Volume 31, Issue 1
  • ISSN 1387-6740
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9935
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My contribution traces the evolving notion of tellability in the study of narrative over the last thirty-odd years: Tellability was initially seen as an objective property of textual content, but research on narrative in real contexts of talk has increasingly recognized the various ways interactional factors can override content as grounds for relating a story. I advance a set of research strategies based on investigation of the discourse structures that accompany the negotiation of tellability in context and the syntactic markers of tellability, specifically requests for stories like “tell me” and “tell her,” correlating with features of recipient design in narration. This will reveal distinctions in presuppositions about who knows a story already, who else should be included, and who may conarrate, demonstrating how tellability varies from one participant to another even in the same context.


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