Narrative in English Conversation

Narrative in English Conversation : A Corpus Analysis of Storytelling

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Storytelling is a fundamental mode of everyday interaction. This book is based upon the Narrative Corpus (NC), a specialized corpus of naturally occurring narratives, and provides new paths for its study. Christoph Ruhlemann uses the NC's narrative-specific annotation and XPath and XQuery, query languages that allow the retrieval of complex data structures, to facilitate large-scale quantitative investigations into how narrators and recipients collaborate in storytelling. Empirical analyses are validated using R, a programming language and environment for statistical computing and graphics. Using this unique data and methodological base, Ruhlemann reveals new insights, including the discovery of turntaking patterns specific to narrative, the first investigation of textual colligation in spoken data, the unearthing of how speech reports, as discourse units, form striking patterns at utterance level, and the identification of the story climax as the sequential context in which recipient dialogue is preferentially positioned.
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Product details

  • Online resource
  • Cambridge, United Kingdom
  • 40 b/w illus. 4 colour illus. 30 tables
  • 1139026984
  • 9781139026987

Review quote

'Ruhlemann's book is a rare gem in the study of conversational narrative. It is based on a corpus specifically compiled for this study, breaks new ground with sophisticated computational and statistical tools, and is full of astute observations and qualitative interpretation. No scholar of narratives will want to miss this.' Stefan Th. Gries, University of California, Santa Barbara 'This book offers an excellent example of how to do significant original work on conversational narrative through the inventive development and use of corpus data. It demonstrates how sophisticated computer methods combine with intelligent hypothesis formulation to yield significant insights on conversational storytelling as an interactional achievement.' Neal Norrick, Saarland University 'Ruhlemann's work brings together in a timely fashion the best of discourse analysis and corpus linguistics. Exploiting the explanatory power of a large, carefully annotated specialised corpus, it breaks new ground in spoken corpus analysis by uncovering the delicate interweaving of speakers and listeners as they jointly construct their worlds.' Mike McCarthy, University of Nottingham
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Table of contents

Introduction; 1. Towards a working definition of conversational narrative; 2. Data, methodology, and tools; 3. How do narrators and recipients co-construct turntaking?; 4. Recipient design I: how do narrators mark discourse presentation?; 5. Recipient design II: how do narrators use discourse presentation for dramatization?; 6. How do recipients co-author stories?; 7. Summary, conclusions and directions for future research; Appendix 1; Appendix 2; Appendix 3.
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About Christoph Ruhlemann

Christoph Ruhlemann is a researcher at Philipps-Universitat Marburg, Germany. He is the author of Conversation in Context (2007) and co-editor, with Karin Aijmer, of The Cambridge Handbook of Corpus Pragmatics (forthcoming).
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