Direct reported speech as a frame for implicit reflexivity

Minerva Oropeza-Escobar


By articulating the notions of reflexivity and participant roles in the context of direct reported speech, the present study aims to contribute to a better understanding of discourse and interaction in storytelling events. Direct reported speech, I find, counts as a reflexive resource not only because it re-presents other speech, but also because it frames the activity of the metanarrator, as attested by the embedding of overtly reflexive elements (instances of direct reported speech, indirect reported speech and performative verbs) and the display of implicitly reflexive processes such as word search, repair and lexical choice. I arrive at the conclusion that those explicitly reflexive resources -such as metanarrative comments- which involve the momentary suspension of the reporting speech, occur only in extreme cases in which the audience’s understanding of the narrative is in risk from the teller’s perspective. Otherwise, the tendency prevails to keep direct reported speech consistent with the position and point of view of the corresponding figure.The narratives analyzed here were recorded in Spanish among bilingual Totonac-Spanish storytellers from three different villages of the Mexican State of Veracruz.

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