First Advisor

Joan McMahon

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.) in Speech: Emphasis in Speech Pathology/Audiology


Speech Communication




Children -- Language



Physical Description

1 online resource (79 p.)


Currently language is viewed as a multi-dimensional construct, consisting of three interrelated components; content, form and function (Bloom and Lahey, 1978). In recent publications, language function has been referred to as pragmatics (Prutting, 1979). The essence of pragmatic theory is that language is used functionally in social contexts, to accomplish specific types of communication (Wood, 1981). One such communicative function is referred to as the informative function, which occurs when a speaker provides ideas and information to others, as in describing, naming and giving examples {Wood, 1981). It is not clear, however, when children become competent in making specific, clear statements when describing a referent or event. No study, found by this writer, has provided a detailed analysis of the changes that may occur in baseline descriptive strategies when children are placed under pressure to provide more information. Such data could provide additional insight into children's descriptive abilities at different stages of development.

The questions posed in this investigation were: (1) Does referential communication vary under pressure among four, six and eight year old children? and (2) How do four, six and eight year old children's descriptions vary when they are pressured to provide more information?


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