An analysis of speaker role inhabitance in narratives of personal experience

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Abstract

This article presents a framework for analyzing speaker role inhabitance in narratives of personal experience. Building on Labov's idea of evaluation, conversation analytic insights into narrative, Goffman's notion of footing, and Bakhtin's idea of voicing, I describe three role perspectives which speakers orchestrate in the performance of a narrative of personal experience: those of author, interlocutor, and character. I apply this framework to two tellings of the same event by the same speaker - one in which the speaker performs the story more from the perspective of a performed character, the other in which the speaker performs the story more from a current interlocutory position. I then demonstrate that this tripartite role distinction is salient for listeners, who described one of the tellings as revealing more about the speaker at the time of the original event, and the other telling as revealing more about the speaker at the time of the telling. Finally, I suggest how these role distinctions can be quantified, in order to describe the loading of each of the three roles within a narrative.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)167-217
Number of pages51
JournalJournal of Pragmatics
Volume34
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2002

Keywords

  • Evaluation
  • Footing
  • Heteroglossia
  • Identity
  • Narrative
  • Voicing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Artificial Intelligence

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