ASHA journals
4 files

Impact of narrative task complexity (Lipner et al., 2024)

posted on 2024-02-16, 18:11 authored by Minna Lipner, Sharon Armon-Lotem, Sveta Fichman, Joel Walters, Carmit Altman

Purpose: We investigated the impact of narrative task complexity on macrostructure in both languages of bilingual kindergarten children and the relationship of macrostructure across languages to guide practitioners’ choice of assessment tools and aid in interpretation of results.

Method: Thirty-nine English–Hebrew bilingual kindergarten children (Mage = 65 months) retold two narratives in each language: a one-episode story and a three-episode story. Stories were coded for macrostructure using five story grammar (SG) elements: Internal State-Initiating Event, Goal, Attempt, Outcome, and Internal State-Reaction. Linear mixed and generalized linear mixed models were used to analyze scores for total macrostructure, episode, and SG elements; correlations were conducted to examine cross-language relations in macrostructure.

Results: In general, performance on the single-episode story was significantly better than for the three-episode story: higher percentages of SG elements were produced, with better performance in the home language/English. In addition to Task and Language effects, Age and Episode (Episodes 1/2/3 of the three-episode story vs. one-episode story) emerged as predictors of macrostructure. Performance on the different episodes of the three-episode story varied, with Episode 3 yielding scores similar to those on the one-episode story. Children produced more Attempts and Outcomes than other SG elements. Finally, the total macrostructure scores yielded low to moderate correlations across languages for both one-episode and three-episode stories, but there were no significant cross-task (one-episode/three-episode story) correlations.

Conclusions: The study illustrates the importance of task complexity in narrative performance. Ideally, assessment should include a variety of tools, which would include narratives varying in complexity. However, time constraints do not always permit this luxury. The findings here may offer more to therapists than to diagnosticians. Narratives should be manipulated for episodic complexity not only in the number of episodes but also with regard to characters, goals, feelings, and reactions to events.

Supplemental Material S1. Likelihood ratio tests results predicting total macrostructure score.

Supplemental Material S2. Likelihood ratio tests results predicting macrostructure score per episode.

Supplemental Material S3. Likelihood ratio tests results predicting full GAO.

Supplemental Material S4. Likelihood ratio tests results predicting production of SG elements.

Lipner, M., Armon-Lotem, S., Fichman, S., Walters, J., & Altman, C. (2024). Impact of narrative task complexity and language on macrostructure in bilingual kindergarten children. Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, 55(2), 545–560.


This work was supported by the Israel Science Foundation, ISF Grant 1716/19 to PIs: C.A. and J.W.