Temporal Framing in the Conte: From Theoretical Debate to Oral Story Performance

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This article explores ‘temporal framing’ in the oral conte. The starting point is a recent theoretical debate around the temporal structure of narrative discourse which has highlighted a fundamental tension between the approaches of two of the most influential current theoretical models, one of which is ‘framing theory’. The specific issue concerns the role of temporal adverbials appearing at the head of the clause (e.g. dates, relative temporal adverbials such as le lendemain) versus that of temporal ‘connectives’ such as puis, ensuite, etc. Through an analysis of a corpus of contes performed at the Conservatoire contemporain de Littérature Orale, I shall explore temporal framing in the light of this theoretical debate, and shall argue that, as with other types of narrative discourse, framing is primarily a structural rather than a temporal device in oral narrative. In a final section, I shall further argue, using Kintsch’s construction-integration model of narrative processing, that framing is fundamental to the cognitive processes involved in oral story performance.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)488-504
Number of pages17
JournalFrench Studies
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Literature and Literary Theory
  • Cultural Studies
  • History


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