Lorena Raquel Acosta Stelzer

Does girls’ talk go through language acquisition stages

AUTHOR: Lorena Raquel Acosta Stelzer
TITLE: Does girls’ talk go through language acquisition stages sooner than boys?
YEAR: 2008
TYPE OF ACADEMIC WORK A Tesina Paper
ACADEMIC INSTITUTION Universidad Nacional del Litoral
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KEYWORDS: L1 Children Two-Word Syntax, Language Acquisition

ABSTRACT

Taking into consideration the first three stages in child syntax, the purpose of this tesina was to discover whether girls go through language acquisition stages sooner than boys. In order to devise an adequate research methodology to test my hypothesis, I developed the different theories that characterise first language development, as well as a description of the universal stages in the acquisition of the mother tongue. I also explored early syntax and phonology in the acquisition of Spanish and mentioned some studies which already suggest that there is a female advantage over males in the language acquisition process. An ethnographic research was carried out by recording naturalistic data by 18-24 month-old-children as they were engaged in natural conversation with their peers or teacher at a nursery school. I considered variables such as sex, age and socio-economic background and used tables and pie charts to analyse and compare the speech produced by girls and boys to find differences in their rate of acquisition and number of utterances produced. I was able to confirm my hypotheses as most female subjects not only surpassed boys in the production of syntactic structure analysed in terms different categories, but were also more talkative than males.