Indirect reported speech in storytelling: Its position, design, and uses

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17 Citations (Scopus)


In this study conversation analysis is used in an investigation of indirect reported speech (IRS) in storytelling. It reveals its recurrent sequential positions showing that it occurs in distinct places from direct reported speech (DRS) and performs different interactional tasks. IRS recurrently occurs in talk surrounding the focus of the telling (including background detailing prior to, during, or following the focus of the story) and in introducing sequences of DRS. It tends to be brief—usually one unit long—and nongranular. It summarizes or glosses an action rather than enacting a locution from a particular context and is recurrently embedded into larger structures. In this way it regularly manages transitions either from detailing to the focus or from the focus to related matters. Thus, analysis throws light on the use and design of reported speech in interaction and adds to our knowledge of the way storytelling is constructed and how movement between different segments is managed. The data are drawn from collections of English telephone calls recorded in the United Kingdom and United States.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)171-187
Number of pages17
JournalResearch on Language and Social Interaction
Issue number2
Early online date8 Jun 2017
Publication statusPublished - 8 Jun 2017


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