The Development of Productivity and Syntactic Complexity in M ...

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  • Title: The Development of Productivity and Syntactic Complexity in Modern Greek Expository and Narrative Texts
  • Author(s): Vicky Kantzou
  • Publisher: Common Ground Research Networks
  • Collection: Common Ground Research Networks
  • Series: Common Ground Open
  • Journal Title: The International Journal of Literacies
  • Keywords: Language Development, Modern Greek, Expository Discourse, Narrative Discourse
  • Volume: 26
  • Issue: 2
  • Year: 2019
  • ISSN: 2327-0136 (Print)
  • ISSN: 2327-266X (Online)
  • DOI:
  • Citation: Kantzou, Vicky . 2019. "The Development of Productivity and Syntactic Complexity in Modern Greek Expository and Narrative Texts." The International Journal of Literacies 26 (2): 1-18. doi:10.18848/2327-0136/CGP/v26i02/1-18.
  • Extent: 18 pages


Expository discourse, i.e., the use of language to communicate information about a topic, calls upon users’ advanced language skills, thus offering a unique opportunity to study later language development. Furthermore, exposition is of enormous importance in education, closely related to academic success. Nevertheless, research examining the developing ability of students to produce expository texts is relatively recent, and for Modern Greek quite limited. Relevant studies have indicated that the development of the linguistic skills necessary for mature expository text production is a process that develops gradually, all through adolescence into adulthood. This cross-sectional study investigates the developmental trajectories of two expository and one narrative text in Modern Greek, and probes into productivity and syntactic complexity at both clausal and subclausal level. Three written texts were elicited from students aged 10, 13, and 16 years, as well as adults aged 25–35 years. Results revealed that the younger participants produced shorter expository than narrative texts. However, with age, expositions became longer and reached the narrative in length. With regard to syntactic complexity, expository writing gave even young learners the opportunity to unfold more advanced language skills than narrative writing. However, age did not lead to an increase in subordinate clause use in either of the expository texts. Subclausal syntactic complexity proved more sensitive in capturing age-related progress in these texts. Overall, it was revealed that the development of mature expository skills is complex, continues into adulthood and has distinct characteristics for each expository text. Finally, in narratives, syntactic complexity increased with age at both the clausal and subclausal level. These results are discussed in terms of the cognitive demands each text type creates on language users, and future research directions are suggested.