Degree Year


Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts




Ronald Casson


Listener, Storytelling narrative, Conversation, Conversational, Narrator


To show that while comments by listeners do have the appreciative and encouraging role described above, this is not their only role. In her study of Hawaiian children, Watson (1975) discovered that two children would frequently tell a story in tandem, one child taking the role of lead narrator, the other interjecting comments which elaborated on, rephrased. summarized, and otherwise supported the main narrator's story. Robinson has recently called into question the applicability of this research to continental American white society (1981: 72-3), but I have found evidence of something similar, which I shall call "co-narration", among American whites. If one of the listeners is a "knowing listener", that is, was present at the events being described, he/she can interrupt the narrator with comments that not only show appreciation, but actually contribute to the narrative text of the story. Furthermore, even "non-knowing listeners" who are hearing the narrative for the first time can sometimes contribute in this way.

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