Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)


Family Consumer Human Development

Committee Chair(s)

Shelley K. Lindauer


Shelley K. Lindauer


Brent Miller


Carol Strong


Factors influencing language development and use are many. Teacher influences such as teacher:child ratio and teaching experience can affect the types of language children produce. Classroom influences including activities, size of the room, and length of the day also play a role in the development of language. All of these areas need to be considered in order to provide the best possible language environment for the preschool child.

In this study, the researchers examined the mean length of utterance (MLU) values of preschool children while participating at three areas in a preschool classroom : art, dramatic play, and snack. Gender differences in MLU were also studied. Sixteen children (8 females, 8 males), ranging in age from 50 to 66 months, participated in the study. The children were currently attending the Child Development Laboratory at Utah State University.

For the collection of data, the children wore a tape recorder with a microphone until a 5-minute sample from each of the areas was obtained. These audio recordings were then transcribed and calculated into MLU values.

Findings from the analysis of variance tests (3[activity : art, dramatic p l ay, snack] X 2 [gender: male, female]) demonstrated that the children had larger MLU values at snack than at art or dramatic play. Snack time has not always been recognized as an activity area for young children to display typical language use. Overall, and at the three individual areas, there were no gender differences found in MLU. Results of this study may be used in planning how to arrange and organize an environment in which the children are comfortable and have opportunities to converse with both adults and other children.