Affectivity in conversational storytelling: An analysis of displays of anger or indignation in complaint stories

Margret Selting

Abstract

This paper reports on some recent work on affectivity, or emotive involvement, in conversational storytelling. After presenting the approach, some case studies of the display and management of affectivity in storytelling in telephone and face-to-face conversations are presented. The analysis reconstructs the display and handling of affectivity by both storyteller and story recipient. In particular, I describe the following kinds of resources: - the verbal and segmental display: Rhetorical, lexico-semantic, syntactic, phonetic-phonological resources; - the prosodic and suprasegmental vocal display: Resources from the realms of prosody and voice quality; - visual or "multimodal" resources from the realms of body posture and its changes, head movements, gaze, and hand movements and gestures. It is shown that the display of affectivity is organized in orderly ways in sequences of storytelling in conversation. I reconstruct (a) how verbal, vocal and visual cues are deployed in co-occurrence in order to make affectivity in general and specific affects in particular interpretable for the recipient and (b) how in turn the recipient responds and takes up the displayed affect. As a result, affectivity is shown to be managed by teller and recipient in storytelling sequences in conversation, involving both the reporting of affects from the story world as well as the negotiation of in-situ affects in the here-and-now of the storytelling situation.

Keywords:
Quick links
A browser-friendly version of this article is not yet available. View PDF
Bamberg, M
(1997) Emotion talk(s). The role of perspective in the construction of emotions. In S. Niemeier & R. Dirven (eds.), The language of emotions. Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing Company, pp. 209-225. CrossrefGoogle Scholar
Christmann, G.B., and S. Günthner
(1996) Sprache und Affekt. Die Inszenierung von Entrüstung im Gespräch. Deutsche Sprache 1: 1-33.Google Scholar
Couper-Kuhlen, E
(1999) Coherent voicing: On prosody in conversational reported speech. In W. Bublitz & U. Lenk (eds.), Coherence in spoken and written discourse: How to create it and how to describe it. Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing Company, pp. 11-32. Crossref  BoPGoogle Scholar
Drew, P
(1998) Complaints about transgressions and misconduct. Research on Language and Social Interaction 31.3-4: 295-325. Crossref  BoPGoogle Scholar
Drew, P., and E. Holt
(1988) Complainable matters: The use of idiomatic expressions in making complaints. Social Problems 35.4: 398-417. CrossrefGoogle Scholar
Emerson, R.M., and S.L. Messinger
(1977) The micro-politics of trouble. Social Problems 25: 121-34. CrossrefGoogle Scholar
Goffman, E
(1978) Response cries. Language 54: 787–815. Crossref  BoPGoogle Scholar
(1981) Forms of talk. Oxford: Blackwell.  BoPGoogle Scholar
Goodwin, C
(1984) Notes on story structure and the organization of participation. In J.M. Atkinson & J. Heritage (eds.), Structures of social action. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 225-246.Google Scholar
(1996) Transparent vision. In E. Ochs, E.A. Schegloff & S.A. Thompson (eds.), Interaction and grammar. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 370-404. CrossrefGoogle Scholar
in press) Constructing meaning through prosody in aphasia. To appear in D. Barth- Weingarten, E. Reber & M. Selting (eds.) Prosody in interaction Amsterdam John Benjamins Publishing Company Crossref
Goodwin, M.H
(1980) Processes of mutual monitoring implicated in the production of descriptive sequences. Sociological Inquiry 50: 303-317. CrossrefGoogle Scholar
(1990) He-Said-She-Said. Talk as social organization among black children. Bloomington & Indianapolis: Indiana University Press.Google Scholar
(1997) By-play: Negotiating evaluation in storytelling. In G.R. Guy, C. Feagin, D. Schriffin & J. Baugh (eds.), Towards a social science of language, Vol. 2: Social interaction and discourse structures. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins Publishing Company, pp. 77-102. CrossrefGoogle Scholar
Goodwin, C., and M.H. Goodwin
(1987) Concurrent operations on talk: Notes on the interactive organization of assessments. IPRA Papers in Pragmatics 1.1: 1-54. CrossrefGoogle Scholar
Goodwin, M.H., and C. Goodwin
(2000) Emotion within situated activity. In A. Duranti (ed.), Linguistic anthropology: A reader. Malden, MA/Oxford: Blackwell, pp. 239-257.Google Scholar
Günthner, S
(1997) The contextualization of affect in reported dialogues. In S. Niemeier & R. Dirven (eds.), The language of emotions. Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing Company, pp. 247-275. CrossrefGoogle Scholar
(1999) Polyphony and the ‘layering of voices’ in reported dialogues: An analysis of the use of prosodic devices in everyday reported speech. Journal of Pragmatics 31: 685-708. CrossrefGoogle Scholar
(2000) Vorwurfsaktivitäten in der Alltagsinteraktion. Tübingen: Niemeyer. CrossrefGoogle Scholar
(2005) "Dichte Konstruktionen". InLiSt (Interaction and Linguistic Structures) 43 (http://​www​.uni​-potsdam​.de​/u​/inlist​/issues​/43​/index​.htm)Google Scholar
Harré, R
(1986) An outline of the social constructionist viewpoint. In R. Harré (ed.), The social construction of emotions. Oxford: Blackwell, pp. 2-14.  BoPGoogle Scholar
