Socioeconomic differences in Taiwanese children’s personal narratives

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This chapter investigated how five-year-old Taiwanese children of three socioeconomic statuses performed personal narratives. The participants comprised 60 children, 40 were from working-class families: half of the children’s mothers were foreign brides from Southeast Asia countries (cross-border marriage group) and half were local Taiwanese (typical working-class group). An additional 20 children were recruited from middle-class local families. Children’s vocabulary was assessed and they were individually interviewed regarding three past experiences. Data were transcribed verbatim and analyzed at the clause level according to the rules of the Child Language Data Exchange System. Primary findings include, first, middle-class children outperformed children from the two working-class groups in vocabulary ability. Second, there were no significant between-group differences in narrative length or the use of internal state terms. Third, middle-class children used significantly more temporal conjunctions than children of cross-border marriages. Forth, middle-class children outperformed typical working-class Taiwanese children who, in turn, outperformed children of cross-border marriages in narrative structure.


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