We are not born storytellers. Instead, storytelling is learned—along with learning other communicative speech activities (genres), such as laying out an argument or describing visual scenarios. Nevertheless, the boundaries of what counts as storytelling are fuzzy. Although argument and description are speech genres relatively distinct from storytelling, recipes or route instructions share story features, inasmuch as a particular temporal sequence of events needs to be followed that is irreversible. Typically, none of these speech activities is explicitly taught because they are picked up relatively effortlessly in early childhood and subsequently become refined throughout the life course. As such, storytelling across the life span has no clear developmental beginnings and neither does it have a developmental end point. It is embedded in too many other developmental ...

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