Multimodal analysis of quotation in oral narratives

Kashmiri Stec, Mike Huiskes, Gisela Redeker

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We investigate direct speech quotation in informal oral narratives by analyzing the contribution of bodily articulators (character viewpoint gestures, character facial expression, character intonation, and the meaningful use of gaze) in three quote environments, or quote sequences – single quotes, quoted monologues and quoted dialogues – and in initial vs. non-initial position within those sequences. Our analysis draws on findings from the linguistic and multimodal realization of quotation, where multiple articulators are often observed to be co-produced with single direct speech quotes (e.g. Thompson & Suzuki 2014), especially on the so-called left boundary of the quote (Sidnell 2006). We use logistic regression to model multimodal quote production across and within quote sequences, and find unique sets of multimodal articulators accompanying each quote sequence type. We do not, however, find unique sets of multimodal articulators which distinguish initial from non-initial utterances; utterance position is instead predicted by type of quote and presence of a quoting predicate. Our findings add to the growing body of research on multimodal quotation, and suggest that the multimodal production of quotation is more sensitive to the number of characters and utterances which are quoted than to the difference between introducing and maintaining a quoted characters’ perspective.

Open Linguistics