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What's in a Narrative? Variation in Storytelling at the Interface Between Language and Literacy

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Edited By Christiane Bongartz and Jacopo Torregrossa

Research on narrative production plays a central role in linguistics, psycholinguistics and language acquisition. Narrative elicitation allows researchers to investigate specific linguistic structures and the processes involved in their acquisition in an ecological way. This book provides methodological remarks on how to approach research on narratives, identifying factors that underlie variation in narrative production, including the type of narrative task, cross-linguistic differences, learners’ literacy and cognitive development and the narrative practices in society. The volume features contributions on theoretical and methodological aspects of research on narratives from 16 researchers in linguistics, psycholinguistics, sociolinguistics and developmental psychology.

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Christiane Bongartz and Jacopo Torregrossa: Introduction

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Christiane Bongartz and Jacopo Torregrossa

Introduction

What kind of education shall we give them then? We shall find it difficult to improve on the time-honoured distinction between the physical training we give to the body and the education we give to the mind and character.

True.

And we shall begin by educating mind and character, shall we not?

Of course.

In this education you would include stories, would you not?

Yes.

(Plato, Republic 376e, Lee 2003)

Abstract: Almost all existing studies on narrative production observe a great variability in speakers’ narrative outcomes. This is due to the fact that storytelling is a complex task, requiring the integration of linguistic knowledge and discourse information, and is thus vulnerable to speaker-internal and external variables. The aim of this volume is to identify factors that are involved in variation in narrative production, considering the impact of cross-linguistic differences in the use of cohesive devices, the nature of the task used to elicit narrative production, the sociological profile of the speakers as well as their cognitive skills. By so doing, this volume aims to investigate the emergence of narrative skills at the interface between language, literacy and cognition.

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