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Introspective discourse and the poetics of subjective experience

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Publication details

JournalResearch on Language and Social Interaction
DatePublished - Apr 2011
Issue number2
Number of pages22
Pages (from-to)135-156
Original languageEnglish


This article examines poetic phenomena—rhymes, alliteration, puns—that appear in the introspective reports of people who have taken part in a psychology experiment. We argue that these phenomena are a form of discourse poetics identified in conversational data by Sacks and subsequently discussed by Jefferson, among others. We extend earlier research, first, to identify how the organization of these introspective narratives facilitates a range of poetic and rhetorical forms more commonly associated with the study of classical literary and religious texts; and second, to provide evidence that these poetic forms are not happenstance but are pragmatic achievements.

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