Alternating gaze in multi-party storytelling

Rühlemann, Christoph and Gee, Matt and Ptak, Alexander (2019) Alternating gaze in multi-party storytelling. Journal of Pragmatics, 149. pp. 91-113. ISSN 03782166 (ISSN)

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We present a single case study on gaze alternation’ in three-party storytelling. The study makes
use of the XML method, a ‘combinatorial approach’ (Haugh & Musgrave 2019) involving multimodal
CA transcription converted into the XML syntax. We approach gaze alternation via (i) the
addressee-status hypothesis, (ii) the texturing hypothesis, and (iii) the acceleration hypothesis.
Hypothesis (i) proposes that the storyteller alternatingly looks at the recipients not only when their
addressee status is symmetrical but also when their addressee status is asymmetrical. Hypothesis
(ii) predicts that gaze alternation ‘textures’ the telling by occurring when the storytelling progresses
from one segment to another. Hypothesis (iii) states that gaze alternation accelerates toward
Climax and decelerates in Post-completion sequences. The analyses support the hypotheses.
They suggest that alternating gaze works against the danger of exclusion caused by the dyadic
structure of conversation. It further partakes in story organization as it occurs at points of transition
from one story section to another section. Finally, accelerated gaze alternation constitutes an
indexical process drawing the recipients’ attention to the immediate relevance of stance display
(Stivers 2008). We conclude that the three hypotheses warrant further investigation to determine
their generalizability across speakers and speech situations.

Item Type: Article
Date: 5 July 2019
Subjects: Q100 Linguistics
Divisions: Faculty of Arts, Design and Media > Centre for Research in English Studies (CRES)
Depositing User: Matthew Gee
Date Deposited: 10 Jul 2019 10:40
Last Modified: 05 Jul 2020 03:00

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