This paper aims to examine to what extent preschool Mandarin Chinese-speaking children can create an autonomous replica play narrative. Twenty-four Taiwanese children, 12 four-year-olds and 12 six-year-olds, participated in this study. The focus of investigation is on the linguistic resources (i.e., temporal and referential devices) the children use to maintain story lines and to mark shifts between types of talk in replica play. Developmental shifts are evident in these children's use of temporal and referential devices to build up a coherent play narrative. The fouryear-olds exhibit a great difficulty sustaining their narrative talk, making use of temporal devices, and managing reference in their replica play. The six-year-olds, in comparison, use clearer reference and more temporal and causal connectives, but their ability to achieve autonomy in play narratives is limited. Developmental differences found in this study, in general, accord with crosslinguistic results.
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