Advanced verb form production in story retelling

J. C.L. Sutter, C. J. Johnson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study investigated the rate at which 60 elementary school children produced three advanced verb forms-past progressive, past perfect progressive, and past perfect-when asked to retell literate narratives, a discourse genre that originates from written prose and frequently contains these advanced verb forms. The three verb forms were embedded in nine story episodes and told to the children. The children were then asked to retell the stories. Verb form production by the children was scored as either 'borrowed' or substituted spontaneous production. During their story-retelling episodes, the 6-, 7-, and 8-year-old children borrowed all verb forms under investigation from the stimuli stories. They significantly preferred to borrow the past progressive over the past perfect progressive and past perfect forms. Rate of verb form production by 8-year-old children was significantly higher than for the younger age groups. These data suggest that advanced verb form production is influenced by the children's sensitivity to the type of narrative register (i.e., 1st or 3rd person perspective), the propositional ability associated with narrative development, and the progressive meaning of the -ing suffix.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1067-1080
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Speech and Hearing Research
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1995
Externally publishedYes


  • children
  • language
  • story retelling
  • syntax
  • verb forms

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology


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