Chapter published in:Developing Narrative Comprehension: Multilingual Assessment Instrument for Narratives
Edited by Ute Bohnacker and Natalia Gagarina
[Studies in Bilingualism 61] 2020
► pp. 232–268
Why do you think the boy would be unhappy if he saw what the cat was eating?
Comprehension of German narratives in Russian- and Turkish-German bilingual children
The present study traces longitudinal trajectories of narrative comprehension in L2 German in 57 Russian- and Turkish-German bilingual children, for two age groups with a mean starting age of 3;6 and 4;3, respectively. The children answered comprehension questions from the Multilingual Assessment Instrument for Narratives in their L2 German. They were tested three times with a one-year interval in between, so that by the last time children had a mean age of 5;6 and 6;2, respectively. Comprehension questions targeted two types of elements of macrostructure, goals and internal states, in two modes, telling and model story. Results showed a significant improvement of narrative comprehension over time in both age groups. The steepest slope of development was found between three and five years. By age five, the children were able to answer the majority of comprehension questions, whilst after that, a plateau in the development was observed. Generally, goals were easier to comprehend than internal states, at all test times, for all groups and elicitation modes. The study enriches our knowledge of L2 bilingual trajectories of the comprehension of goals and internal states by showing that these two components of macrostructure require different inferencing skills and that goals are cognitively easier to infer as compared to internal states.
Keywords: narrative comprehension, macrostructure, bilingual children, German, MAIN
Published online: 10 December 2020
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