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Open Linguistics: Topical Issue on Personal Narrative Online

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Daria Dayter (University of Basel),
Susanne Mühleisen (University of Bayreuth)


The linguistic interest in personal narrative has received a boost with the spread of computer-mediated communication. Social media in particular have been cited as primary sites for the narrative construction of self that opens new possibilities for creative and selective self-presentation through stories of personal experience.

This special issue aims to bring together contributions on linguistic structures of an internet narrative. In analysing the formal level of the narrative online, two competing approaches are currently favoured by researchers: Labov and Waletzky’s (1967) elements of the narrative, and Ochs and Capps’ (2001) dynamic model of narrative dimensions (including the ‘small stories’ approach [Georgakopoulou 2007] that has grown to be extremely influential in the study of internet communication). The two frameworks are typically seen as incompatible and based on fundamentally different theoretical assumptions. By inviting the contributions from scholars who work in different theoretical strands, we aim to achieve a synthesis of findings across linguistic fields. Our goal is to illustrate the variety of possible interpretive lenses through which narrative can be viewed, to advocate interdisciplinarity, and to provide a comprehensive view of personal storytelling online within different, but complementary, research frames.

The special issue is prefaced by a short introduction by the editors.


Authors and titles:

"Telling Stories about Self in Digital Contexts: Same, Same, but Different?" Daria Dayter (University of Basel), Susanne Mühleisen (University of Bayreuth)

"“More about me” – Self-Presentation and Narrative Strategies in Caribbean Online Dating Ads"  Susanne Mühleisen (University of Bayreuth)

“The Functions of Narrative Passages in Three Written Online Health Contexts” Franziska Thurnherr, Marie-Thérèse Rudolf von Rohr, Miriam A. Locher (University of Basel)

“From narrating the self to posting self(ies): A small stories approach to selfies” Alexandra Georgakopoulou (King’s College London)

“Reporting from the Field: The Narrative Reconstruction of Experience in Pick Up Artist Online Communities” Daria Dayter (University of Basel) and Sofia Rüdiger (University of Bayreuth) 

“Narratives of Belonging in the Digital Diaspora: Corpus Approaches to a Cultural Concept” Theresa Heyd (Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg)

“Digital Narratives of Belonging as Anglophone or Francophone in a Cameroon Online News Forum” Eric Anchimbe (University of Bayreuth)