Exploring the recognisability of early story-telling through an interactional lens
Keywords:story-telling, conversation analysis, parent-child interaction, story structure
This study analyses two interactions between a parent and her child aged 23 months. The interactions provide examples of stories that begin to emerge when the child moves from talk that is highly dependent on the objects or activities in the physical space to talk about events that have occurred in a recent past and are not part of the immediate context. In the child language literature these interactions are referred as narratives. They are reported to emerge from the age of two, typically at the age of 2;6 (Miller & Sperry, 1988). Using the micro-analytic methods of conversation analysis where the focus is on interaction as the outcome of the joint, collaborative actions of both parent and child, and how they make visible to each other how they have understood the previous action or turn in talk, the analysis will show how one of the stories “fails” to progress while the second is successful. Analysis will proceed from using a set of features extrapolated from adult story-telling. They include what triggers the story-telling, how speakers resolve the interactional problem of creating a multi-unit turn, how story-telling is achieved collaboratively, what the purpose of the story is and who it is for, and how the story is oriented to as being newsworthy.
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