chapter 8 The functions of narratives in Japanese university lecture discourse

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In this paper I present a new perspective on narratives in university lectures by suggesting criteria for categorizing narratives in relation to the preceding and following context. Based on an analysis of the narratives in four Japanese university lectures on Buddhism, Statistics, Eastern European History and Education, I address the questions of how narratives in university lectures are introduced, how they function and how they relate to the preceding and subsequent discourse. I categorized the narratives in my data into 4 types and 3 subtypes based on their textual and interpersonal functions: (1) Illustration, (2) Elaboration (a. Detail, b. Review/Preview, c. Epitome), (3) Presentation of Topic/Problem, and (4) Rapport. Illustration narratives are preceded by an abstract idea and provide an explanation for or give an example related to that idea. Elaboration narratives provide important details that create the very content of the lecture, and can be further divided into three types: Detail, Review/Preview and Epitome. Presentation of Topic/Problem narratives introduce a topic or provide a problem to be interpreted subsequently in the lecture. Finally, in Rapport narratives, the professor relates his/her personal experiences in order to help bring the professor and students together. By analyzing the discourse organization in which the narratives are embedded, I demonstrate how the narratives connect to and contribute to the lecture content.


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