First Mentions

The measure of referential cohesion is First Mentions.  This measure involves the referring expressions used to introduce characters and selected objects for the first time.  The analysis uses all 6 stories.

First Mentions Introduction, Scoring Instructions and Criteria

 

First Mentions Scoring Sheet

First Mentions Normative tables

First Mentions Analysis

 

To assess story microstructure, the ENNI includes a measure of cohesion, First Mentions, which can be used to evaluate the referring expressions that a child uses to introduce characters and objects when telling a story.  Referring expressions are linguistic forms used to refer to animate beings (the elephant, Ella, she), objects (the train, it), places (the park, there) and concepts (an idea).  They can be considered adequate if they are appropriate for the listener’s knowledge, shared physical context, and the preceding linguistic context.  For example, an indefinite noun phrase such as an elephant or a proper name is appropriate for a new character in a story in the absence of a shared physical context, while the elephant or she would only be appropriate for mentioning the character later on in the story.

Young children frequently introduce referents in a confusing way, often using pronouns such as she, which are appropriate only if the speaker can presuppose that the listener already has the referent in his or her consciousness.  The ability to introduce referents appropriately develops gradually through the early school years. Schneider and Dubé (1997) found that Kindergarten and Grade 2 children have more difficulty with first mentions of referents than with subsequent mentions of the referents.  Preliminary analyses of ENNI data from 4, 6, and 8 year olds indicates that first mention usage distinguishes among age groups as well as between children with and without language impairments to a greater degree than did subsequent mentions (Schneider, 2001a, 2001b). 

To date there is no normed narrative instrument that includes a measure of referential cohesion.  Because first mentions appeared to discriminate well among age and language groups, and because the rules for adequate first mentions are more straightforward than for subsequent mentions, we decided to use a measure of first mentions as the measure of referential cohesion.  A scoring system was developed that focuses on first mentions of the characters and selected objects, with detailed information on scoring each.  The ENNI will facilitate analysis of this important skill. 

First Mentions Scoring

Scoring Directions:

Look for the first time each character and object listed on the scoring sheet is mentioned.  Score according to the examples on the Scoring Criteria sheets.

Generally speaking, first mentions using an indefinite determiner (a, an) plus noun will be scored as 3.  For characters, names are also scored as 3, e.g., Jerry and Ellie.  Sometimes that may be the name of the animal, as in Elephant and Giraffe were at the pool.  Objects introduced without a determiner are scored as two, except for mass nouns (water) and plurals (planes).  Characters and objects introduced with a definite determiner (the, that) will normally be scored as 2 (except for the lifeguard – see criteria below).  However, introduction with this is usually okay, as in this elephant is bouncing a ball, in which this elephant would be scored 3.

Pronouns are usually inadequate for first mention and are thus scored as 1.  Exception:  If the child puts him/herself in the story, a first-person pronoun is adequate (since it refers to the speaker) and is scored as 3, as in the following example:

            I was playing one day with my friend Elephant.

If a child mentions two characters together, look for a subsequent mention of each character separately and score that.  For example:

1)      There were two animals at the pool playing ball.  It went in the water.  The giraffe went to get it.  He gave it back to the elephant

In this example you would score the giraffe and the elephant rather than two animals.  They would each obtain a score of 2.

2)      They were at the pool.  The ball fell in.  He went to get it for the elephant.

In example 2), he and the elephant would be scored as first mentions of the characters (1 and 2 points respectively).

In the following example, the individual mentions would get 3 full points each:

3)  There were two animals.  The first one had a ball that went in the water.  The second animal went in to get it.  He got it and gave it to the first animal.

If the characters are never mentioned individually, as in the following example, score they as the first mention for both characters (one point for each).

4)      They were playing ball.  Their ball went in the water.  They got it out.  They got out of the water.

Relative clauses:  sometimes a relative clause may make a definite noun phrase appropriate for first mention, but not always.  In the example below:

5)      .... Then the woman who cleans the pool came along with a net.

