Volume 18, Issue 2
  • ISSN 1387-6740
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9935
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Recently, Labov (2006) described a process of narrative pre-construction that must occur during the short period of time between a conversationalist’s question, “Where should I begin?,” and the start of a narrative of personal experience. The present article is concerned with the microgenesis of narrative pre-construction in elicited third-person retellings. The central proposal is that the microgenesis of anticipatory goal statements — summaries of characters’ motivations for their actions, feelings and beliefs — relies on processes of increasing discourse cohesion that are learned, practiced and automatized in earlier ontogenetic development. In the proposed account these form a trajectory from extra- to intralinguistic (anaphoric) reference, and from sequenced descriptions of events to cataphoric summaries that are generalizations of original, perceived experiences. Analyses of narrative change across an intermediate, mesodevelopmental span of time — the repeated retellings of a story — provide insight into how change may occur in microgenesis. The proposal extends to the level of discourse Vygotsky’s (1987) account of the role of the social word in advancing thought from heaps to complexes to concepts.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): discourse; microgenesis; narrative; pragmatics
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