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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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Eleni Peristeri and Ianthi-Maria Tsimpli: Reference use and attention shifting abilities in children with Autism Spectrum Disorders and Specific Language Impairment

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Eleni Peristeri, Ianthi-Maria Tsimpli

Reference use and attention shifting abilities in children with Autism Spectrum Disorders and Specific Language Impairment

Abstract: Our study investigates the use of character reference and the attention shifting abilities of Greek-speaking children with Autism Spectrum Disorders and Specific Language Impairment. Effects of ASD and SLI on reference use were examined in an oral retelling task in which characters needed to be suitably introduced, maintained and reintroduced, while attention shifting abilities were tested though a non-verbal Global-Local task that examined group differences in attentional control under conditions of alternating shifts of attention to global and local stimuli. The results indicated that children with ASD produced considerably more underspecified referential forms than the children with SLI and typically developing children in both Introduction and Reintroduction, while children with SLI tended to produce more overspecified forms than the rest of the groups when maintaining characters. Also, the Global-Local task revealed increased global and local switch costs for the children with ASD and SLI, respectively. The overall findings indicate that the process of using appropriate referential forms for introducing, maintaining and reintroducing characters was different across children with ASD and SLI, and most importantly, that it was influenced by distinct deficits in the two groups’ attentional mechanisms.

Keywords: ASD, SLI, reference, narratives, attention shifting

1. Introduction

Language ability has been a defining area of interest in neurodevelopmental disorders, including Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) and Specific Language Impairment (SLI) (e.g....

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