The expression can be considered appropriate for first mention because it is plausible to assume that a pool would have a person whose job it is to clean it.  It would be scored 3.  The expression below is not as plausible:

6)      .... Then the woman who catches toys came along with a net.

It is not plausible to assume that a pool would have an employee who catches toys; thus this would be scored as a 2 because of the definite determiner the.  (A woman who catches toys would be scored as 3.)

Relative clauses with vague terms:  A relative clause may clarify a referent, even if it does so through circumlocutions.  If the referent is reasonably clear, score as 3; if not, score as 2.  Examples of expressions for "net":

…a thing that you scoop fish with when you want to clean out the tank (score as 3).

…a thing that you scoop with (score as 2).


 

Edmonton Narrative Norms Instrument                                                     

First Mentions Scoring Criteria                                      Revised March 2013

 

 

Use these criteria to score first mentions on the First Mentions scoring sheet.

 

Character

Score as 3

Score as 2

Score as 1

Giraffe – story A1

a/this ______ (e.g., a giraffe, this cow)

name (e.g., Gerry, Geegee)

possessive + noun

(e.g., her friend if ‘she’ already introduced)

another animal

the other animal (if C mentioned 2 animals and one animal mentioned previously)

Pronoun I/me if the child puts him/herself in the story, e.g., "I was at the pool with my friend"

 

the/that _______ (e.g., the giraffe)

a [invented word], e.g, a geegee

someone / somebody

possessive + noun (if other character not yet introduced)

another/the other _______ (e.g., the other animal if no animal mentioned previously)

 

pronoun (he, she, it)

the [invented word], e.g., the geegee (an invented name would be scored as 3)

 

 

Elephant – Story A1

a/this ______ (e.g., a elephant)

name (e.g., Ellie)

possessive + noun

(e.g., her friend if ‘she’ already introduced)

another _____ (e.g., another animal if other character introduced as animal)

the other _____ (e.g., the other animal if C mentioned 2 animals and one animal mentioned individually previously)

Pronoun I/me if the child puts him/herself in the story, e.g., "I was at the pool with the giraffe"

 

the/that _______ (e.g., the elephant)

a [invented word]

someone / somebody

possessive + noun (if other character not yet introduced)

another/the other _______ (e.g., the other animal if no animal mentioned previously)

 

pronoun (he, she, it)

the [invented word] (an invented name would be scored as 3)

 

 

 

Ball – Story A1

a/this ________ (e.g., a ball, a balloon, an orange)

possessive + noun (e.g., her ball, the elephant’s ball)

the ball if character is ‘playing ball’


the /that______________

vague or empty term, e.g., a thingy/something/ whatchacallit

a [invented word]

 

pronoun (it)

the [invented word]

 

 

Lifeguard – Story A2

a/this _____________ (e.g., a lifeguard, a guy)

the lifeguard / the coach (only if pool or swimming or diving board previously mentioned)

his/her/their [family member] (e.g., daddy, brother if clear whose family member)

name (e.g., Mr. Lifeguard)

 

the/that _________ (including the lifeguard if no mention of pool, swimming, or diving board, and family member, e.g., the daddy, unless main characters were introduced as brother and sister)

a [invented word]

someone / somebody

pronoun (he, she, it)

the [invented word] (an invented name would be scored as 3)

the elephant (if first elephant was introduced as a/the elephant)

 

 

Character

Score as 3

Score as 2

Score as 1

Airplane – Story A3

a/this ________ (e.g., a plane, a toy)

possessive + noun (e.g., his toy, the giraffe's plane)

the/that ______________

indefinite vague or empty term, e.g., a thingy/something

a [invented word]

pronoun (it)

definite vague or empty term, e.g., the thingy

the [invented word]

Woman with net – Story A3

a/this _________ (e.g., a lady, a elephant, a person)

another _________ (e.g., lifeguard, elephant or girl if at least one previous character identified with same term)

name (e.g., Mrs. Lifeguard)

someone / somebody

the _____ + relative clause (if a plausible role, e.g., the person who cleans the pool)

 

the/that _______________ (e.g., the woman, the person who catches toys)

a [invented word]

