Published online by Cambridge University Press: 18 August 2017
This study investigates effects of age on character introductions in the oral narratives of seventy-two monolingual Swedish-speaking four- to six-year-olds, comparing results from the Multilingual Assessment Instrument for Narratives (MAIN; Gagarina et al., 2012, 2015), and the Edmonton Narrative Norms Instrument (ENNI; Schneider et al., 2005). The proportion of appropriate referring expressions for introducing story characters clearly increases from age four to six. However, the children's performance is strongly stimulus-dependent. All age groups perform better on MAIN than on ENNI. One should thus be careful when drawing conclusions about the age at which children are able to use referring expressions appropriately.
The author is grateful to Ute Bohnacker and Jorrig Vogels, the members of the Uppsala University empirical linguistics reading group, two anonymous reviewers, and the editors for valuable comments on earlier versions of this paper; to the children who participated in the study and their parents; and to the preschool teachers who helped recruiting the children.