Hochschild, A.R
(1979) Emotion work, feeling rules, and social structure. American Journal of Sociology 85.3: 551-575. CrossrefGoogle Scholar
(1983) The managed heart. Commercialization of human feeling. Berkeley: University of California Press.Google Scholar
Jefferson, G
(1978) Sequential aspects of storytelling in conversation. In J. Schenkein (ed.), Studies in the organization of conversational interaction. New York: Academic Press, pp. 219-248. CrossrefGoogle Scholar
(1990) List construction as a task and interactional resource. In G. Psathas (ed.), Interaction competence. Lanham, MD: University Press of America, pp. 63-92.Google Scholar
Klewitz, G., and E. Couper-Kuhlen
(1999) Quote-unquote. The role of prosody in the contextualization of reported speech sequences. Pragmatics. 9.4: 459-485. CrossrefGoogle Scholar
Lindblom, B
(1990) Explaining phonetic variation: A sketch of the HandH theory. In W.J. Hardcastle & A. Marchal (eds.), Speech production and speech modelling. Dordrecht: Kluwer, pp. 273-296. CrossrefGoogle Scholar
Local, John, and Gareth Walker
(2008) Stance and affect in conversation: On the interplay of sequential and phonetic resources. Text & Talk 28-6: 723-747. Crossref  BoPGoogle Scholar
Mandelbaum, J
(1991/1992) Conversational non-cooperation: An exploration of disattended complaints. Research on Language and Social Interaction 25: 97-138. CrossrefGoogle Scholar
Ochs, Elinor, and Bambi Schieffelin
(1989) Language has a heart. Text 9.1: 7-25.  BoP CrossrefGoogle Scholar
Ogden, R
(2006) Phonetics and social action in agreements and disagreements. Journal of Pragmatics 38: 1752-1775. Crossref  BoPGoogle Scholar
in press) Prosodic constructions in making complaints. To appear in D. Barth-Weingarten, E. Reber & M. Selting (eds.) in press Prosody in interaction Amsterdam John Benjamins Publishing Company Crossref
Peräkylä, A., and J. Ruusuvuori
(2006) Facial expression in an assessment. In H. Knoblauch, B. Schnettler, J. Raab & H.G. Soeffner (eds.), Video analysis: Methodology and methods. Frankfurt: Peter Lang, pp. 127-142.Google Scholar
Pomerantz, Anita
(1986) Extreme case formulations: A way of legitimizing claims. Human Studies 9: 219-29. CrossrefGoogle Scholar
Quasthoff, U
(1980) Erzählen in Gesprächen. Tübingen: Narr.Google Scholar
Quasthoff, U.M
(2001) Erzählen als interaktive Gesprächsstruktur. In K. Brinker, et al.. (eds.), Text- und Gesprächslinguistik. HSK 16. Volume 2: Gesprächslinguistik. Berlin etc.: de Gruyter, pp. 1293-1309.Google Scholar
Quasthoff, U.M., and T. Becker
(eds.) (2005) Narrative interaction. Amsterdam/Philadepphia: John Benjamins Publishing Company. Crossref  BoPGoogle Scholar
Raymond, Geoffrey, and John Heritage
(2006) The epistemics of social relations: Owning grandchildren. Language in Society 35: 677-705. Crossref  BoPGoogle Scholar
Reber, E
(2008) Affectivity in talk-in-interaction: Sound objects in English. Ph.D. Dissertation. University of Potsdam.
Ryave, A
(1978) On the achievement of a series of stories. In J. Schenkein (ed.), Studies in the organization of conversational interaction. New York: Academic Press, pp. 113-132. CrossrefGoogle Scholar
Sacks, H
(1971) Das Erzählen von Geschichten innerhalb von Unterhaltungen. In R. Kjolseth & F. Sack (eds.), Zur Soziologie der Sprache. Opladen: Westdeutscher Verlag, pp. 307-314. CrossrefGoogle Scholar
(1986) Some considerations of a story told in ordinary conversation. Poetics 15: 127-138. CrossrefGoogle Scholar
Schegloff, E.A
(2007) Sequence organization in interaction. A Primer in Conversation Analysis. Volume 1. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Crossref  BoPGoogle Scholar
Scheutz, H
(1992) Apokoinukonstruktionen. Gegenwartssprachliche Erscheinungsformen und Aspekte ihrer historischen Entwicklung. In A. Weiss (ed.), Dialekte im Wandel. Göppingen: Kümmerle, S., pp. 243-264.Google Scholar
(2005) Pivot constructions in spoken German. In A. Hakulinen & M. Selting (eds.), Syntax and lexis in conversation. Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing Company, pp. 103-128. CrossrefGoogle Scholar
Selting, Margret
(1994) Emphatic speech style - with special focus on the prosodic signalling of heightened emotive involvement in conversation. Journal of Pragmatics 22.1994: 375-408. Crossref  BoPGoogle Scholar
(2007) Lists as embedded structures and the prosody of list construction as an interactional resource. Journal of Pragmatics 39: 483-526 (Crossref logo).  BoP CrossrefGoogle Scholar
Selting, M.; P. Auer, B. Barden, J. Bergmann, E. Couper-Kuhlen, S. Günthner, U. Quasthoff, C. Meier, P. Schlobinski, and S. Uhmann
(1998) Gesprächsanalytisches Transkriptionssystem (GAT). In Linguistische Berichte 173: 91-122.Google Scholar
Selting, Margret, et al.
(2009) Gesprächsanalytisches Transkriptionssystem 2 (GAT 2). To appear in Gesprächsforschung – Online-Zeitschrift zur verbalen Interaktion(www​.gespraechsforschung​-ozs​.de)
Stivers, Tanya
(2008) Stance, alignment, and affiliation during storytelling: When nodding is a token of affiliation. Research on Language and Social Interaction 41.1: 31-57. Crossref  BoPGoogle Scholar
Wilkinson, Sue, and Celia Kitzinger
(2006) Surprise as an interactional achievement: Reaction tokens in conversation. Social Psychology Quarterly 69.2: 150-182. CrossrefGoogle Scholar