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Literatura y lingüística

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BALBOA ESPINOZA, Carlos; CRESPO ALLENDE, Nina María  and  RIVADENEIRA VALENZUELA, Marcela. Syntactic development in adolescents: possible social influence. Lit. lingüíst. [online]. 2012, n.25, pp.145-168. ISSN 0716-5811.

There are two different ways of interpreting the socially correlated linguistic variation on the syntactic level. The first (Whiteman y Deutsch 1968), based on Bernstein's deficit hypothesis (Bernstein 1971), proposes that low class speakers show a poor level of language when compared with the high class speakers. The second view stems from the variationist paradigm (Labov 1965, 1966, 1972; Weinreich et al. 1968; Labov y Sankoff 1985) and considers this distinction as two different ways of expressing the same content. In this study, we compare the syntactic complexity in narratives of 60 high/low class adolescents with the same level of instruction. The narratives were segmented and analyzed using the T-unit proposal (Hunt 1970; Véliz 1988). The results indicate that-even though the high class speakers produce longer texts-there is no significant difference between the syntactic complexity of the two groups. Thus, the variationist view is supported, though it is still necessary to consider the effect of the level of instruction and the situational context of use.

Keywords : syntactic complexity; narratives; deficit hypothesis; sociolinguistic variation.

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