Repeating Six To Seven Syllables





PROCEDURE. Begin by saying: "_Can you say 'mamma'? Now, say 'nice

kitty.'_" Then ask the child to say, "_I have a little dog._" Speak the

sentence distinctly and with expression, but in a natural voice and not

too slowly. If there is no response, the first sentence may be repeated

two or three times. Then give the other two sentences: "_The dog runs

after the cat_," and, "_In summer the sun is hot._" A great deal of tact

is sometimes necessary to enlist the child's cooeperation in this test.

If he cannot be persuaded to try, the alternative test of three digits

may be substituted.



SCORING. The test is passed if at least _one sentence is repeated

without error after a single reading_. "Without error" is to be taken

literally; there must be no omission, insertion, or transposition

of words. Ignore indistinctness of articulation and defects of

pronunciation as long as they do not mutilate the sentence beyond easy

recognition.



REMARKS. The test does not presuppose that the child should have

the ability to make and use sentences like these for purposes of

communication, or even that he should know the meaning of all the words

they contain. Its purpose is to bring out the ability of the child to

repeat a six-syllable series of more or less familiar language sounds.

As every one knows, the normal child of 2 or 3 years is constantly

imitating the speech of those around him and finds this a great source

of delight. Long practice in the semi-mechanical repetition of language

sounds is necessary for the learning of speech cooerdinations and is

therefore an indispensable preliminary to the purposeful use of

language. High-grade idiots and the lowest grade of imbeciles never

acquire much facility in the repetition of language heard. The test gets

at one of the simplest forms of mental integration.



Binet says that children of 3 years _never_ repeat sentences of

ten syllables. This is not strictly true, for six out of nineteen

3-year-olds succeeded in doing so. All the data agree, however, that the

_average_ child of 3 years repeats only six to seven syllables

correctly.





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