Telling Stories

Language, Narrative, and Social Life

by Deborah Schiffrin, Anna De Fina, Anastasia Nylund

Series: Georgetown University Round Table on Languages and Linguistics series

Narratives are fundamental to our lives: we dream, plan, complain, endorse, entertain, teach, learn, and reminisce through telling stories. They provide hopes, enhance or mitigate disappointments, challenge or support moral order and test out theories of the world at both personal and communal levels. It is because of this deep embedding of narrative in everyday life that its study has become a wide research field including disciplines as diverse as linguistics, literary theory, folklore, clinical psychology, cognitive and developmental psychology, anthropology, sociology, and history.

In Telling Stories leading scholars illustrate how narratives build bridges among language, identity, interaction, society, and culture; and they investigate various settings such as therapeutic and medical encounters, educational environments, politics, media, marketing, and public relations. They analyze a variety of topics from the narrative construction of self and identity to the telling of stories in different media and the roles that small and big life stories play in everyday social interactions and institutions. These new reflections on the theory and analysis of narrative offer the latest tools to researchers in the fields of discourse analysis and sociolinguistics.

In The Press

Every chapter in the book raises interesting and critical issues about how theorists and researchers are to identify, understand and delimit the complex, transactional event(s) they purport to study and report on. Telling Stories: Language, Narrative, and Social Life is an extremely engaging collection of diverse papers that I would highly recommend to anyone doing or considering doing research involving narrative, discourse analysis or text anaylsis. The individual chapters in this book are fully worth reading independently, and taken as a collection interconnected by the three underlying themes, the book itself is a valuable contribution to the field of narrative research and discourse analysis.

About The Author

Deborah Schiffrin is a professor in the Department of Linguistics at Georgetown University. She is the author of In Other Words: Variation in Reference and Narrative.

Anna De Fina is an associate professor in the Department of Italian at Georgetown University. She is the author of Identity in Narrative: A Study of Immigrant Discourse.

Anastasia Nylund is a PhD candidate in the Department of Linguistics at Georgetown University.