Noun Phrase Elaboration in Children’s Spoken Stories Purpose One feature of literate language, noun phrase elaboration, was examined 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 single picture. Noun phrases were ... Research Article
Research Article  |   April 01, 2008
Noun Phrase Elaboration in Children’s Spoken Stories
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Sarita L. Eisenberg
    Montclair State University, Montclair, NJ
  • Teresa A. Ukrainetz
    University of Wyoming, Laramie
  • Jennifer R. Hsu
    William Paterson University, Wayne, NJ
  • Joan N. Kaderavek
    University of Toledo, Toledo, OH
  • Laura M. Justice
    University of Virginia, Charlottesville
  • Ronald B. Gillam
    Utah State University, Logan
  • Contact author: Sarita Eisenberg, Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, Montclair State University, 1 Normal Avenue, Montclair, NJ 07043. E-mail: eisenbergs@mail.montclair.edu.
Article Information
Speech, Voice & Prosody / Research Article
Research Article   |   April 01, 2008
Noun Phrase Elaboration in Children’s Spoken Stories
Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, April 2008, Vol. 39, 145-157. doi:10.1044/0161-1461(2008/014)
History: Received January 16, 2007 , Accepted June 12, 2007
 
Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, April 2008, Vol. 39, 145-157. doi:10.1044/0161-1461(2008/014)
History: Received January 16, 2007; Accepted June 12, 2007
Web of Science® Times Cited: 17

Purpose One feature of literate language, noun phrase elaboration, was examined 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 single picture. Noun phrases were categorized into 4 types.

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

Conclusion There are important developmental changes in noun phrase elaboration in the elementary school years as children learn to manage narrative contexts. Even within picture tasks, variations in visual depiction can affect the use of elaborated noun phrases (ENPs), with more descriptive language more likely to occur in narratives based on a single picture fantasy context than on a realistic picture sequence context. Performance expectations for types of ENPs within these contexts are provided. These findings will be useful to school clinicians in evaluating and working on narrative language within the elementary school period.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
The data collection activities in this study were supported by grants from Pro-Ed Corporation to the authors. Pro-Ed had no involvement in the preparation of this report. The authors are grateful to the children who participated as well as to their parents and the school districts that allowed them to participate. The first author wishes to thank Meaghan Wilson, Janel Modoski, and Jill Oppenheimer for their assistance with preparation of the data for this study.
Portions of this study were presented at the 2004 Symposium for Research on Child Language Disorders in Madison, WI, and at the 2004 annual convention of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association in Philadelphia, PA. Readers are informed that the last author has a financial interest in the test used for data collection.
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