Experiential Narrative Analysis

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Introduction The concept of narrative has become one of the most discussed themes in sociolinguistics since the 1960s. Humans have the tendency to explain the world around them through rationality which, according to Barbara (2001), brought to develop the ability of telling stories. A narrative is a story containing a series of events that take place over a specific period of time. A well structured narrative should report the events following a chronological order. The sociolinguistic researches focused on “spontaneous recounting of experience [...] to capture the closest approximation to the vernacular of unmonitored speech” (Labov 2001) and then analyze it. This paper analyzes two short narratives of personal experience. The narratives are about a fight, the first told by an adult and the second by a six-year-old child. In this paper the two recorded narratives have been transcribed, segmented into units…show more content…
The word narrative comes from the Latin narrare that is, telling a story. Narrative of personal experience is “the fundamental human capacity to transfer experience from one person to another through oral narrative” (Labov 1997). Experiential narratives are recounts of different personal experiences an individual makes in the world. People throughout history have found it useful or meaningful to communicate these experiences to the others. The ability of embodying experiences into a narrative is best expressed in Labov and Waletzky’s definition of narrative: “narrative will be considered as one technique for recapitulating experience, in particular a technique for constructing narrative units which match the temporal sequence of that experience” (1967:13; cf Labov 1972:359-360). Sociolinguists started analyzing spontaneous recounting of personal experiences in the 1960s because it was considered an important source “to capture the closest approximation to the vernacular of unmonitored speech” (Labov

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