Sunday, 16 May 2010

Selection of Sample Paragraphs from a Student

* It appears that Ewan becomes a bit worried that he will cause Holly to drop out of their role play game, due to his aggressive tone. He repeats the proper noun ‘Holly’ in order to grab her attention and says the verb ‘playing’ once again using a declarative where he should be using an interrogative, although this could be drawing attention to what he is doing in order to encourage Holly

* Ewan senses Holly’s disinterest in the game by his imperative “don’t go home yet Holly”. As soon as his is reassured of her interest in the game, he immediately reverts to his bossy nature again. We can see this when Holly says “that’s my money” to which he replies “no that’s my money”. He is already aware of the idea that the person with the money carries the power.

* Both children have awareness of shop role play and the structure of a transaction the structure e.g. turn taking, of the conversation used in a shop between a customer and shopkeeper; for example line 11 of text B;
Holly: How much is that
Ewan: Ten p please
Although despite Ewan’s imperatives, he still uses politeness strategies, such as “please” which is indicative of Macnamara’s theory of children being able to innately read into social situations. This is also true of Holly’s awareness of the structure of playing shop in that she uses the negative “not yet”.

* The discourse structure, is about negotiating how the game will be played. Therefore there are questions asked about what should be done and who should play what roles. Also, both children make suggestions as to what they should do in the game, however, it appears to be Holly who is setting the tone, giving the ideas and a clear grasp of the conversational structure in this context. For example, she makes a number of suggestions: "come and buy something (2) come and buy anything"

* Holly is making a helpful suggestion by saying "come and buy something (2)", but as the pause implies, she gets no response from Ewan, and hence, alters the noun "something" to "anything" in her choice of lexis. This also highlights her interest in the game compared to Ewan’s lack of at this stage; however, later on the roles appear to switch, when Ewan becomes more interested:
Holly: would you like cashback
Ewan: Do you like cashback
Holly: Yes please

* Holly is the more advanced of the two as she is using the conditional verb form in "would you" , which is quite advanced for a girl of this age. Ewan, however, does not know how to use the conditional as he uses the ungrammatical question “do you like cashback”, when he really means “would you like cashback”. Holly accepts the role of the customer without protest, despite the fact that it’s clear that they both want to be the shopkeeper.

* Holly is clearly trying to bring further imaginative dimensions to the play. The sentence ‘now you say, would you like cashback’ shows her further knowledge and attempt to apply it to play to give herself more power – also seeming to understand the connotations and actions behind the noun “cashback”. However Ewan does not comply with her instructions, saying instead, ‘do you like cashback?’ and also says this out of turn, which could be seen as imitating Holly’s knowledge of “cashback” and adjusting it to his own statement.

* When they discuss holiday destinations it becomes a competition over who’s been on the most prestigious holiday. Ewan encourages Holly to ‘go Blackpool’ with the train ticket to which Holly replies, ‘Blackpool is a horrible place’, and ‘Magalluf is a much nicer place’, using declarative to draw attention to herself and make a judgment. Ewan insists but ‘but my Blackpool is nice’ using the possessive pronoun of “my” either to emphasise his preferment or to defend the place to Holly. It is obvious that Holly’s holiday sounds more exotic and expensive, thus she wins in the battle of prestige.

* Clearly the conversation opens with Ewan protesting that he wants to take the role of being the shopkeeper. He clearly feels that the role of being the shopkeeper is of greater prestige and importance than being the customer, and hence, assigns the role to himself. This is a imperative statement in the guise of a declarative, but comes across in this form due to his lack of grammatical knowledge. He telegraphs the phrase “I want to be the shopkeeper” into “me shopkeeper”. This is a phase of language development that all children go through, however, on occasions he does have more carefully structured statements.

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