Publication Date



Expressive language, Kindergarten children, Preschool children, Speech , Structural analysis (Linguistics)


Information Bulletin / Australian Council for Educational Research ; n.24

Digitised in 2022 from a print copy held by the ACER library


This bulletin reports the results of an analysis into certain categories of about 12,000 spontaneous utterances of a group of pre-school children. It is hoped that it will be found useful in providing suggestions as to the base from which oral expression work in the infant grade might start. [p.1, ed]

The group consisted of twelve boys and twelve girls, all of whom in 1951 enrolled for the first time at a state school in Melbourne. They were observed, and their speech recorded, for the ten days November 20-24, and November 27 -December 1st, 1950, while in a special group formed for the purpose at the Lady Gowrie Centre in Melbourne. Their ages ranged from 4 years 10 months to 5 years 8 months. [p.1, ed]

The records used for the analysis were made by stenographers who were instructed to record the children’s speech as accurately as possible, recording errors and incomplete words or sentences exactly as they were uttered. [p.1, ed]

Younger girls and older boys use a higher percentage of complete sentences than their age peers of the other sex. The boys use more compound and more complex sentences than the girls. There is a noticeable age trend between those groups, although there is a suggestion of a consistent increase in the percentage of complex sentences used. [p.6, ed]

There appear however, to be no differences between girls and boys, or between the younger and older groups, large enough to justify differences in the treatment of those aspects of oral expression concerned with sentence formation. [p.6, ed]

Place of Publication

Camberwell, Australia


Australian Council for Educational Research