Personal Narrative

Two hypotheses were tested for personal narrative discourse. Our more specific hypothesis was that experience with past event talk would predict later skill at telling narratives of personal experience. Our more general hypotheses was that early experience with fantasy talk and pragmatic flexibility would also predict later skill in personal narrative. A series of regression models were constructed to test these hypotheses, including gender as another predictor. The models displayed in Table 10.5 indicate that the more children engage in nonpresent talk early in life, the better narrators of personal experience they tend to be at age 5. Indeed, 23% of the variance in personal narrative is explained by nonpresent talk alone, and even when we controlled for all the other predictors, nonpresent talk still contributed predictive power. As we can see from Model 6, pragmatic flexibility and gender, as well as nonpresent talk, each explain some of the variance in personal narrative performance. It is interesting, and somewhat puzzling, that the effect of pragmatic flexibility at higher levels varies by gender. Figure 10.1 shows personal narrative scores plotted against nonpresent talk for boys and girls with high and low pragmatic flexibility scores.

As the figure shows, girls with high pragmatic flexibility tended to be the best personal narrators, while boys with similarly high pragmatic flexibility scores performed at the lower extreme.

The Polarity Path

The Polarity Path

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