Causal Coherence in the Oral Narratives of Spanish-Speaking Children Forty-six Spanish-speaking children distributed among three age groups (4:0–4:11, 6:0–6:11, and 8:0–8:11 years) were shown a short silent film and asked to tell the investigator what happened in the movie. All narratives were audiotaped and transcribed for analysis. The stories of older children contained more narrative actions and included more ... Research Article
Research Article  |   April 01, 1992
Causal Coherence in the Oral Narratives of Spanish-Speaking Children
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Vera F. Gutierrez-Clellen
    San Diego State University
  • Aquiles Iglesias
    San Diego State University
Article Information
Cultural & Linguistic Diversity / Language / Research Articles
Research Article   |   April 01, 1992
Causal Coherence in the Oral Narratives of Spanish-Speaking Children
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, April 1992, Vol. 35, 363-372. doi:10.1044/jshr.3502.363
History: Received January 3, 1991 , Accepted July 17, 1991
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, April 1992, Vol. 35, 363-372. doi:10.1044/jshr.3502.363
History: Received January 3, 1991; Accepted July 17, 1991

Forty-six Spanish-speaking children distributed among three age groups (4:0–4:11, 6:0–6:11, and 8:0–8:11 years) were shown a short silent film and asked to tell the investigator what happened in the movie. All narratives were audiotaped and transcribed for analysis. The stories of older children contained more narrative actions and included more mental state/goal causes than those of younger children. With increasing age, children's narratives showed a decrease in the use of two-clause causal sequences, an increase in the use of three-clause causal sequences, and a decrease in the proportion of unrelated statements. The variability in the types of causal links manifested in the stories suggests that absence of certain types of interclausal connections should not be interpreted as reflecting cognitive or comprehension deficits.

Acknowledgments
The research described was part of a larger investigation completed in the course of the first author's doctoral studies. This work was supported in part by a United States Department of Education, Bilingual Education Doctoral Fellowship Award G008300757 from Temple University. The authors wish to thank Karen Tracy and Reinhart Heuer for their thoughtful comments on earlier drafts of this manuscript. We are grateful to Rosemary Quinn for her invaluable assistance with the data analysis and the preparation of the manuscript; to Jose Jimenez and Mary Frazier for their support with data collection; and to the principals, teachers, parents, and children who cooperated in this endeavor.
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