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Adapting syntax in writing to varying audiences as a function of age and social cognitive ability*

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  26 September 2008

Donald L. Rubin
Affiliation:
The University of Georgia

Abstract

Fourth-, eighth-, twelfth-graders and expert adults each wrote persuasive messages to three audiences arrayed along a dimension of intimacy to writer. Measures of social cognitive ability were also obtained. Scripts were analysed for (1) fluency, (2) subordination, (3) clause length, (4) logical adverbial clauses, and (5) conjunctions of conclusion. In addition to general developmental trends, results indicated effects of audience adaptation and of mediation of social cognitive ability. Findings support the view that evidence of later language development must be interpreted in light of communicative demands of tasks and subjects' rhetorical skills.

Type
Articles
Copyright
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1982

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Footnotes

[*]

Portions of this research are based on the author's doctoral dissertation advised by Gene L. Piché. Partial funding was provided by a University of Minnesota Foundation Dissertation Research Grant and by the University of Georgia Educational Research Laboratories. Address for correspondence: Departments of Speech Communication and Language Education, University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia 30602, U.S.A.

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