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Narrative in English Conversation
A Corpus Analysis of Storytelling


Part of Studies in English Language

  • Date Published: December 2015
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781107595750

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About the Authors
  • 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 Rühlemann 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, Rühlemann 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.

    • Provides quantitative evidence of the co-construction of conversational narrative
    • Draws on the Narrative Corpus to reveal new insights into turntaking, quotation, and recipient-narrator interaction
    • Suggests directions for future research into conversational narrative using emerging technologies
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'Rühlemann'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

    'Rühlemann'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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    Product details

    • Date Published: December 2015
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781107595750
    • length: 308 pages
    • dimensions: 230 x 153 x 17 mm
    • weight: 0.46kg
    • contains: 40 b/w illus. 4 colour illus. 30 tables
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    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.

  • Author

    Christoph Rühlemann, Philipps-Universität Marburg, Germany
    Christoph Rühlemann is a researcher at Philipps-Universität Marburg, Germany. He is the author of Conversation in Context (2007) and co-editor, with Karin Aijmer, of The Cambridge Handbook of Corpus Pragmatics (2015).

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