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Co-Auteur(s): Manuela ROMANO

Constructing Self-Disclosure and Empathy in Oral Emotion Discourse

Abstract/Résumé: Recent research in oral narrative studies has shown that the degree of emotionality of the events being told is reflected in the linguistic and pragmatic devices used by he speakers, especially in the structure and in the use of specific attentional markers used to guide and involve the listeners (Cuenca et al. 2011). Our analysis of English oral narratives of highly traumatic events, based on a corpus of texts recorded from British late night call-in radio programmes, explores: on the one hand, the strategies used by narrators to disclose highly intimate and traumatic information; that is, how narrators solve the tension between the need to share their experiences while protecting themselves from others. And, on the other, the strategies used by listeners to project their emotions and empathize or not with the stories. For this purpose, the cognitive and socio-cultural tools coming from Mental Spaces and Conceptual Integration Theory as applied to discourse (Fauconnier & Turner 2002, Oakley & Hougaard 2008) have been especially useful: (i) To understand how narrators disclose their emotions through the various involving devices and world shifts. (ii) To explain how, as hearers, we constantly and effortlessly manage several input narrative spaces simultaneously while constructing the global meaning of oral discourse. And (iii), to comprehend how, as listeners, we follow the invited projections by activating our collective and individual socio-cultural experiences. In short, this work shows how the expression and comprehension of emotion discourse is a highly complex and dynamic process which can best be explained by the interaction of linguistic, cognitive and sociocultural parameters. An approach which wishes to shed light on recent research on how individual cognitive systems and languages are embedded within collective cognition and culture (Bernárdez 2008). REFERENCES: Bernárdez, E. (2008). Collective cognition and individual activity: Variation, language and culture. In R. M. Frank, R. Dirven, T. Ziemke and E. Bernárdez (Eds.), Body, language and mind, Vol 2: Sociocultural situatedness. Berlin/New York: Mouton de Gruyter. 137-166. Cuenca, M.J.; Marín, M.J.; Romano, M. & Porto, M.D. (2011). Emotividad y marcadores del discurso en narraciones orales. Oralia 14, 315-344. Fauconnier G. and M. Turner (2002). The Way We Think: Conceptual Blending and the Mind's Hidden Complexities. New York Basic Books. Oakley, T and A. Hougaard (Eds.). (2008). Mental Spaces in Discourse and Interaction. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.