Narrative in ‘societies of intimates’
  • ISSN 1387-6740
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9935
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Sequentiality is widely considered to be a universal and defining characteristic of narrative, however there has been relatively little research on narrative in non-European languages with oral traditions. Evidence from the Vanuatu language, Tirax, suggests that sequentiality is not the only nor fundamental strategy for narrative construction. The Tirax data show that while there is a general correlation between narrative clause order and the order of story events, there are many exceptions to sequential ordering. Furthermore there is minimal or no specialized marking to indicate the disruptions to sequentiality in Tirax narratives. The disruptions to sequentiality appear to be motivated by the storytelling imperatives of hooking an audience and keeping them immersed in the story. The data suggest that the difference in cognitive pressures involved in remembering, constructing and comprehending the spoken narrative, compared with the written one, is reflected in different ways of organising information in a narrative.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): Austronesian; focalisation; narrative; oral tradition; reportability; sequentiality
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