THE LANGUAGE AND PLAY OF TWO GIRLS: A CASE STUDY
ADLER, AMY POSNER
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The relationship between the play and language of two girls, between the ages of 20 and 30 months was investigated. Each child was visited in her home from one to two times each month for approximately 10 months. The children were observed in a free play situation with their mother or father. All play and language were recorded and transcribed after each session. Informal experiments were conducted to clarify phenomena observed in the children's language and play which were not directly interpretable. The data were analyzed using a number of language measures and a scale of play created by the investigator. Graphs were drawn and correlations performed to appraise the relationship between language and play.;Each of the children exhibited different styles of play. One child was mainly interested in objects and their attributes and the other was interested primarily in interpersonal play. The child whose play was mainly object-directed acquired syntactic language slowly, while the other child acquired syntactic language quickly and easily. Although the two children exhibited differences in the rate and ease of syntactic mastery, they nevertheless revealed basic similarities in other aspects of language and in the relationship between language and play. Both children reached the level of symbolic play shortly after they had begun combining words together. Henceforth, their level of play remained essentially unchanged while their language development increased abruptly. Underlying cognitive structures were proposed to account for the temporal correspondence between symbolic play and the syntactic level of language, which requires planning and integration. A model of development was proposed whereby a child reaches a certain degree of symbolic achievement (indicated by her level of symbolic play) and then concentrates on mastery of the linguistic system.