Coherence in narratives of Turkish-speaking children : the role of noun phrases
AuthorÖzcan, Fatma Hülya
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This study was designed as a cross-sectional study to in- vestigate how Turkish-speaking children at the ages of 3, 5 and 7 and a group of adults employed noun phrases to achieve coherence in their narratives. Noun Phrase Coherence was studied in three aspects: reiteration of the referents ; creating, maintaining and switching referents, and pronominalization. The results suggested that discourse awareness started in children as early as 3. Children starting from that age were capable of weaving their narratives around a number of referents. However, this ability was limited to main characters in the narrative only. With increasing age, children started to involve secondary characters in their narratives as well. In addition to reiteration of the referents, creating referents by means of appropriate linguistic expressions was a gradual development. The fact that children at 3 used indefinite linguistic expressions to create reference to referents on rare occasions suggested that the acquisition of this ability started around these ages but was not completed until later ages. Finally, the analysis of pronominalization of the referents showed that children were able to use pronouns anaphorically at all ages. The strategies adopted for pronominalization, though, changed with the increasing age. While younger children considered referents individually, older children chose pronominal forms, either null subjects or overt pronominal subjects, considering the referent which the reference was switched to as well as the characteristics of the referents which was being maintained.
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