THE FORMAL OPERATIONAL DEMANDS OF LINGUISTIC CONNECTIVES IN PROSE TEXT

NORMA S MILLER, Fordham University

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to determine the relationship between mastery of a linguistic connective, its specific formal operational analogue, and the complete formal operational structures of adolescent thinking.^ Specifically, the study analyzed the relationship between the comprehension of the linguistic structure, Disjunctive Absence, specific mastery of its cognitive analogue, the formal binary operation, Incompatibility, and mastery of the total formal operational structure of the 16 binary operations.^ Disjunctive Absence was presented in texts of varying levels of familiarity to test the Piagetian hypothesis that the formal reasoner can ignore the content of a pair of statements and treat their propositions as abstract.^ The independent variables in this study were: (1) Students' levels of formal operational thought as demonstrated by their performance on Piagetian tasks measuring general functioning with 16 binary combinations; (2) Student competence with the specific language-related formal operation, Incompatibilty.^ The dependent variable was the students' levels of comprehension of Disjunctive Absence as measured by the Linguistic Structure Test.^ The subjects for the investigation were selected from 210 seventh-grade students attending two junior (K-8) schools in Hudson County, New Jersey. The final sample included 53 male seventh graders and 52 female seventh graders, ranging in age from 12.1 to 14.0 years.^ The results indicated that when familiar terms were used in the Linguistic Structure Test, scores for concrete operators who mastered Incompatibility were not significantly different from scores for formal operators who mastered Incompatibility. However, the scores on the Linguistic Structures Test, familiar referents, for concrete operators who passed the Incompatibility Test were also not significantly different from scores for concrete operators who failed the Incompatibility Test.^ Scores on the Linguistic Structure Test, unfamiliar referents, were significantly higher for formal operators who passed the Incompatibility Test than scores for both concrete operational groups.^ The findings provide support for the necessity of an optimally functioning complete formal operational structure for consistent mastery of the connective, Disjunctive Absence, in all contexts. Nevertheless, concrete operators who demonstrated mastery of the Incompatibility rule appeared to constitute a transitional group capable of partial comprehension of Disjunctive Absence in familiar contexts. ^

Subject Area

Language arts

Recommended Citation

MILLER, NORMA S, "THE FORMAL OPERATIONAL DEMANDS OF LINGUISTIC CONNECTIVES IN PROSE TEXT" (1982). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI8213614.
http://fordham.bepress.com/dissertations/AAI8213614

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