Narrative assessment for Cantonese-speaking children

Carol Kit-Sum TO, Stephanie F. STOKES, Hin Tat CHEUNG, Benjamin T'SOU

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlespeer-review

42 Citations (Scopus)


This study examined the narrative skills of Cantonese-speaking school-age children to fill a need for a normative language test for school-age children.

To provide a benchmark of the narrative skills of Cantonese-speaking children; to identify which of the microstructure components was the best predictor of age; and to determine the diagnostic accuracy of the test components.

Method and Procedure
Data were collected from 1,120 Cantonese-speaking children between the ages of 4;10 (years;months) and 12;01, using a story-retell of a 24-frame picture series. Four narrative components (syntactic complexity, semantic score, referencing, and connective use) were measured.

Outcomes and Results
Each measure reflected significant age-related differences in narrative ability. Regression analyses revealed that vocabulary and syntactic complexity were the best predictors of grade. All measures showed high sensitivity (86%–94%) but relatively low specificity (60%–90%) and modest likelihood ratio (LR) values: LR+ (2.15–9.42) and LR− (0.07–0.34).

Conclusion and Implications
Narrative assessment can be standardized to be a reliable and valid instrument to assist in the identification of children with language impairment. Syntactic complexity is not only a strong predictor of grade but was also particularly vulnerable in Cantonese-speaking children with specific language impairment. Further diagnostic research using narrative analysis is warranted. Copyright © 2010 American Speech-Language-Hearing Association.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)648-669
JournalJournal of Speech, Language and Hearing Research
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2010


To, C. K.-S.., Stokes, S. F., Cheung, H.-T, & T'sou, B. (2010). Narrative assessment for Cantonese-speaking children. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 53(3), 648-669. doi: 10.1044/1092-4388(2009/08-0039)


  • School-age children
  • Assessment
  • Narrative
  • Cantonese


Dive into the research topics of 'Narrative assessment for Cantonese-speaking children'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.