ROSEMBERG Celia Renata
congresos y reuniones científicas
Children's Narratives in the Conversational Contexts of Families from Poor Urban Communities.
Boston, E.E.U.U
Congreso; Society for Research in Child Development Biennial Meeting 2007; 2007
Institución organizadora:
Society for Research in Child Development
This study is part of a current investigation into the linguistic and cognitive development of small children from marginalized urban neighborhoods (“villas de emergencia”) in Buenos Aires, Argentina.  The present study analyzes the narratives that these children produce in interactions with their parents, siblings and friends, at home and in the community.  The theoretic perspective of the analysis considers that the development of narrative discourse results from a combination of individual cognitive organization and cultural models that are reflected in linguistic forms and in social interaction. That is why this work explores the way in which children’s discourses fit functionally in the social context in which they interact, and how the social context is reflected in the elaboration and textualization processes that characterize these accounts. The data used in this study is made up of 170 narrations of past events produced by 12 children.  Each child was observed for 4 periods of 3 hours and all of their interactions were audio-recorded (144 recorded hours).  Sequences of at least 2 utterances that are temporally and causally related were extracted from the transcriptions.  An episode was defined interactively, therefore we included the interlocutors’ utterances who initiated the topic of the narration and/or responded to the child.  The analysis considers whether the narration was auto- or hetero-regulated, the way in which it fit functionally into the context, and the degree of textual elaboration that the child attained in each interaction. The results showed quantitative and qualitative differences between the hetero- and auto-regulated episodes.  In the far more frequent auto-regulated narrations, the children manifested a developing narrative competence.  They narrated when an object could be related to a personal experience or when their account fit into the conversation.  The children’s competence could be seen in their efforts to reconstruct their experiences autobiographically, referring to their knowledge of their social surroundings and on models that other people’s narrations suggested. In many occasions, the children inserted the retelling of a past experience establishing relationships either with the topic of the conversation, with another account of an experience given by another person, or with some generic situation that represented a constant in the daily life of the child and of his/her family.  In the last case, the children’s accounts represented an instanciacion of a personal and specific experience of a certain type of situation.  Furthermore, we observed that the children functionally inserted narrations in polemic conversations in which the account of the past event responded to a need to present argumentative evidence, to sustain a position, or to reaffirm their identity before their interlocutor.  In all of these accounts, the children monitored their words accommodating the comprehension process of their interlocutors.  The thematic progression of the accounts included expansions that reconstructed the orientation, complication and resolution of the event, making for a more complete linguistic representation by means of more precise lexical expressions.  The children employed elaborated textualization strategies that included the appropriate use of causal and temporal markers, the use of numerous evaluative procedures that represented the child’s perspective of the event, and included descriptive and argumentative sequences. In the less numerous hetero-regulated narrations, the child responded to the demand of their mother or father including very little information which was mostly referential, without transmitting personal evaluations, and without including temporal or causal markers.  The way in which the children handled these situations needs to be fit into the interactive framework set up by the adults’ demand strategies that are not part of the typical collaborative sequences of expansions and reformulations of the children’s utterances, as have been profusely described in research conducted in other social surroundings.