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ERIC Number: ED400959
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1996-Aug
Pages: 13
Abstractor: N/A
Children's Narrative Expression over the Telephone.
Wang, Min; Cameron, Catherine Ann
Language used in situations in which speakers cannot rely on shared social, physical, or historical contexts has been referred to as "decontextualized." Many researchers believe that the use of decontextualized language is at the core of literacy--that reading and writing are consummate acts of decontextualization. Somewhat intermediate between face-to-face oral communication and writing is the challenge of talking on the telephone. Children's telephone talk offers an ecologically valid context to ascertain developmental components of metacommunicative awareness of the need to be clear for one's communicative partners and of how to compensate for their physical absence. The purpose of this study was to examine children's story narratives over the telephone versus face-to-face interaction to explore the effects of telephone use on children's discourse. Sixty 4-, 6-, and 8-year-old children told stories based on a wordless picture book to a communicative partner present in the interview room, and then told the story to that same person on the telephone. The study found that four-year-old children created quite different story narratives over the telephone from those related in face-to-face interaction in terms of length, narrativity, and revision. They used significantly more words, syntactically independent T-units, narrative elements, and revisions in their storytelling on the telephone. They adjusted to the demands of the different communication tasks. The only measure not sensitive to treatment differences was specificity, indicating that story telling is one communication task that may not impose as great a demand for specific information as for narrativity under the telephone condition. From face-to-face communication to reading and writing, there is a continuum from contextualization through decontextualization, to further recontextualization. This study indicates that telephone communication resides somewhere on this continuum in terms of the demands the medium imposes for decontextualization. Contains 11 references. (SD)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Canada