 

 

pronoun (he, she, it)

the [invented word] (an invented name would be scored as 3)

the elephant / the girl elephant (if first or second elephant introduced as a/the [girl] elephant)

 

Net – Story A3

a/this __________

possessive + noun (e.g., her net)

the/that __________

indefinite vague or empty term, e.g., a thingy/something

a [invented word]

pronoun

definite vague or empty term, e.g., the thingy

the [invented word]

Dog – Story B1

a/this ______ (e.g., a dog, a mouse)

name (e.g., Susie)

possessive + noun

(e.g., her friend if ‘she’ already introduced)

another animal

the other animal (if C mentioned 2 animals and one animal mentioned previously)

Pronoun I/me if the child puts him/herself in the story as this character

the/that _______ (e.g., the dog)

a [invented word]

someone / somebody

possessive + noun (if other character not yet introduced)

another/the other _______ (e.g., the other animal if no animal mentioned previously)

 

pronoun (he, she, it)

the [invented word] (an invented name would be scored as 3)

 

 

Rabbit – Story B1

a ______ (e.g., a rabbit, a bunny)

name (e.g., Robbie)

possessive + noun

(e.g., her friend if ‘she’ already introduced)

another animal

the other animal (if C mentioned 2 animals and one animal previously mentioned)

Pronoun I/me if the child puts him/herself in the story as the rabbit

the _______ (e.g., the rabbit)

a [invented word]

someone / somebody

possessive + noun (e.g., his friend if other character not yet mentioned by other than a pronoun)

another/the other _______ (e.g., the other animal if no animal mentioned previously)

 

pronoun (he, she, it)

the [invented word]

 

 

Sandcastle – Story B1

a/this ________ (e.g., a castle)

possessive + noun (e.g., her castle, the dog’s sandcastle)

 

the/that ______________

indefinite vague or empty term, e.g., a thingy/something

a [invented word]

 

pronoun (it)

definite vague or empty term, e.g., the thingy

the [invented word]

 


 

Character

Score as 3

Score as 2

Score as 1

Doctor – Story B2

a/this _____________ (e.g., a doctor, this woman)

name (e.g., Mrs. Rabbit)

his/her/their [family member] (e.g., her mommy, if clear whose family member)

Another rabbit (if first rabbit introduced as a rabbit)

the/that _________ (including family member, e.g., the mommy, unless main characters were introduced as brother and sister)

family member, if not clear whose (e.g., the mommy)

another rabbit (if first rabbit was not introduced as such)

pronoun (he, she, it)

the [invented word] (an invented name would be scored as 3)

the rabbit (if first rabbit was introduced as a/the rabbit)

Balloon – Story B3

a/this ________ (e.g., a balloon)

possessive _________ (e.g., his balloon)

 

the/that ______________

vague or empty indefinite term, e.g., a thing/something

a [invented word]

 

pronoun (it)

the [invented word]

vague or empty definite term, e.g., the thing

 

Balloon seller – Story B3

a/this ______ (e.g., a rabbit, a man)

name (e.g., Mr. Balloon Man)

the + relative clause if clear from context, e.g., the man who had sold her the balloon; there were balloons…the man selling the balloons

another animal/rabbit

 

the/that____________ (e.g., the balloon seller)

 

pronoun (he)

the rabbit (if first or second rabbit was introduced as a/the rabbit)

Balloon(s) at end of Story B3*

a balloon

balloons

two balloons

their own balloon(s)

the/that balloon

those balloons

pronoun (it, them)

 

         

 

* Note:  Score the first expression that refers to a specific balloon or balloons that the animals get at the end, if possible.  For example, if the child says, "He wanted a balloon.  He saw a guy with balloons.  He asked the guy for a balloon.  But he had no money for a balloon.  He asked the doctor to buy him a balloon.  She gave the man money for balloons.  Then they each had a balloon/they had two balloons."  Score only the last expression (either a balloon or two balloons).  The earlier expressions were nonreferential, that is, they did not refer to a specific balloon but only to the class of objects.  The last expression refers to specific balloons.