In this experiment, the development of language and speech will be studied in several stages of human growth. Four individuals were studied--each from a different age group--by recording their description of a picture and studying the characteristics of their speech. The hypothesis is that an individual's language will become increasingly complex as they age; that is, they willuse more descriptive words (nouns, adjectives, verbs) than “filler” words (pronouns, conjunctions) per sentence, and will be able to express more complicated ideas with their vocabulary.
It was ensured that each subject grew up in a household where both parents spoke English and in a country where the primary language was English. By doing so, it was ensured thatvocabulary or fluency in English would not be impacted by influence from another language.
Age 17, Male, Australian and British descent.
Grew up in California and Australia. Selected due to consistent exposure to English throughout his life.
Age 8, American descent.
Born and raised in California. Selected due to reduction of confounding variables withhis sibling by being raised in same household.
Age 6, American descent.
Born and raised in California. Selected for same reasons as her brother, Joseph.
Age 53, Hungarian American descent.
Born in Canada and raised in California. Raised with English as primary language and Hungarian as secondary. Rarely speaks Hungarian anymore. Selected due to accessibilityunder time constraints.
One 1st Generation Apple iPhone (voice recorder)
One 2nd Generation Apple iPod touch (timer)
Vincent Van Gogh's painting "The Langlois Bridge at Arles with Women Washing"
The painting we selected was Vincent Van Gogh's "Langlois Bridge at Arles with Women Washing". We selected it due to the clarity of the scene which stillhad enough complexity to be described for one minute. In addition, it was printed on a calendar, so it was much clearer and larger than any printed picture. iPods were used for timing and recording due it being more likely that any subject would probably be more familiar with an iPod than with another recording device.
The following script was followed during the interview of each subject:
1.Script for testing:
a. Hi [NAME], how are you? My name is Miquel/Blake. If it's ok with you, I'd like to record you describing a painting for a school project. I'll show you the picture for one minute, during which you can describe it in any way you want. You don’t have to use the full minute, and there isn’t a right answer. Just say whatever comes to your mind.
2. Show subjectthe voice recorder. Let them record themselves saying a short phrase and then hear it so they are comfortable with the technology (Younger subjects only)
3. Show them the picture, and begin the recording/stopwatch simulateously. Only record one minute of dialog, after which the recorder and stopwatch will be stopped and the painting will be concealed.
4. Thank the subject for theirparticipation.
Once we concluded the interview, we connected headphones to the ipod and listened to the interview while transcribing it on a computer simultaneously. Once we were satisfied with our transcription, we listened to it while reading the transcription to ensure total accuracy.
See Appendix B for transcribed interviews
Julie Horvath Adam Kelly-MillsJoseph Cudahy Mary Cudahy
Letter Count 528 955 386 114
Word Count 121 248 98 28
Avg. Letters per Word 4.36 3.85 3.93 4.07
Avg. Words per Sentence 20.1 20.66 8.1 3.5
Avg. Nouns per Sentence 2.83 3.58 1.5 0.62
Avg. Verbs per Sentence 4.16 3.08 1.75 0.75
Avg. Adjectives per Sentence 1.66 2.08 .16 0
There is only one actual calculation in the data sets...
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