Objectives: Expressive language ability can be analyzed grammatically by examining the production of word classes. This study aims to analyze the characteristics of elderly people's utterances by looking at word classes in spontaneous speech. Methods: Spontaneous speech from 35 young females and 35 elderly females was collected. Word classes were divided by three criteria (form, function, and meaning). The real usage frequency of each instance of a word class (token) and the frequency of occurrence of each word class (type), type-token ratio (TTR), were calculated. Results: For the form category, in both type and token count, the use of inflected words was lower among elderly people, while the use of uninflected words was higher. TTR of inflected words was lower in elderly people. For the functional category, the tokens for substantives were higher among elderly people, while both the types and tokens of inflectional words were lower. For the semantic category, the tokens for verbs were higher but TTR of verbs was lower. The tokens and types for adjectives were both lower among elderly people. Additional experiments showed that the predicative use of inflectional words is more frequent than the attributive use among the elderly. Conclusion: This analysis was conducted with three word class criteria to find various speech characteristics. Further study on word class in language production needs to be conducted while considering factors, such as education and gender.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Linguistics and Language
- Speech and Hearing