Narration and Narrative in L2 Speakers of Russian



Abstract: The researcher examined 54 oral proficiency interviews (OPIs) with L2 Russian speakers ranging from Intermediate High through Superior (predominantly Advanced Mid) for narrative as defined by Labov. Descriptors adapted from episodic analysis were also used. While the author found that OPIs provided relatively weak prompts for narrative, Superior speakers provided complex episodes more readily than did speakers at lower levels. While the author found paragraphed narration throughout the Advanced range, narrative episodes consisted largely of stative accounts of events, often accompanied by evaluation, rather than punctual actions. Attempts at complete episodic narration at Advanced Mid and lower levels sometimes resulted in evidence of additional cognitive load or breakdown. The researcher concluded that narrative, as opposed to narration, is an emerging skill at the Advanced level.