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
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