discussions produced in the two modalities by English-speaking grade-school children, middle-school pre-adolescents, high-school adolescents, and adults. We assumed that (1) while children master writing as a notational system by age 9 to 10 years, command of written language as a special style of discourse has a long developmental trajectory, and (2) distinct processing constraints and communicative circumstances combine to affect texts produced in the two modalities. Across the board, written texts scored higher than their spoken counterparts produced by the same participants on all five measures that we applied — Word Length, Register, Density, Diversity, and Abstractness — reflecting a more elevated and carefully monitored style of expression. With regard to development, high school students emerged as distinct from the two younger groups, demonstrating adolescence as a developmental watershed in discourse-embedded lexical usage as in other domains of text construction. When task order (written texts produced before or after spoken ones, respectively) is taken into account, however, a more complex, multi-faceted picture emerges with respect to the variables of age, specific lexical measure, and order effects.
Keywords: speech, writing, later language development, lexicon, word length, register, lexical density, diversity, abstractness
Published online: 30 July 2010
Cited by 11 other publications
Aparici, Melina, Rocío Cuberos, Naymé Salas & Elisa Rosado
2021. Linguistic indicators of text quality in analytical texts: developmental changes and sensitivity to pedagogical work (Indicadores lingüísticos de la calidad textual en los textos analíticos: cambios evolutivos y sensibilidad al trabajo pedagógico). Journal for the Study of Education and Development 44:1 ► pp. 9 ff.
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