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Academic Paper

Title: Crossing boundaries: The nexus of time, space, person, and place in narrative
Author: Deborah Schiffrin
Email: click here TO access email
Institution: Georgetown University
Linguistic Field: Discourse Analysis; Semantics; Syntax; Text/Corpus Linguistics
Abstract: Recent research on narrative has widened the scope of analysis, suggesting the value of reexamining the canonical Labovian view of the structure and function of personal-experience narrative. This article suggests that narrative is not simply a way of evoking and shaping experience in time. Rather, narrative can evoke and shape cultural “chronotopes” (Bakhtin ) or nexuses of time, space, and identity. To illustrate this, I analyze a narrative from an oral history related in 1972 by a young woman whose volunteer work in the mid-1960s led to the rehabilitation of a small African American enclave in a middle-class White suburb. Analysis of clause types, constructed dialogue, existential there, deixis, verb chains, and referring expressions shows that the narrative is a blend of genres evoking place as well as personal identity linked to complex coordinates of time and space, and dependent intertextually on other parts of a larger story. (Narrative, oral history, chronotope, space, place, identity, genre)


This article appears IN Language in Society Vol. 38, Issue 4, which you can READ on Cambridge's site or on LINGUIST .

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