Contrasting the oral and written narratives of six- and eight-year-old Canadian children

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  • This paper quantitatively examines grammatical complexity and lexical diversity in the oral and written narrative productions from a subsample of children, aged six and eight, includ-ed in Test of Early Language and Literacy (TELL: Phillips, Hayward & Norris, 2016) narrative norming sample. For the initial analysis of the data presented here, mean length of C-unit val-ues (MLCU) and percent dependent clauses were selected as measures of grammatical com-plexity, while number of different words and type-token ratio (TTR) values were used to meas-ure lexical diversity. Findings reinforce the use of MLCU as a primary gauge of narrative devel-opment, reflecting the growth of grammatically more complex clauses between the ages of six and eight. A significant relationship to age and modality was also demonstrated for TTR, adding support to its use to highlight areas of growth in productivity and lexical diversity. While current research on children’s narrative is focused on contrasting typical and clinical populations, tar-geted narrative analysis between age groups continues to provide insight into what indices are most efficacious for revealing typical growth, as MLCU and TTR have exhibited here. Keywords: children, oral narrative, written narrative, mean length of C-unit, type-token ratio, Test of Early Language and Literacy

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    Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International