Macrostructural organization of adults’ oral narrative texts

  • This study investigates macrostructure in elicited narratives of 69 monolingual German-, Russian- and Swedish-speaking adults. Using the LITMUS-MAIN (Multilingual Assessment Instrument for Narratives), and its Baby Goats and Baby Birds stories, story structure and story complexity, concerning episodic organization, were examined across the 3 languages. As theoretical underpinnings, a multidimensional model of macrostructure was used. This model includes analyses of story structure (SS), in which a narrative merits a maximum score of 17, based on the occurrence of five types of macrostructural components (Internal states as initiating event and as reaction, Goal, Attempt and Outcome), and of story complexity (SC), which measures combinations of Goals, Attempts and Outcomes within one episode. The highest attainable complexity is the GAO-sequence, when a Goal, Attempt and Outcome are produced within the same episode. The results for SS were similar for German, Russian and Swedish, where adults included 11-12 components per story. A more detailed analysis of the individual components revealed striking similarities across the 3 languages, both for frequently used and seldom occurring components. SC did not differ significantly across languages nor across stories, whilst for SS, a slight difference between the two stories was found. We interpret this finding as story complexity (a qualitative measure of macrostructure) being of a more universal nature. Furthermore, our results indicate that caution is warranted when conclusions about children’s narrative skills are to be drawn on the basis of the MAIN Baby Goats and Baby Birds stories.

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Author:Natalʹja Vladimirovna Gagarina, Ute Bohnacker, Josefin Lindgren
Parent Title (English):Narrative texts by children and adults: insights into their organization through a prism of language system and environmental factors ; ZASPiL ; 62
Publisher:Leibniz-Zentrum Allgemeine Sprachwissenschaft (ZAS)
Place of publication:Berlin
Document Type:Part of a Book
Date of Publication (online):2019/09/13
Date of first Publication:2019/09/13
Publishing Institution:Universitätsbibliothek Johann Christian Senckenberg
Release Date:2019/09/16
Tag:Erzählen, pragm.
Page Number:19
First Page:190
Last Page:208
Dewey Decimal Classification:4 Sprache / 41 Linguistik / 410 Linguistik
Linguistik-Klassifikation:Linguistik-Klassifikation: Pragmalinguistik/Kommunikationsforschung / Pragmalinguistics/Communication research
Zeitschriften / Jahresberichte:ZAS papers in linguistics : ZASPiL / ZASPIL 62 = Narrative texts by children and adults
Licence (German):License LogoDeutsches Urheberrecht