Noun Phrase Elaboration in Children’s Spoken Stories.

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Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools.





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Purpose: One feature of literate language, noun phrase elaboration, wasexamined in the oral fictional narratives of school-aged children.

Method: Two narratives were elicited from 5-, 8- and 11-year-old children,1 in response to a picture sequence and 1 in response to a singlepicture. Noun phrases were categorized into 4 types.

Results: Simple designating noun phrases were produced by all childrenat age 5, simple descriptive noun phrases by all children atage 8, and noun phrases with postmodification by all childrenat age 11. All noun phrase types were produced by more childrenin object than in subject position and in the single picturethan in the picture sequence context.

Conclusion: There are important developmental changes in noun phrase elaborationin the elementary school years as children learn to manage narrativecontexts. Even within picture tasks, variations in visual depictioncan affect the use of elaborated noun phrases (ENPs), with moredescriptive language more likely to occur in narratives basedon a single picture fantasy context than on a realistic picturesequence context. Performance expectations for types of ENPswithin these contexts are provided. These findings will be usefulto school clinicians in evaluating and working on narrativelanguage within the elementary school period.