• Summary
  • Contents
  • Subject index

What are the structures of discourse and what are the functions of these structures in the communicative context? This volume explains how and why discourse is organized at various levels. The multidisciplinary contributions illustrate that discourse analysis goes far beyond the linguistic answer of designing grammars and goes hand in hand with the study of their uses and functions in the social context. Comprehensive and accessible, the volume covers a huge variety of discourse genres, including written and spoken, and storytelling and argumentation. The chapters also illustrate the necessity to examine the mental processes of the language users: How do people go about producing, understanding and remembering text or talk? The book stresses that both discourse and its mental processing have a social basis and can only be fully understood in relation to social interaction.

Narrative Realms

Imagine a world without narrative. Going through life not telling others what happened to you or someone else, and not recounting what you read in a book or saw in a film. Not being able to hear or see or read dramas crafted by others. No access to conversations, printed texts, pictures, or films that are about events framed as actual or fictional. Imagine not even composing interior narratives, to and for yourself. No. Such a universe is unimaginable, for it would mean a world without history, myths or drama; and lives without reminiscence, revelation, and interpretive revision.

When we think about narrative, literary forms come to mind as narrative texts par excellence. At least since Aristotle's Poetics (1962), narrative genres such as tragedy ...

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