Edited by Ute Bohnacker and Natalia Gagarina
[Linguistic Approaches to Bilingualism 12:4] 2022
► pp. 413–445
The empirical evidence for whether narrative macrostructure skills are shared between a bilingual child’s two languages is inconclusive, and it is not known how macrostructure (overall story structure) is influenced by general language proficiency and amount of exposure. The present study investigates these issues in 100 Turkish-Swedish bilingual 4-to-7-year-old children growing up in Sweden. Oral narratives were elicited in both Turkish and Swedish with two picture-based tasks from the Multilingual Assessment Instrument for Narratives (MAIN) in the telling mode. We investigated to what extent the language of elicitation influences bilingual children’s macrostructure (story structure, episodic complexity), and explored effects of age, narrative task, narrative length, expressive vocabulary and language exposure, both separately and combined, on macrostructure in the respective language. Story structure and episodic complexity were found to increase similarly with age in both Turkish and Swedish from 4 to 7 years. Scores did not differ between the two MAIN storytelling tasks. Expressive vocabulary and narrative length influenced story structure scores positively and similarly in both languages. Daily language exposure and length of exposure to Swedish did not show any significant effect. The results can be interpreted in support of a carry-over of narrative macrostructural skills between the two languages.