Narrative writing in Australian and Chinese schools : a study of text in context

Woon Yee, Judy HO

Research output: Scholarly Books | Reports | Literary WorksBook (Author)


The book adopts a crosslinguistic and crosscultural approach to narrative analysis. Concepts of narrative are explored through a contrastive study of its expressions in English and Chinese and through a comparison of the contexts of production. Narratives written by Grade 5/6 students were collected from primary schools in Sydney and in Hong Kong. Their structural, ideational and stylistic characteristics were contrasted within a synthesized framework of Western and Chinese narrative traditions, the Labovian model, Halliday’s systemic functional grammar, critical discourse analysis and genre theory. The socio-cultural context was analyzed by examining curriculum documents and by investigating teachers’ beliefs and teaching practices through surveys, interviews and observations. The book shows that the meaning of narrative has to be interpreted within a suprastructure which embodies the expectations, norms, and values of a specific culture. It is a powerful statement of how schools as social and cultural institutions mediate the production of narrative texts and transmit larger cultural values through specific practices. The study makes a substantial contribution to the field for its combination of empirical detail and theoretical breadth, and for its demonstration of how textual and linguistic structures arise from, and make sense within, divergent social and institutional contexts.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherPeter Lang
ISBN (Print)9780820458809
Publication statusPublished - 2002


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