Verb+s Is Looking for Love: Towards a Meaningful Narrativization of Abstract Content

  • Serena ZampolliEmail author
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 10690)


This paper discusses the development of a process to narrativize abstract content in the context of English taught as a foreign language, focusing on the teaching of grammar rules which are problematic for Italian learners. It argues that content in story-form is better processed by the human brain compared to non-narrative content, and highlights how the discussion on narrativization of abstract content is still open. Then it describes the challenges to the development of such process, explains a narrativization proposal, and illustrates its development, structure and application. Finally, it presents preliminary results of a first exploratory application in a school context, showing that the process is clear and direct enough to be applied successfully by secondary school students. This process could be the first step towards a new representation of abstract knowledge and the automated creation of metaphorical stories.


Language learning Narrative learning Storytelling Narrativization Grammar 



I would like to show my gratitude to Giuliana Dettori for her mentorship and help during the writing of this paper. I would also like to thank the three anonymous reviewers for their precious insights. I am also grateful to Daniel Levin who took the time to correct the text.


  1. 1.
    Balboni, P.: Le sfide di Babele. Utet, Torino (2002)Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Bruner, J.: Acts of Meaning. Harvard University Press, Cambridge (1990)Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Bruner, J.: Making Stories: Law, Literature, Life. Harvard University Press, Cambridge (2003)Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Burton, L.: The implications of a narrative approach to the learning of mathematics. In: Burton, L. (ed.) Learning Mathematics: From Hierarchies to Networks, pp. 21–35. Garland Inc, New York (1999)Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Carey, B.: How we Learn: The Surprising Truth about When, Where and Why it Happens, p. 9. Random House, New York (2015)Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Daloiso, M.: I fondamenti neuropsicologici dell’educazione linguistica. Libreria Editrice Cafoscarina, Venezia (2009)Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Dettori, G., Paiva, A.: Narrative learning in technology-enhanced environments. In: Ludvigsen, S., Balacheff, N., De Jong, T., Lazonder, A., Barnes, S. (eds.) Technology-Enhanced Learning: Principles and Products, pp. 55–69. Springer, Berlin (2009)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Foer, J.: Moonwalking with Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything. The Penguin Press, New York (2011)Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Haven, K.: Story Proof: The Science Behind the Startling Power of Story. Libraries Unlimited, Westport (2007)Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Hoorn, J.F.: Metaphor and the brain: behavioral and psychological research into literary metaphor processing. Thesis Vrije Universitet (1997)Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Mandler, J., Johnson, N.: Remembrance of things parsed: story structure and recall. Cognit. Psychol. 9, 111–151 (1977)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Mandler, J.: Stories, Scripts, and Senses: Aspects of Schema Theory. Lawrence Erlbaum, Hillsdale (1984)Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Odangiu, F.: The actor in the storytelling school. In: Dramatica: Studia Universitatis Babes-Bolyai. Thematic issue: Narrative Structures in Contemporary Performing Arts, vol. 62 (LXII), pp. 23–34, 1 March 2017.
  14. 14.
    Abbott, H.P.: The Cambridge Introduction to Narrative. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge (2002)Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Schank, R.: Tell me a Story: Narrative and Intelligence. Northwestern University Press, Evanston (1990)Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Schumann, J., Crowell, S., Jones, N., Lee, N., Schucter, S.A., Wood, L.A.: The Neurobiology of Learning: Perspectives from Second Language Acquisition. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Mahwah (2004)Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Solomon, Y., O’Neill, J.: Mathematics and narrative. In: Language and Education, vol 12, no. 3, pp. 210–221 (1998)Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Spinozzi, P., Hurwitz, B. (eds.): Discourses and Narrations in the Biosciences. V&R Unipress, Gottingen (2011)Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    Swan, M., Smith, B. (eds.): Learner English (2nd Edition) A Teacher’s Guide to Interference and Other Problems (Cambridge Handbooks for Language Teachers). Cambridge University Press, Cambridge (2001)Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    Tornitore, T.: Della Narratologia. Genova University Press, Genova (2014)Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    Dettori, G., Giannetti, T., Paiva, A., Vaz, A. (eds.): Technology-Mediated Narrative Environments for Learning. Sense Publishers, Rotterdam (2006)Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    Dettori, G., Morselli, F.: Accessing knowledge through narrative context. In: Kendall, M., Samways, B. (eds.) Learning to Live in the Knowledge Society. ITIFIP, vol. 281, pp. 253–260. Springer, Boston (2008). CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Università degli Studi di GenovaGenoaItaly

Personalised recommendations