New language versions of MAIN: Multilingual Assessment Instrument for Narratives – Revised


  • Natalia Gagarina
  • Josefin Lindgren



Narrative comprehension, Narrative production, Multi/bilingual, Language acquisition, Multilingual Assessment Instrument for Narratives (MAIN), COST Action IS0804, Language Impairment Testing in Multilingual Settings (LITMUS), Internal state terms, Macrostructure, Telling, Retelling, Model story


The Multilingual Assessment Instrument for Narratives (MAIN) is a theoretically grounded toolkit that employs parallelpictorial stimuli to explore and assess narrative skills in children in many different languages. It is part of the LITMUS (Language Impairment Testing in Multilingual Settings) battery of tests that were developed in connection with the COST Action IS0804 Language Impairment in a Multilingual Society: Linguistic Patterns and the Road to Assessment(2009−2013). MAIN hasbeen designed to assess both narrative production and comprehensionin children who acquire one or more languages from birth or from early age. Its design allows for the comparable assessment of narrative skills in several languages in the same child and in different elicitation modes: Telling, Retelling and Model Story. MAIN contains four parallel stories, each with a carefully designed six-picture sequence based on a theoretical model of multidimensional story organization. The stories are controlled for cognitive and linguistic complexity, parallelism in macrostructure and microstructure, as well as for cultural appropriateness and robustness. As a tool MAIN had been used to compare children’s narrative skills across languages, and also to help differentiate between childrenwith and without developmental language disorders, both monolinguals and bilinguals.

This volume consists of two parts. The main content of Part I consists of33 papers describing the process of adapting and translating MAIN to a large number of languagesfrom different parts of the world. Part II contains materials for use for about 80 languages, including pictorial stimuli, which are accessible after registration.

MAIN was first published in 2012/2013 (ZASPiL56). Several years of theory development and material construction preceded this launch. In 2019 (ZASPiL 63), the revised English version (revised on the basis of over 2,500 transcribed MAIN narratives as well as ca 24,000 responses to MAIN comprehension questions, collected from around 700 monolingual and bilingual children in Germany, Russia and Sweden between 2013-2019) was published together with revised versions in German, Russian, Swedish, and Turkish for the bilingual Turkish-Swedish population in Sweden. The present 2020 (ZASPiL 64) volume contains new and revised language versions of MAIN.





Gagarina, Natalia, und Josefin Lindgren. 2020. „New Language Versions of MAIN: Multilingual Assessment Instrument for Narratives – Revised“. ZAS Papers in Linguistics 64 (August):274.