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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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Eva M. Knopp: What’s in an adult story? – Modality effects on the narrative productions of adult Germans

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Eva M. Knopp

What’s in an adult story? – Modality effects on the narrative productions of adult Germans

Abstract: Narrative discourse ability is considered a valid indicator of language and literacy development. While many studies investigating narrative discourse development assume adult native-speaker norms as models, few studies have actually investigated narrative discourse abilities in adults. These indicate that adults’ narrative discourse ability is not as uniform as assumed by the models applied in developmental studies (Berman & Slobin, 1994; Berman & Verhoeven, 2002; Berman, 2007). In particular, few studies have investigated effects of oral/written mode of production in narratives produced by adults, although it has been argued that those will grant insight into literacy development, in particular, secondary discourse abilities (Francis, 1999; Knopp 2019) and rhetorical flexibility (Berman & Verhoeven, 2002). This study investigates the oral and written narratives produced by adult native-speakers of German using the Edmonton Narrative Norms Instrument. Results indicated that the narratives produced by the adults in this study displayed a great range of variability with respect to the measures traditionally used in developmental studies. In particular, this study shows that mode of production does not uniformly affect the adults’ narrative productions and that complexity of stimulus will play a role in this, indicating that secondary discourse ability is differentially affected by mode of production, also in adults.

Keywords: narrative discourse ability, adult native-speaker norms, modality effects, secondary discourse ability, Edmonton Narrative Norms Instrument

1. Introduction

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