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Book: Genre Pedagogy Across the Curriculum

Chapter: Young writers' attempts at making meaning through complex sentence structures while writing a variety of genres

DOI: 10.1558/equinox.24919


The formation of clause complexes, i.e. combination of more than one clause, and the logical-semantic relations between the clauses in these complexes is one aspect of the written language that changes as students progress in their ability to write. This study analyzed students’ text to understand how children use language resources to create logical-semantic relations when constructing clause complexes in a variety of genres. The writing of students grades 4 through 8, showed two patterns. One is the use of “and” as a default language resource to make connections between clauses, not only to denote the expected additive enhancement but temporal and causal relations. The other is the increasing variety of types of relations and language resources they use as they mature and are given opportunity to write in a variety of genres. Hunt (1965) argues that children by 4th grade are able to construct the various types of clause complexes although they do so infrequently. Therefore, writing instruction should include explicit instruction to provide the language resources the students need to express various logical-semantic relations they want to express. In addition, much of this learning will emerge naturally by giving students opportunity to write in a variety of genres across subject areas.

Chapter Contributors

  • María Estela Brisk ( - mebrisk) 'Boston College'
  • Marla De Rosa ( - mderosa) 'Boston College'