Article  |   June 2010
Narrative Assessment for Cantonese-Speaking Children
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Carol Kit-Sum To
    University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong-SAR-China
  • Stephanie F. Stokes
    Curtin University of Technology, Perth, Australia
  • Hin-Tat Cheung
    National Taiwan University, Taipei
  • Benjamin T’sou
    City University of Hong Kong
  • Contact author: Carol Kit-Sum To, Division of Speech and Hearing Sciences, 5/F Prince Philip Dental Hospital, 34 Hospital Road, Sai Ying Pun, Hong Kong-SAR-China. E-mail: tokitsum@hku.hk.
  • Stephanie F. Stokes is now with the University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand.
    Stephanie F. Stokes is now with the University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand.×
Special Populations / Cultural & Linguistic Diversity / School-Based Settings / Language Disorders / Specific Language Impairment / Language
Article   |   June 2010
Narrative Assessment for Cantonese-Speaking Children
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research June 2010, Vol.53, 648-669. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2009/08-0039)
History: Accepted 31 Mar 2009 , Received 10 Apr 2008 , Revised 17 Oct 2008
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research June 2010, Vol.53, 648-669. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2009/08-0039)
History: Accepted 31 Mar 2009 , Received 10 Apr 2008 , Revised 17 Oct 2008

Background: This study examined the narrative skills of Cantonese-speaking school-age children to fill a need for a normative language test for school-age children.

Purpose: To provide a benchmark of the narrative skills of Cantonese-speaking children; to identify which of the microstructure components was the best predictor of age; and to determine the diagnostic accuracy of the test components.

Method and Procedure: Data were collected from 1,120 Cantonese-speaking children between the ages of 4;10 (years;months) and 12;01, using a story-retell of a 24-frame picture series. Four narrative components (syntactic complexity, semantic score, referencing, and connective use) were measured.

Outcomes and Results: Each measure reflected significant age-related differences in narrative ability. Regression analyses revealed that vocabulary and syntactic complexity were the best predictors of grade. All measures showed high sensitivity (86%–94%) but relatively low specificity (60%–90%) and modest likelihood ratio (LR) values: LR+ (2.15–9.42) and LR− (0.07–0.34).

Conclusion and Implications: Narrative assessment can be standardized to be a reliable and valid instrument to assist in the identification of children with language impairment. Syntactic complexity is not only a strong predictor of grade but was also particularly vulnerable in Cantonese-speaking children with specific language impairment. Further diagnostic research using narrative analysis is warranted.

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