Publication details [#61084]

Green, Jennifer and Lesley Stirling. 2016. Narrative in ‘societies of intimates’. Common ground and what makes a story. Narrative Inquiry 26 (2) : 173–192.
Publication type
Article in journal
Publication language
Place, Publisher
John Benjamins
Journal DOI


When the Australian writer Richard Flanagan accepted the 2014 Man Booker Prize for fiction, he said that “As a species it is story that distinguishes us”. While the prize was given for a literary work written in English, Australia and the surrounding regions are replete with a rich diversity of oral traditions, and with stories remembered and told over countless generations and in many languages. This article considers both the universality and the cross-cultural and cross-linguistic diversity of various forms of narrative. It explores the question of what a linguistic typology of narrative might look like, and surveys some of the literature relevant to this issue. Most specifically, it asks whether some observed differences in narrative style, structure, or delivery could derive from social features of the communities which produce them: their social density, informational homogeneity, and the high degree of common ground they share.