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An Ethnographic/sociolinguistic approach to language by Charlene Rivera

By Charlene Rivera

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Sample text

Many of the narratives, especially of the younger children, did not in fact exhibit even this much coherence. More complexly, coherent narratives also exhibited relations of cause and effect, event and result, predicted outcome and actual outcome, event and character response, or showed relations between responses or viewpoints of two or more characters.  Clause Type as defined by Labov, particularly the distinction of Orientation and Complicating Action Clauses.  Verb Structures.  Interclausal Connectors.

Inaudible responses Prosody not effective Shuts down topic before it can be developed with "I don't know", "that's all".  In every case where a child does not display interactional or narrative skills deemed to be important, further observations of and interactions with the child are needed.  Many kindergarten students could talk intelligibly on topics, usually focusing on describing action sequences or some salient detail, but omitting explicit mention of reference or background factors.  Factors such as the student's specificity of topic, Page 17 provision of background information and explicitness of interclausal relations would then be related to whether or not the teacher understood the point that the student was making and was able to respond to what the student was saying.

And then the man was looking inside the horn, he didn't know what it was, and they all got angry, and then the frog jumped on the man's head. In general, for the older children, the clearer was the distinction between orientation and action clauses and the easier it became to apply syntactic criteria to the classification of clauses.  The frog fell on the man's face, and he falls and breaks the drum, and they're laughing, and he's angry, and he's angry, and they're laughing.  When the man went to drink his wine, the frog kissed him.

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