Temporal Structures in Occitan and French Oral Narrative: The Role of Frames and Connectives

Janice Carruthers, Marianne Vergez-Couret

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This article explores the temporal structuring of Occitan oral narratives. Using contemporary linguistic theory and through a corpus-based analysis, it aims to explore the relationship between language and orality, with a specific focus on two key temporal features of oral narrative, i.e. frames and connectives. The authors create a digitised corpus involving three sub-corpora demonstrating different degrees of orality in Occitan and these are also compared with a French oral corpus. Our analysis shows that there is quantitative evidence to support the idea that frames and connectors have complementary roles in narrative, with inverse proportions of frames and connectives in the four sub-corpora. In terms of questions of degrees of orality, our results suggest that use of particular connectives is strongly associated with oral as opposed to written narratives but that factors relating to both sources and transmission are relevant and interact with each other in complex ways. Frames are generally ‘structural only’ in function rather than ‘temporal and structural’ and certain frame introducers recur in all the sub-corpora but again, there are complex differences between the different sub-corpora and a clear link with type of story. Questions of sources and transmission are central to our argumentation throughout and are particularly striking in the case of the contemporary Occitan sub-corpus.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-36
Number of pages36
JournalLinguisticae Investigationes
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 20 Sept 2021


  • oral narrative, frames, connectives, Occitan


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