Measures of Language Development in Fictional Narratives of Latino Children Purpose: This preliminary study was designed to determine whether commonly used measures of language productivity, sentence organization, and story structure were sensitive to developmental differences in narratives produced by Latino preschool children from a low-socioeconomic status (SES) community. Method: Twenty-four children, divided equally into younger and older groups, produced oral ... Research Article
Research Article  |   October 01, 2003
Measures of Language Development in Fictional Narratives of Latino Children
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Maria L. Muñoz
    The University of Texas, Austin
  • Ronald B. Gillam
    The University of Texas, Austin
  • Elizabeth D. Peña
    The University of Texas, Austin
  • Annette Gulley-Faehnle
    The University of Texas, Austin
  • Currently affiliated with the University of Tennessee at Knoxville.
    Currently affiliated with the University of Tennessee at Knoxville.×
  • Corresponding author: e-mail: mmunoz2@utk.edu
Article Information
Development / Cultural & Linguistic Diversity / Research Articles
Research Article   |   October 01, 2003
Measures of Language Development in Fictional Narratives of Latino Children
Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, October 2003, Vol. 34, 332-342. doi:10.1044/0161-1461(2003/027)
History: Received October 9, 2002 , Accepted June 30, 2003
 
Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, October 2003, Vol. 34, 332-342. doi:10.1044/0161-1461(2003/027)
History: Received October 9, 2002; Accepted June 30, 2003

Purpose: This preliminary study was designed to determine whether commonly used measures of language productivity, sentence organization, and story structure were sensitive to developmental differences in narratives produced by Latino preschool children from a low-socioeconomic status (SES) community.

Method: Twenty-four children, divided equally into younger and older groups, produced oral narratives that corresponded with the wordless picture book, Frog, Where Are You? (Mayer, 1969). Their narratives were analyzed for productivity (total number of words, total number of different words), sentence organization (number of utterances, mean length of C unit in words, and percentage of grammatically acceptable utterances), and story structure (complete and incomplete narrative episodes).

Results: The length of children’s narratives did not differ significantly by age. However, older Latino children produced stories that contained longer sentences, a higher proportion of grammatically acceptable sentences, and more complete episodes than did younger children.

Clinical Implications: These results suggest that measures of language productivity (such as total number of words and number of different words) that reflect developmental differences in monolingual mainstream preschoolers may not be sensitive indicators of narrative language development in young Latino children from low-SES environments. However, measures of syntactic accuracy and episodic structure are likely to be valid indicators of developmental changes in these children’s narrative abilities.

Order a Subscription
Pay Per View
Entire Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools content & archive
24-hour access
This Article
24-hour access