Narrative skills in two languages of Mandarin–English bilingual children

Ying Hao, Lisa M. Bedore, Li Sheng, Elizabeth D. Peña

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: Narrative skills between Mandarin and English in Mandarin–English (ME) bilingual children were compared, exploring cross-linguistic interactions of these skills, and influences of age and current language experience (input and output) on narrative performance. Method: Macrostructure and microstructure in elicited narratives from 21 ME bilingual children were analysed. Language experience was collected by parent report and entered as a covariate. Repeated measures analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) was conducted to compare the two languages. Result: Children demonstrated better narrative performance in English than Mandarin, with a larger cross-linguistic difference in microstructure than macrostructure. Significant cross-linguistic correlations were only found in children with high Mandarin vocabulary. Age, associated with length of English exposure, only significantly correlated with narrative performance in English. Output had stronger correlations with narrative skills than input. Conclusion: Macrostructure may be less variable across languages than microstructure. Children may need to reach a threshold of vocabulary for cross-linguistic interactions of narrative skills to occur. The effect of age in English may be related to increased cumulative English experience. Children may experience a plateau in Mandarin due to insufficient Mandarin exposure. Stronger correlations between output and narrative skills may be attributed to the expressive nature of both.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)325-335
Number of pages11
JournalInternational Journal of Speech-Language Pathology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 4 Jul 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • bilingual
  • children
  • English
  • Mandarin
  • narrative

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Research and Theory
  • Otorhinolaryngology
  • Language and Linguistics
  • LPN and LVN
  • Speech and Hearing


Dive into the research topics of 'Narrative skills in two languages of Mandarin–English bilingual children'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this