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.×
Article Information
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: Received April 10, 2008 , Revised October 17, 2008 , Accepted March 31, 2009
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, June 2010, Vol. 53, 648-669. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2009/08-0039)
History: Received April 10, 2008; Revised October 17, 2008; Accepted March 31, 2009
Web of Science® Times Cited: 8

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.

Acknowledgments
The authors gratefully acknowledge the Child Assessment Service, Government of Hong Kong SAR and all the SLPs who participated in this project. We would like to thank the schools and children who helped us with this research. We are also grateful to Anita Wong for her comments on the early version of this article.
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