Discourse Analysis – Variation Theory

So, I’m reading a book on Applied Linguistics (as you do) and I came across this:

“Variation theory was developed by Labov (1972) and has made a major contribution to the analysis of discourse, in particular, his description of the structure of spoken narratives, which has been very influential in language teaching. Labov, with Waletsky (Labov and Waletsky, 1967), argued that the ‘overall structure’ of a fully formed narrative of personal experience is:

  • Abstract (summary of story, with its point),
  • Orientation (in respect of place, time and situation), Complication (temporal sequence of events, culminating in crisis),
  • Evaluation (narrator’s attitude towards narrative),
  • Resolution (protagonist’s approach to crisis),
  • Coda (point about narrative as a whole).

(Labov and Waletsky, 1967: 363)”

And I thought to myself what a wonderful way to write a story! Who’d have thought that a linguist would know this? 🐸

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