Syntax of a 5 Year Old

21 Nov

OK, I spared you from seeing my work when coding and slashing for morphemes, calculating MLU, and finding percent mastry on this huge assignment.  Here is some syntax +/- pragmatics (we’ll see) for my language sample.  Then, maybe an updated to-do list.  Exciting, I know.  BUT–I’m sure my trip to Seattle over Thanksgiving will inspire an awesome post that will be interesting to you, my dear readers.

[D]=declarative statement

[N]=negation (complex syntax)


c [D] It smell/s bad.

c [D]  Ok, let me go.

c [D]  You never take a bath.

c [D]  I do!

c [D]  See this is [unconcop] my bath.

c [D]  And this is [unconcop] my table.

c [D]  I/*’m [concop] bigger then it.

c [D]  See he/’s [concop] bigger then this guy.

c [D]  But if there/’s [concop] no straw this is [unconcop] bigger.

c [D]  There is [concop] a straw. [11] 52/11 = 4.73

c [D]  One-hundred-thousand!

c [D]  More, more!

c [D]  Yeah.

c I took Bethany, Pee*

c [D]  Donut-hole!

c [D]  That/’s [concop] my new one.

c [D]  Today! [6 very short utterances] 12/6 = 2

c [D]  Mallory!

c [D]  Mallory we have a cat, we have a horse, we have a cow, we have a chicken, {phrasal coordination} but coordinating conjunction it look/3s like nothing of our/3s. 2 independent clauses = conjoined sentence

c So there/’s [con-]>

c [N]  (and and) and (we) we don’t have a dock.

c [N]  We don’t have a dock.

c [D]  No, it/’s [concop] not.

c Yeah, (and then and then) and then>

c [D]  I/’m [concop] just born.

c [D]  No, I/’m [conaux] fish/ing.

c [D]  No, that/’s [concop] my dad.

c [D]  Someone is [conaux] paint/ing, too.

c [D]  A little boy.

c [D]  That/’s [concop] Steve, and that/’s [concop] Tom, and then me, {phrasal coordination} and coordinating conjunction that/’s [concop] all. 2 independent clauses = conjoined sentence

c [D]  Give me a llama mommy, andcoordinating conjunction I/’ll ride it home.  2 independent clauses = conjoined sentence

c [D]  Let me out. [13] 91/13 =

c (Mmm hmm).

c [D]  This cat is [conaux] (this cat is um) sit/ing on the present. [1]

c [D+N]  SantaClause, but coordinating conjunction I don’t believe in him.  is a proper noun alone, an independent clause?

c [N]  No.

c [N]  That/’s [concop] not real.

c [D]  When subordinating conjunction you/’re [concop] at work, temporal, embedded phrase? you get us present/s to go home with.

c [D]  Mommy told me that.

c [D]  (And then) And then she leave/3s them, and coordinating conjunction she go/3s back to bed.  2 independent clauses = conjoined sentence.

c [D]  Yeah!

c [D]  And Mommy, she told me that,

c [D]  Mommy she told me. 

c D]  She/*’s [conaux] wear/ing a mustache.

c [D]  She/*’s [conaux] wear/ing a mustache. [11] 70

c [D]  It/’s [concop] so funny. [1]

c [D]  I/’m[conaux] sleep/ing with somebody!

c [D]  That/’s [concop] our cat.

c [D]  That/’s [concop] our cat, Mom.

c [D]  Momo.

c [D]  And he has [3irr] a pink nose.

c [I]  And (oh la I) I can find it faster then him, see?

c [D]  No I can find it faster.

c [D]  No I can. changes voice to reflect pragmatics

c [D]  No I can.  changes voice again to reflect pragmatics

c [D]  No I can.  changes voice back to original character to reflect pragmatics

c [D]  I can play basketball now!

c [D]  Yeah.

c [D + N]  (I I can) I can do nothing, and coordinating conjunction I don’t like anything.  2 independent clauses = conjoined sentence. changed voice again to reflect pragmatics


play- 0

talk- 0

pic- 3 instances of sentential coordination/conjoined sentences

book- 2 conjoined sentences, +/- 2 embedded sentences


total- 5-7 complex sentence forms in 55 utterances = 9% to 13% complex forms

–>  I’m glad I did put the sample on here, because I immediately saw an e among all the c, which trew off a bunch of my previous calculations.


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