Volume 15, Issue 1
  • ISSN 1387-6740
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9935
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In this article we focus on the negotiation of meaning in narratives. One crucial place for the negotiation of meaning in narratives is its punchline and the sequence it precedes, the post punchline sequence. We will study in detail the interactional construction of the punchline and of the post punchline in institutional talk and private everyday conversation. In our material these activities are systematically examined in a two-step procedure: Firstly, the participants address the modality of the story in their construction of the punchline. Here, the recipient claims a preliminary understanding of the story, and the teller of the story can acknowledge this claim. Secondly, the participants evaluate the story by explicitly negotiating the understanding of the reported experience and by relating the story to a wider context. The first step of this procedure seems to have conditional relevance for step two; therefore we consider the post punchline sequence as part of the narrative. We regard the participants' joint construction of meaning as a central activity, and we approach this topic by investigating how the aspects of modality and negotiation of understanding are constructed and how they contribute to the display of alignment or disalignment in talk.


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