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Emakeele Seltsi aastaraamat
The Yearbook of the Estonian Mother Tongue Society
ISSN 2228-1215 (electronic)   ISSN 0206-3735 (print)

Emakeele Seltsi aastaraamat
The Yearbook of the Estonian Mother Tongue Society
ISSN 2228-1215 (electronic)   ISSN 0206-3735 (print)

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Vol. 59, Issue 1
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LOOVKIRJUTISTE SÜNTAKSIMUUTUJATE ARENG TEISMEEAS; pp. 46–76

(Full article in PDF format) doi:10.3176/esa59.03


Authors

Krista Kerge, Anne Uusen, Halliki Põlda, Helin Puksand

Abstract

Development of syntactic parameters of teenage creative writing
Within the framework of literacy development (see e.g., Ravid & Tolchinsky 2002), 159 Estonian students from grades 5 (11-12 years old), 7 (13-14), 9 (15-16) and 11 (17-18 years) experimentally wrote an argumentative text on social values. The data was described statistically.
The lexical parameters of the writings started to grow rapidly after grade 7 but did not reach the level of adults (see Kerge et al. 2014). The same goes for parameters suitable for describing richer morphosyntax (more affixation and compounding), such as OVIX indexing unique tokens, or the percentage of long words; more complex syntax, such as formality index based on the importance of noun phrases; dominance of the nominal versus verbal style; growth in lexical density (here pointing to the decline of the amount of functional words) or clausal density. Moreover, those parameters do not develop equally. In grade 5, parameter values (all typical of oral or spontaneous texts) pointed to students writing down thoughts in the order they occur. Although standard deviations were relatively smaller in grade 7, there was no significant difference between grades 5 and 7, except in the proportion of the long words and somewhat in OVIX values.
After grade 7, all parameter values grow abruptly and significantly. The development continues in the upper secondary school age but reaches the adult level only in nominal style dominance (cf. Kerge, Pajupuu 2010). The developmental curve found here is very close to what is described by Alamargot et al. (2010), and especially by Nippold et al. (2005).

Keywords

Estonian, argumentative text, cognitive and linguistic development, ratio of unique tokens, sentence length and complicacy, formality, lexical and clausal density, nominal and verbal style

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