Volume 9, Issue 1
  • ISSN 0155-0640
  • E-ISSN: 1833-7139
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Two case studies have been done on the early language development of boys (without siblings), using a functional framework (Halliday, 1975; Painter, 1984). This paper will discuss the results of a case study of a second-born child, Alison, analyzed using the same methods as the above studies.

The similarities and differences between the children will be examined. They all made a functional distinction between language for learning (“Mathetic”) and language for doing (“Pragmatic”), although the distinction was expressed differently in Alison’s case. Differences were also noted in Alison’s development of Transitivity and Mood. The relevance of environmental factors will also be discussed.


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  1. Halliday, M.A.K.
    (1975) Learning how to mean: explorations in the development of language. London, Edward Arnold. doi: 10.1016/B978‑0‑12‑443701‑2.50025‑1
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    (1981) Individual differences in language development: implications for development and language. Developmental Psychology, 17, 2:170–187.
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    (1984) Into the mother tongue: a case study in early language development. London, Frances Pinter.
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  4. Qiu Shijin
    (1984) Early language development in Chinese children. University of Sydney, M.A. (Honours) thesis.
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  • Article Type: Research Article
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