A grammatical analysis of the spontaneous language use of schizophrenic versus normal L2 speakers of English

Smit, Mathilda (2009-12)

Thesis (MA (General Linguistics))—University of Stellenbosch, 2009.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: It is well-known that there is an important relationship between language and schizophrenia, given that many of the primary symptoms of schizophrenia are language related (Cutting 1985; Wróbel 1990; Sadock & Sadock 2003; Paradis 2008). Furthermore, research has shown that certain schizophrenic bilinguals exhibit different symptoms in their first language (L1) than in their second language (L2) (De Zulueta 1984; De Zulueta, Gene-Cos & Grachev 2001; Paradis 2008; Southwood, Schoeman & Emsley 2009). This thesis investigates the L2 use of schizophrenic bilinguals to determine whether there are significant differences between the types and frequency of errors made in spontaneous L2 use by schizophrenic versus normal (i.e. non-schizophrenic) bilinguals. Four schizophrenic bilinguals and four normal bilinguals (the control group) participated in this study. The controls were matched to the schizophrenics in terms of age, gender, level of education, L1 (Afrikaans) and L2 (English). Informal, thirty minute interviews were conducted with each of the eight participants, recorded on video (for the schizophrenics) or audio tape (for the controls) and carefully transcribed. Each participant's speech sample was then analyzed grammatically by means of Morice & Ingram's (1982) assessment tool. This analysis involved determining the complexity of utterances (with reference to mean length of utterance, lexical density, and number of sentence-initial and sentence-medial conjunctions) and identifying phonological, morphological, lexical, syntactic and semantic errors. In this way a language profile was created for each participant and the differences between the two groups (schizophrenics and controls) were tested for statistical significance. On the basis of the results of these statistical tests, it is argued that the locus of differences between schizophrenic and normal L2 use is semantics, rather than any of the other aspects of grammar. The thesis concludes with a discussion of the main findings of the study, some criticisms of the assessment tool and suggestions for future research in this field.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Navorsing dui op 'n belangrike verhouding tussen taal en skisofrenie, aangesien baie van die primêre simptome van skisofrenie taalverwant is (Cutting 1985; Wróbel 1990; Sadock & Sadock 2003; Paradis 2008). Verder dui navorsing ook daarop dat sekere skisofreniese tweetaliges verskillende simptome toon in hul eerstetaal (T1) as in hul tweedetaal (T2) (De Zulueta 1984; De Zulueta, Gene-Cos & Grachev 2001; Paradis 2008; Southwood, Schoeman & Emsley 2009). Hierdie tesis ondersoek die T2 gebruik van skisofreniese tweetaliges om vas te stel of daar beduidende verskille tussen die tipe en die gereeldheid van die foute is wat in spontane T2 gebruik deur skisofreniese teenoor normale (d.w.s nie-skisofreniese) tweetaliges gemaak word. Vier skisofreniese tweetaliges en vier normale tweetaliges (die kontrolegroep) het deelgeneem aan hierdie studie. Die skisofreniese groep en die kontrolegroep is eenders in terme van ouderdom, geslag, vlak van skoolopleiding, T1 (Afrikaans) en T2 (Engels). Informele dertig-minuut lange onderhoude is gevoer met elk van die agt deelnemers, opgeneem op video (vir die skisofrene) en op band (vir die kontrolegroep) en noukeurig getranskribeer. Elke deelnemer se spraakdata is hierna grammatikaal geanaliseer deur middel van Morice & Ingram se (1982) assesseringsinstrument. Hierdie analise het die volgende ingehou: die vasstel van die kompleksiteit van uitinge (met betrekking tot gemiddelde uitingslengte, leksikale digtheid, en die getal van sinsinisiële en sinsinterne voegwoorde) en die identifisering van fonologiese, morfologiese, leksikale, sintaktiese en semantiese foute. Op hierdie wyse is 'n taalprofiel vir elke deelnemer opgestel en die verskille tussen die twee groepe (skisofreniese- en kontrolegroep) is getoets vir statistiese beduidendheid. Op grond van die resultate van hierdie statistiese toetse word daar geargumenteer dat semantiek, eerder as enige van die ander aspekte van grammatika, die lokus van die belangrikste verskil tussen skisofreniese en normale T2 gebruik is. Die tesis sluit af met 'n bespreking van die belangrikste bevindinge van die studie, enkele kritiese opmerkings oor die assesseringsinstrument, asook voorstelle vir verdere navorsing in hierdie veld.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/2746
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