How oral texts are organized in monolingual and heritage Russian: Evidence from six countries

Natalia Gagarina, Sveta Fichman, Elena Galkina, Ekaterina Protassova, Natalia Ringblom, Yulia Rodina

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

2 Scopus citations


The present study examines narrative macrostructure, measured as Story Structure (SS) and Story Complexity (SC), in bilinguals speaking Russian as their home/heritage language (L1) and exposed to different societal languages (L2), while focusing on the effects of different L2s, bilingualism, and episodic structure and compares it to monolingual Russian. The Multilingual Assessment Instrument for Narratives (LITMUS-MAIN) was used to elicit narratives in L1/ Russian from 162 L2 Finnish, German, Hebrew, Norwegian, or Swedish bilinguals (4- and 6-year-olds) and 21 monolingual Russian children (4-year-olds). Age-matched bilinguals showed similarity in SS (except for children speaking L2 German or Hebrew) and SC. Monolinguals (age range 50–59 months) outperformed younger bilinguals (age range 48–59 months) in SS and SC but performed similarly to older bilinguals (age range 66–83 months). Fine-grained analysis revealed that a well-formed episode might include an Attempt-Outcome sequence combined with Internal States (and not only Goal-Attempt-Outcome) and that children are sensitive to events depicted in each episode. The findings show some evidence for the universality of macrostructure and provide insight into macrostructural knowledge at the episode level. The results are discussed within the theoretical model of multidimensional text organization.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationLanguage Impairment in Multilingual Settings. LITMUS in action across Europe
EditorsSharon Armon-Lotem, Kleanthes K. Grohmann
PublisherJohn Benjamins Publishing Company
Number of pages29
ISBN (Electronic)9789027258915
StatePublished - 2021

Publication series

NameTrends in Language Acquisition Research
ISSN (Print)1569-0644

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 John Benjamins Publishing Company.


This work was supported by the Leibniz Association (Natalia Gagarina), by the German-Israeli Foundation for Scientific Research and Development (GIF), grant number 1113/2010, and the Israel Science Foundation (ISF), grant number 779/10, to Sharon Armon-Lotem (Sveta Fichman), by the Ahlströms and Terserus Foundation (Natalia Ringblom), and by the Department of Language and Culture, UiT The Arctic University of Norway and the Research Council of Norway through its Centers of Excellence funding scheme, project number 223265 (Yulia Rodina) Rodina).

FundersFunder number
Ahlströms and Terserus Foundation
Department of Language and Culture
Universitetet i Tromsø
German-Israeli Foundation for Scientific Research and Development1113/2010
Israel Science Foundation779/10
Norges Forskningsråd223265


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