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Text & Talk

An Interdisciplinary Journal of Language, Discourse & Communication Studies

Ed. by Sarangi, Srikant

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Volume 35, Issue 6


Direct reported speech in storytellings: Enacting and negotiating epistemic entitlements

Evelyne Berger
  • Corresponding author
  • Finnish Centre of Excellence in Intersubjectivity in Interaction, University of Helsinki, P.O. Box 4 (Vuorikatu 3), 00014 Helsinki, Finland
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  • Other articles by this author:
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/ Simona Pekarek Doehler
Published Online: 2015-11-28 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/text-2015-0023


This paper presents a study of participants’ use of direct reported speech (DRS) in storytelling during dinner table conversation in French. Focusing on reported dialogues, the analysis corroborates earlier conversation analytic findings showing that speakers regularly use linguistic, prosodic and paralinguistic resources to stage the characters whose speech is being reported; thereby speakers display their stance on behalf of those characters and their conduct. Additionally, the analysis documents that speakers use DRS within reported dialogues as a powerful means for depicting their own adequate conduct in the face of a purportedly “deviant” conduct of a third party. In the specific context of our data, in which an au-pair interacts with her host family, such direct reported dialogues are used both by the mother and the au pair as a means to enact shared expectations about the appropriateness of a caregiver’s conduct in the face of the “deviant” conduct of a child. In light of these findings, the representation of past dialogues by means of DRS appears as a practical resource by means of which participants enact identities such as mother and caregiver and thereby reflexively construct and negotiate the related epistemic entitlements.

Keywords: direct reported speech; reported dialogue; epistemic entitlement; prosodic design; storytelling


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About the article

Evelyne Berger

Evelyne Berger is currently a Post-Doc at the Finnish Centre of Excellence in Intersubjectivity in Interaction at the University of Helsinki. She works currently in a third-party funded project on grammatical practices for structuring storytelling activities in French ordinary conversations. Her research interests include also turn-taking practices, repair organization, embodied conducts, second language talk, and classroom interactions.

Simona Pekarek Doehler

Simona Pekarek Doehler is professor of Applied Linguistics at the University of Neuchâtel. In her research she explores how communicative resources, including language, emerge from the process of interaction. Her work has appeared e.g. in Discourse Processes, the Modern Language Journal and Journal of Pragmatics. She has co-edited, with J. K. Hall and J. Hellermann, L2 Interactional Competence and Development (2011).

Published Online: 2015-11-28

Published in Print: 2015-12-01

Citation Information: Text & Talk, Volume 35, Issue 6, Pages 789–813, ISSN (Online) 1860-7349, ISSN (Print) 1860-7330, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/text-2015-0023.

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