Negotiating story entry : a micro-analytic study of storytelling projection in English and Japanese
This dissertation offers a micro-analytic study of the use of language and body during storytelling in American English and Japanese conversations. Specifically, I focus on its beginning and explore how a story is projected. A beginning of an action or activity is where an incipient speaker negotiates the floor with co-participants; they pre-indicate their intention to speak while informing the recipients of how they are expected to listen to the following talk. In particular, storytelling involves a specific need to secure long turn space before it begins since unlike other types of talk, a story usually requires more than an utterance to complete. Drawing on conversation analysis, I investigate how various communicative resources, including language, gesture, gaze, and body posture, manage such negotiation of the floor during entry into a story. This study involves two focuses. First, it examines not only vocal means, but also non-vocal devices. Thus, I explore the linguistic resources employed to project the relationship between a forthcoming telling and ongoing talk. Specifically, I investigate how coherence and disjunction are projected differently – some stories are continuous with prior talk while others may start as a new activity. I also investigate the vocal resources for projection of a return to an abandoned story. Specifically, I demonstrate how a continuation and resumption are projected differently. Finally, I investigate the employment of non-vocal devices relevant to the projection of story entry. Secondly, this study takes a cross-linguistic perspective. By examining conversations in two typologically different languages, American English and Japanese, I investigate how linguistic resources are consequential to the way projection is accomplished. Also, since only few studies have been conducted on storytelling in Japanese conversation, I aim to contribute to a better understanding of how the previous findings from English storytelling can be applied to Japanese conversations. Storytelling is an important activity for human social life; telling of what we did, saw, heard about, or know helps us build good relationships with our interactants. This dissertation thus aims to explore how interactants co-construct a site for an important interpersonal activity in everyday interaction.