Linguocultural cognition manifested in spoken narratives in L2 English by native Chinese and Korean speakers

Hye K. Pae*, Jing Sun, Xiao Luo, Haiyang Ai, Fengyang Ma, Nan Yang, Detong Xia

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


To understand constructs underpinning L2 production, this study investigated how native speakers (mean age = 26.61) of Chinese (n = 29), Korean (n = 23), and English (n = 28) formulated spoken narratives in English and how functional factors were related to the linguistic richness of narratives under the framework of thinking for speaking. To identify operating mechanisms behind the manifestation of conceptualization and verbal output, analyzed were 80 spoken narratives elicited using a picture book, Frog, where are you? Results showed that the two nonnative groups’ attentional foci were similar to that of the native group. The modes of mental analyses showed a partial difference between Chinese and Korean speakers. The nonnative groups showed the different usage of syntactic elements than English speakers. This study suggested that L1 was a foundational schema for thinking for speaking, as indicated by the trans-linguistic transfer of syntactic features. It also suggested that cultural/attentional foci and assertiveness in narration could be restructured as a result of learning the linguistic and sociopragmatic properties of L2 English. The richness of L2 narratives with respect to lexical diversity, clausal variety, and sentential expressions unevenly varied according to L2 proficiency for both Chinese and Korean speakers. When English proficiency was taken into consideration, the mental analysis, syntactic features, and rhetorical devices were significant predictors of the richness of lexical, clausal, and sentential formulation. Further research should continue under the framework of thinking for speaking in both L1 and L2 with various language groups and different L2 proficiency levels.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)345-365
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Cultural Cognitive Science
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Nonnative speakers of English
  • Spoken narratives
  • Text richness
  • Thinking for speaking


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