Getting the point: A narrative journey into the athabaskan culture

Elaine R. Silliman, Sylvia F. Diehl, Margaret K. Aurilio, Louise C. Wilkinson, Kristine M. Hammargren

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Narrative assessment is traditionally approached from the linear perspective of the dominant culture and methods of analysis reflect that bias. Other cultures, like the Athabaskan culture, organize narrative thinking in a different manner. Few tools are available for the more critical understanding of the nonlinear narrative for developmental, clinical, and educational purposes. Using story recall, this article examines the Athabaskan narrative as told by a village storyteller to two native students, one of whom has a language-learning disability with a co-occurring mild hearing loss. The original narrative and the retellings were studied using underlying structure analysis. The prosodic and structural patterns revealed through the method of assessment were consistent with the concept of a spatially organized narrative. Clinical implications for applying this approach are described as being more sensitive to possible interfaces between cultural differences in narrative recall and discourse management problems characteristic of a language-learning disability.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)30-53
Number of pages24
JournalTopics in Language Disorders
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 1995
Externally publishedYes


  • Athabaskan culture
  • Cultural differences
  • Language-learning disability
  • Narrative assessment
  • Underlying structure analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Speech and Hearing


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