Volume 33, Issue 1
  • ISSN 1387-6740
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9935
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Energized by seminal scholarship within narrative studies; communication studies of aging and dementia; and formulaic language, we examined a wide range of stories told multiple times within two different longitudinal collections of verbal interactions involving two women in their 80s (one US American; one French). Based on multifaceted analyses of these longitudinal series of stories, we identified a new type of narrative, the “narrative crystal”. We characterize the internal formal architecture of two illustrative crystals (one from each corpus) before illuminating how such crystals function for their speakers as reassuring interactional “stepping stones” within their larger discourse surroundings. Our findings sketch a possible developmental process regarding how meaningful personal experiences come to be transformed over the lifespan: from the inchoate qualities of first-time tellings shaped by the interaction, through incrementally increased stability over the course of many tellings, to reach the highly durable nature of narrative crystals.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): aging; dementia; family discourse; formulaic language; memory; narrative; retelling
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