Linguistic and pragmatic aspects of narration in Finnish typically developing children and children with specific language impairment
This study investigates narratives of Finnish children with specific language impairment (SLI) from linguistic and pragmatic perspectives, in order to get a comprehensive overview of these children's narrative abilities. Nineteen children with SLI (mean age 6;1 years) and 19 typically developing age-matched children participated in the study. Their picture-elicited narrations were analysed for linguistic productivity and complexity, grammatical and referential accuracy, event content, the use of mental state expressions and narrative comprehension. Children with SLI showed difficulties in every aspect of narration in comparison to their peers. Only one measure of productivity, the number of communication units, did not reach statistical significance. Not only was linguistic structure fragile but also pragmatic aspects of storytelling (referencing, event content, mental state expressions and inferencing) were demanding for children with SLI. Results suggest that pragmatic aspects of narration should be taken into account more often when assessing narrative abilities of children with SLI.