Complexity: Activity 4

Syntactic complexity - Impact of task on AS-units

  1. Focusing on Anna B’s Jigsaw and Comparison tasks, choose a language segment from each task with the same number of eojeol (어절). Divide the two segments into AS-units. What is the mean number of eojeol per AS-unit in each segment?

    An eojeol is a spacing unit like a word in English. It consists of a content word or a combination with a content word and one or more function words such as case markers and predicate endings. You need to skip false starts, hesitations, and repetitions in counting eojeols.

    An AS-unit, which stands for the Analysis of Speech unit, is defined as “a single speaker’s utterance consisting of an independent clause or subclausal unit, together with any subordinate clause(s) associated with either.” (Foster, Tonkyn, & Wigglesworth, 2000, p. 365). An independent clause (IC) consists of a subject and a tensed verb. A subclausal unit (SU) is a segment that can be expanded into a full clause by reconstructing omitted elements or a minor utterance. A subordinate clause (SC) includes a verb and at least one other element such as a subject or object. The verb in a subordinate clause can be either tensed or not tensed (Tarone & Swierzbin, 2009).

    These are examples of AS-units from Sophia’s Jigsaw task:
    17   S: ǁ아마 봄? ǁ 오케이ǁ    
                   SU           SU
    27   S: ǁ그리고 나무 있어요?ǁ
    89   S: ǁ음, 음, 사람 어 이상, 이상한 사람 어, 집에 못 가요. ǁ
                                             SC                          IC

  2. Compare the number of AS-units in the segments extracted from Anna B’s Jigsaw and Comparison tasks. How many AS-units contain subordinate clauses in the two segments? Which task seems to elicit more complex sentence structure based on this analysis?

Video 1

Transcript (PDF)

Video 2

Transcript (PDF)

Please type your answers to the questions in the box below.

When you have finished typing your answer, click to compare your response with the Learner Language staff response.

Jigsaw Task
2      A: ǁ네, 집 있어요.ǁ
4      A: ǁ어, 네, 집이 하얀색이에요.ǁ 어, 제 집이 어 어 이 층 있어요.ǁ
6      A: 음?  안  
8      A: ǁ음 아 다섯 창문 있어요.ǁ
12    A: <속삭임> 계절
16    A: ǁ아 아마 봄이에요ǁ
18    A: ǁ아 아  집 앞에 어 나무 있어요?ǁ
20    A:음. ǁ어 집 앞에 아 자동차가 있어요?ǁ
22    A: 자동차?
26    A: 네
28    A: 네 <웃음>
33    A: ǁ아, 그래요? ǁ암 제 집 아 아, 아 오른쪽에서 어 다른 집이 있어요.ǁ

36 eojeols
9 AS-units
Mean number of eojeols per AS-unit: 4
0 subordinate clause

Comparison Task
4      A: ǁ네. 아, 아, 제 집도 어, 조금 어, 작은데, 어, 집이, 어 비싼 거 같아요.ǁ
5         ǁ아마 음 세 명 (..)  어(…) 어, 네 명 어 어,집에 살아요. ǁ 어(.) 자동차 있어서 아마, 어(.)ǁ
7      A: <웃음> ǁ어 돈이 많이 어, 있어요.ǁ
13    A: ǁ네, 음, 제 집 어, 어, 도시 어(.) 어(..) 도시에서 어 멀어요 어 라고 생, 생각했어요.ǁ
15    A: ǁ아, 집 아, 집에 사는 어 사람들은 아, 아, 아, 아마 안 만났어요. ǁ아, 제 집하고ǁ

36 eojeols
6 AS-units + 1 partial in line 15
Mean number of eojeols per AS-unit: 5.5
3 subordinate clauses: “제 집도 조금 작은데”, “제 집 도시에서 멀어요라고”, “집에 사는 사람들은”
1 partial subordinate clause: “자동차 있어서 아마”

When we compare the same number of eojeols extracted from Anna B’s Jigsaw and Comparison tasks, we see that the Comparison task seems to elicit more complex utterances. The mean length of her AS-units in the Comparison task is longer than that in the Jigsaw. No subordinate clauses are found in the 9 AS-units we analyzed in the Jigsaw task. In contrast, the 6 AS-units we analyzed from the Comparison task extract include three sentences containing subordinate clauses and one subordinate clause without an embedding sentence. Coordinators such as ‘-은데(but)’ and ‘-어서(so)’,  a quotation particle ‘-라고’, and a relative clause modifier ‘-는’ are used in the subordinate clauses. These coordinators and particles are not found in Anna B’s Jigsaw task performance. Thus, the Comparison task provides opportunities for Anna B to produce more complex sentence structures.


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