The Grammar of Autobiography: A Developmental Account

By Jean Quigley | Go to book overview

6
Accounting for oneself: The Discourse of Agency

REPORTING

This discourse category comprises those cases in which the modal auxiliaries seem to be performing a descriptive function without, for the main part, any explicit expression of personal affect toward what is being described, overt assessment or evaluation of the event or situation, and in the absence of explicitly reflective elements. Of course the fact that an event or situation is being described or reported on at all means it cannot be neutrally charged in this context.1 However this category is trying to account for those cases in which the speaker appears to adopt the role of a reporter laying out the facts in order to make a later commentary.

It has been established that when modal forms are involved, it is not a straightforward mapping of words to world but reporting in order to recast, showing different levels of involvement, taking different measures of distance in relation to what one is reporting (e.g., perfective or imperfective statements) and taking up of different positions in relation to your narratives. In reporting, you are always in essence constructing the event or scenario for the listener.2 In the very process of singling out and ordering events, you are at the same time conveying how they are related or relevant to the present discourse experience, where they fit into your autobiography.3

Overall, this category accounts for 23% of all modal utterances, which is possibly much less straightforward reporting than would be expected of this discourse type. Even within a monological autobiographical context, the descriptive function is less important than the indexical instrumental function, the speaker is still trying to do or to effect something, not just to tell something.


Action or Event

One point of interest here is the children's reporting of happenings or events

____________________
1
Harré and Mühlhäulser ( 1990, p. 131): "Responsibility is assigned to human beings both for their actions in the world and for their reports as to how the world appears from their point of view."
2
Portelli ( 1981, p. 175): "The remembering and the telling are themselves events, not only descriptions of events" and "an event lived is finished, bound within experience. But an event remembered is boundless, because it is the key to all that happened before and after it".
3
Bamberg and Reilly ( 1996, p. 337): "The self as the narrator, as well as the events (including processes and states) that are reported in the narrative, emerge in the interaction; they are jointly coconstructed. Content and performance both are contextualization factors in the process of how narrators intend to be understood in interaction and how they ultimately constitute their selfunderstanding."

-149-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
The Grammar of Autobiography: A Developmental Account
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen
/ 232

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.