A Study of Sentence Combining as a Pedagogical Technique for Advancing the Syntactic Fluency of Non-Native Speakers of English

Date
2014-01-15
Authors
Viotti, Valentina
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University of Hawaii at Manoa
Abstract
This review will commence with research into language development in native speakers by Hunt (1965); Bateman and Zidonis (1966); O'Donnell, Griffin, and Norris (1967); and Hunt (1970). Reviews of language development studies which precede Kellogg Hunt's research in 1965 may be found in Me Carthy (1954), Carroll (1960), and Erwin and Miller (1963). Hunt (1965) Hunt's research pioneered in the identification of a language unit called a 'minimal-terminal unit' or a ‘t-unit'. He explains the meaning of this term as follows: ‘terminal' because it is grammatically allowable to terminate them, like sentences, with a capital letter at one end and a period or other terminal mark at the other; and 'minimal' in the sense that they are the shortest units into which a passage can thus be segmented without leaving fragments as a residue. (pp. 8-9) Thus, a t-unit, as defined by Hunt, is a sentence with only one main clause plus any subordinate clauses or non-clausal elements accompanying it, This unit replaces the highly unreliable sentence length as the traditional measure of language development --- often younger students write longer sentences than older students by virtue of simple joining devices as coordination between main clauses (Hunt, p. 11).
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