AN ANALYSIS OF THE STRUCTURE OF ENGLISH NARRATIVE DISCOURSE OF JAPANESE CHILDREN

SR. ST. JOHN DELANY, Fordham University

Abstract

Research which is focused on the narrative production of young children offers an important contribution in the area of education of the non-native English speaking child. An analysis of the structure of English narratives told by Japanese children who are attending an American school provides data which serve as a basis for developing and improving the communication skills of the non-native English speaker.^ The major purpose of this study was to gather data from the English narrative discourse of children whose native language is Japanese. The intent of the study was to identify how children of one language background organize their ideas in a second language.^ The subjects of the study were 10 English speaking Japanese children who are attending an American school. The task which the subjects were required to perform were: (a) tell a personal story, (b) tell the story of a film, and (c) tell the story of a Japanese folk narrative. The narratives were unitized in oder to determine which element in the structure was the most appropriate one for the unit.^ The conclusions based on the findings of this study were: (1) There is a predictable structure to the English narratives verbalized by Japanese children. These are similar to those presented in other languages and by native speakers of English. (2) There is a similarity in the organizational pattern of the narratives for all the participants. All the narratives contained the same kinds of elements but with varying frequency. (3) The types of stories told by the subjects varied in length. The information contained in the narratives followed a temporal sequential order but with much less detail than was found in the original text. The use of multiple episodes was found in 3 sources but the use of an event/mental response element was used with the least frequency.^ The findings suggest that there is a need for teachers to provide instruction for the non-native English speaking child which will bridge a cultural gap. Sources of information of various types should be provided, literature for example, to enable the student to analyze and to respond inferentially and critically. The teachers must also be cognizant of the effects the culture has on lexical choices and on the way in which children of another culture process information. ^

Subject Area

Language arts

Recommended Citation

DELANY, SR. ST. JOHN, "AN ANALYSIS OF THE STRUCTURE OF ENGLISH NARRATIVE DISCOURSE OF JAPANESE CHILDREN" (1985). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI8600081.
https://fordham.bepress.com/dissertations/AAI8600081

Share

COinS