Narrative Competence and Storytelling Performance: How Children Tell Stories in Different Contexts
Abstract This study addresses some of the multiple factors that play a role in children's developing narrative abilities. It starts by reviewing approaches to narrative analysis that have had an impact on the study of children's narratives since the 1970s. Such analyses are reevaluated from a developmental perspective, based on crosslinguistic findings from picturebook narratives. The generality of these results is then examined by comparing narratives produced by children in different elicitation settings, based on findings from a large-scale Hebrew-language sample. Finally, an attempt is made to integrate these findings along different dimensions involved in developing narrative knowledge, as manifested by children at different phases of development: in recruiting linguistic forms for narrative functions, in combining foreground plotline events with affective evaluation and background circumstances, and in perceiving what it means to tell a story in task-appropriate ways. The development of narrative abilities is shown to yield a complex web of interrelations between abstract narrative competence and how this is realized in storytelling performance. (Linguistics)
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