NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
Peer reviewed Peer reviewed
Direct linkDirect link
ERIC Number: EJ856264
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009-Oct
Pages: 17
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-1366-7289
Development of English Referring Expressions in the Narratives of Chinese-English Bilinguals
Chen, Liang; Pan, Ning
Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, v12 n4 p429-445 Oct 2009
This paper investigates the development of referring expressions in the narratives of children learning English as a second language (L2). Spoken narratives in English were elicited from sixty Chinese-speaking participants at four ages--five, eight, ten, and young adults--using the wordless picture book "Frog, where are you?" (Mayer, 1969). Narrative analysis focused on the referring expressions that the L2 speakers used to introduce and maintain reference to story characters in the narratives and on the referential appropriateness of those expressions. We then compared the results of this study with other, similar studies on children learning English as a first language (L1) and found both universal and L2-specific patterns in the development of referring expressions in discourse. On the one hand, regardless of whether English is acquired as an L1 or L2, appropriate use of referring expressions in discourse is developed gradually and is influenced by both discourse function (introduction vs. maintenance) and character type (main vs. secondary). On the other hand, L2 children in our study differed from L1 children in previous studies in the development of referential appropriateness in character introduction, the use of pronominals for referent maintenance, and the timeline of the mastery of appropriate forms for referent introductions versus referent maintenance.
Cambridge University Press. The Edinburgh Building, Shaftesbury Road, Cambridge, CB2 8RU, UK. Tel: 800-872-7423; Tel: 845-353-7500; Tel: +44-1223-326070; Fax: 845-353-4141; Fax: +44-1223-325150; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A