ASL Discourse Structure of Personal Experience Narratives

ID: 3637
School: School of Language, Education, and Culture
Program: Linguistics
Status: Ongoing
Start date: October 2018
End Date: December 2020


This linguistic study examines the usage patterns of constructed dialogue as a discourse strategy in personal experience narratives in American Sign Language (ASL) and compares them to that of English within a similar discourse context. Constructed dialogue is a discourse strategy that encodes the conceptualization of the addresser and their particular viewing of dialogue, the interlocutor(s) involved, and the manner in which the interlocutors present dialogue from a previous or imagined discourse event. Linguistic research on constructed dialogue in ASL has paralleled early English research by primarily focusing on the identification, description, and classification of constructed dialogue and its types (see Metzger, 1995; Lillo- Martin, 1995; Liddell, 2003; Dudis, 2007; Thumann, 2010). This study diverges from previous research by examining how native ASL and English users pattern constructed dialogue within a personal narrative context. Additionally, this study examines the identified patterns of constructed dialogue use by ASL and English users under a cognitive linguistic framework by using the notion of construal to examine the impacts the patterns have on meaning. Finally, the patterns of usage in ASL and English will be compared to identify in what ways do ASL users differ from English users in their patterns of constructed dialogue use.

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