Article published in:Language and Social Life: Functional perspectives
Edited by Kristina Love
[Australian Review of Applied Linguistics. Series S 19] 2005
► pp. 151–173
Narrative and the origins of discourse
Construing experience in stories around the world
This paper summarises findings of discourse analyses of traditional stories from eleven language phyla around the world. The aim is a preliminary exploration of relationships amongst diverse languages in patterns of discourse, using a systemic functional language model. Several techniques were developed for managing and displaying the analyses, including translations of the stories, patterns of Theme and participant identities, staging of texts and conjunctive relations between messages, and relations between elements of clauses and between clauses in sequences. These techniques are exemplified with one story from the south Indian language Kodava. Some variations across languages, in strategies for realising these functions are then illustrated. Intriguing commonalities are found in discourse patterns in all the stories, realised by diverse but finite sets of options for grammatical strategies. Finally a map is displayed of relations between discourse features and the discourse systems they realise, and some suggestions are mooted for explaining commonality and diversity.
Published online: 01 January 2005
Cited by 1 other publications
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