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Profiling variability and development of spoken discourse in mainstream adolescents


Hill, E and Claessen, M and Whitworth, A and Boyes, M, Profiling variability and development of spoken discourse in mainstream adolescents, Clinical Linguistics and Phonetics, 35, (2) pp. 117-137. ISSN 0269-9206 (2020) [Refereed Article]

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DOI: doi:10.1080/02699206.2020.1731607


Competence in spoken discourse is an important consideration during assessment and intervention planning for adolescents with communication difficulties. Currently, a lack of age-appropriate protocols and reference data against which to interpret performance, are barriers when working with this population, particularly those that assess a range of genre and language features. Using a new assessment tool, the Curtin University Discourse Protocol-Adolescent (CUDP-A), this study aimed to collect and describe spoken discourse samples from a large group of adolescents (n = 160), aged 12 to 15 years, recruited to represent a mainstream academic cohort. For each participant, samples of recount (n = 3), expository (n = 3), persuasive (n = 3), and narrative (n = 2) discourse were described using theoretically supported measurements sensitive to micro-linguistic, micro-structural, macro-structural, and super-structural discourse features. Participants also completed a standardized assessment of oral language. Variability was found in micro-linguistic and microstructural features, with stability seen in macro-structural and superstructural features. Few age- and gender-related differences were observed, while multiple significant correlations between spoken discourse and oral language variables were revealed across the sample. The CUDP-A was successful in eliciting spoken discourse across genres relevant to social and academic contexts, enabling an in-depth description of adolescent discourse. This tool, supported by the reference data, provides a new opportunity to assess spoken discourse skills in adolescents from clinical populations, e.g., acquired brain injury or developmental disorders. Further research is needed to examine factors influencing discourse ability, such as those that may be related to genre, or contextual factors related to the presence of communication partners, with novel tools such as the CUDP-A facilitating this.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:discourse, adolescent, language, assessment
Research Division:Health Sciences
Research Group:Allied health and rehabilitation science
Research Field:Speech pathology
Objective Division:Health
Objective Group:Provision of health and support services
Objective Field:Allied health therapies (excl. mental health services)
UTAS Author:Whitworth, A (Professor Anne Whitworth)
ID Code:154825
Year Published:2020
Web of Science® Times Cited:5
Deposited By:Health Sciences
Deposited On:2023-01-11
Last Modified:2023-01-11

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