Looking from the Inside: How Children Render Character’s Perspectives in Freely Told Fantasy Stories

Max van Duijn, Bram van Dijk, Marco Spruit


Abstract
Story characters not only perform actions, they typically also perceive, feel, think, and communicate. Here we are interested in how children render characters’ perspectives when freely telling a fantasy story. Drawing on a sample of 150 narratives elicited from Dutch children aged 4-12, we provide an inventory of 750 instances of character-perspective representation (CPR), distinguishing fourteen different types. Firstly, we observe that character perspectives are ubiquitous in freely told children’s stories and take more varied forms than traditional frameworks can accommodate. Secondly, we discuss variation in the use of different types of CPR across age groups, finding that character perspectives are being fleshed out in more advanced and diverse ways as children grow older. Thirdly, we explore whether such variation can be meaningfully linked to automatically extracted linguistic features, thereby probing the potential for using automated tools from NLP to extract and classify character perspectives in children’s stories.
Anthology ID:
2022.wnu-1.8
Volume:
Proceedings of the 4th Workshop of Narrative Understanding (WNU2022)
Month:
July
Year:
2022
Address:
Seattle, United States
Venue:
WNU
SIG:
Publisher:
Association for Computational Linguistics
Note:
Pages:
66–76
Language:
URL:
https://aclanthology.org/2022.wnu-1.8
DOI:
10.18653/v1/2022.wnu-1.8
Bibkey:
Cite (ACL):
Max van Duijn, Bram van Dijk, and Marco Spruit. 2022. Looking from the Inside: How Children Render Character’s Perspectives in Freely Told Fantasy Stories. In Proceedings of the 4th Workshop of Narrative Understanding (WNU2022), pages 66–76, Seattle, United States. Association for Computational Linguistics.
Cite (Informal):
Looking from the Inside: How Children Render Character’s Perspectives in Freely Told Fantasy Stories (van Duijn et al., WNU 2022)
Copy Citation:
PDF:
https://aclanthology.org/2022.wnu-1.8.pdf
Video:
 https://aclanthology.org/2022.wnu-1.8.mp4