Indexing narrative metalepsis in German conversational story-telling: The case of “Von wegen”and “nach dem Motto”

Jörg Bücker


The purpose of this study is to show that direct speech in narratives introduced by “von wegen” (‘like’) and “nach dem Motto” (‘along the lines of’) can be analyzed as a powerful means to transform a stretch of talk into a massive “stance index” which transcends the boundaries between the narrator’s world and the narrated world in terms of narrative metalepsis. “Von wegen” and “nach dem Motto” are non-canonical reporting frames which are syntactically flexible and semantically facilitate a transformation of direct speech into a “category-animation”. For these reasons, they can be employed spontaneously in spoken talk-in-interaction and make it possible to shape a stretch of direct speech creatively in order to position oneself, other discourse participants and narrated characters as committed or non-committed to what is seen to be a relevant normative point of reference. The way direct speech introduced by “von wegen” and “nach dem Motto” can be used to construct positions in order to evaluate discourse participants and narrated characters can be grasped schematically by means of a slightly revised and extended version of Du Bois’ “stance triangle”.

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