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Affect-Loaded Questions in Japanese Storytelling: An Analysis of Grammar, Prosody, and Body Movements of Story Recipients’ Questions

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DOI: 10.4236/ojml.2015.55043    3,293 Downloads   3,773 Views   Citations
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ABSTRACT

The present study explores affective stance in conversational storytelling by investigating the ways in which unknowing story recipients display affective stances toward a teller’s story through questions that deploy multimodal resources. The data are based on videotaped natural face-to-face conversations between native Japanese speakers. While unknowing story recipients ask questions of the storyteller only to elicit factual information (“neutral questions”), they also ask questions layered with affect (“affect-loaded questions”). Building on studies on affect and stance, assessment, questions, and alignment and affiliation in storytelling, I demonstrate how unknowing story recipients ask affect-loaded questions to elicit and display affective stances toward story contents by exploiting linguistic and non-linguistic resources. First, I explicate how unknowing story recipients employ not only linguistic devices (e.g., emotion words, wh-questions, and deictic expressions such as sonna “like that”), but also prosody, facial expressions, body movements, and pre-/concurrent-laughter in order to load questions with affective stance that display, for example, disgust, humor, sarcasm, criticism, or surprise. Secondly, I show how unknowing story recipients use rhetorical questions to express their affect (rather than to elicit information from the storyteller). Thirdly, I demonstrate how affiliation of affective stance between storyteller and unknowing story recipients influences the trajectory of storytelling and how the participants negotiate their affective stances. This study sheds light on the interactional process of how participants in talk-in-interaction display affective stance through a range of multimodal resources, by examining how unknowing story recipients ask affect-loaded questions of the storyteller. It illuminates the social practice of story recipients’ active participation in storytelling activity that is embedded in social interaction, through their use of questions that dynamically co-construct and negotiate affective stance.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

Cite this paper

Koike, C. (2015) Affect-Loaded Questions in Japanese Storytelling: An Analysis of Grammar, Prosody, and Body Movements of Story Recipients’ Questions. Open Journal of Modern Linguistics, 5, 481-510. doi: 10.4236/ojml.2015.55043.

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