A study of narrative development of young Chinese children with specific language impairment aged four to six years
This study investigates the narrative development of Chinese Children with specific language impairment (SLI) aged from four to six in three dimensions – structure, evaluation and temporality. The data comprised personal narratives of a cross-sectional corpus with sixty children with typical development (TD) and a longitudinal corpus over twenty months with age-matched children with (n = 3) and without SLI (n = 3) starting at the age of four. The main findings were that the SLI group’s narrative structure is lower than that of their peers with typical development in length, components, and appropriate use of codas, though they show a rapid growth in narrative structure from the age of four to six. Second, children with SLI produce significantly fewer evaluations than their peers with TD. With age, evaluation in children with SLI develops very slowly. Third, compared to the group with TD, children with SLI show less diversity of vocabulary and types of expressions of temporality. But their temporal ability grows rapidly with age. The lower narrative competence of children with SLI supports the cognitive processing deficit account of this population. Evaluation presents the primary area of difficulty for children with SLI. Future intervention should be focused in this direction.