Yan, J., Chin, C.K. & Tse, S.K. (2017). The development of narrative ability in English-Chinese bilingual primary school students in Singapore. L1 Educational Studies in Language and Literature, 2017, 17, 1-26. doi: 10.17239/L1ESLL-2017.17.01.07.
The development of narrative ability in English-Chinese bilingual primary school students in Singapore
L1-Educational Studies in Language and Literature
Jing YAN, Chee Kuen CHIN, Shek Kam TSE
This study reports the comparative narrative ability of bilingual English- and Chinese-speaking primary school students in Singapore from a developmental perspective, an area attracting little research in the past. A total of 36 primary one, three and five students from mainstream schools narrated in Mandarin and in English whilst being shown accompanying pictures. The students’ narrative ability was then measured in terms of their grasp of narrative structure, temporality and the evaluative expressions. Analyses showed that the students’ English stories were more advanced than were their Chinese stories. Although similar developmental patterns were found in the children’s English and Chinese, there were many more connectives and evaluative expressions in their English than in their Chinese stories. The evidence suggests that the English and Chinese competence of the bilingual learners in Singapore schools do not develop in close parallel. The implications for bilingual teaching in Singapore schools are discussed, especially the finding that the children’s English ability was better than their Chinese language ability.