Cultural variations in the construction of personal narratives: Central American and European American mothers' elicitation styles

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This study examined cultural variations in narrative elicitation styles among 2 groups of mothers: Spanish-speaking Central Americans and English-speaking European Americans. Thirty-one working-class mothers and their preschool children were visited in their homes and were asked to talk about 4 past events the children had experienced. Results showed that Central and European American mothers' elicitation styles differed by emphasizing different aspects of the narrative interaction. Central American mothers' elicitation style placed greater emphasis on conversational narrative aspects, whereas European American mothers' style focused to a greater extent on the organizational narrative aspects of the interaction. Results are discussed in relation to cultural patterns of socialization and communication.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)153-177
Number of pages25
JournalDiscourse Processes
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 1 2000


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language

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