This February we published Profiling Grammar edited by Paul Fletcher, Martin J. Ball and David Crystal. In this post the editors explain more about the grammatical profiles used in the book.
The clue is in the title. In this volume, as well as its companion published four years ago, the ultimate goal of every chapter – each on a different language – is to capture the significant features of pre-school children’s grammatical development and portray them on a single page.
The model for the grammatical profiles of the various languages featured in the book is a profile for English developed over three decades ago at the University of Reading. This was given the acronym LARSP, standing for Language Assessment, Remediation and Screening Procedure. Subsequent extensions to other languages have echoed this in the labels given to the new profiles – HARSP for Hebrew, HU-LARSP for Hungarian and ILARSP for Irish, for example.
As the original acronym indicates, the summaries of grammatical development outlined in a profile are intended to have a practical application. They serve as templates against which the progress of children suspected of language delay or impairment can be evaluated. (They have also been used to assess the grammar of adult aphasics, as is the case for the chapter on Bulgarian in this book). Profiles also provide a pathway for intervention if deficits are identified. They are designed primarily for use by speech and language therapists.
The twelve new profiles in this volume, covering languages of Africa (Afrikaans), India (Hindi and Kannada), Malaysia (Malay) and the Far East (Cantonese, Japanese, Korean), as well as Europe (Bulgarian, Finnish, Greek, Hungarian, Swedish), augment the twelve featured in a companion volume published in 2012. Each chapter provides a grammatical sketch of the language, a discursive account of grammatical development in typically developing children, a description of the profile, and in most cases the application of the profile to the language of a child with impairment. The languages featured are typologically various, and it will be fascinating for readers to see how authors come to terms with the issues posed by the grammatical characteristics of their language, within the constraints of the profile approach.
A third volume is in preparation.
Paul Fletcher, Martin Ball and David Crystal