Chapter published in:Sources of Variation in First Language Acquisition: Languages, contexts, and learners
Edited by Maya Hickmann †, Edy Veneziano and Harriet Jisa
[Trends in Language Acquisition Research 22] 2018
► pp. 243–264
Development of discourse competence
Spatial descriptions and narratives in L1 French
This paper examines the development of discourse competence through the oral production of two text types: spatial descriptions and film retellings, collected from French children (aged 4, 7, and 10) and a control group of adult French speakers. Results suggest that for young children the construction of a static spatial description is intrinsically more complex and poses more difficulties compared to the production of narratives. The construction of a description of a multidimensional configuration implies a heavier cognitive load than the construction of a narrative based on a chronological – inherently linear – event structure. Based on the analysis of reference to entities, we identify phenomena reflecting specific difficulties for children when performing a descriptive vs. a narrative task.
Keywords: development of discourse competence, cognitive development, child L1 acquisition, static spatial description, narratives
Published online: 22 February 2018
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