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Title: Narrative analysis of the oral stories of personal experience told by Iraqi Kurdish and white British English-speaking women
Authors: Ebrahim, Hallat Rajab
Supervisors: Page, Ruth
Shaw, Philip
Award date: 20-Dec-2016
Presented at: University of Leicester
Abstract: Narrative has long been investigated as a culturally sensitive mode of expression which may vary in terms of narrative content, linguistic expression and interactional style. This thesis builds on earlier cross-cultural studies of narrative, exploring the stories told by Kurdish and English speakers. Through the quantitative and qualitative analysis of the data (80 stories told by Iraqi Kurdish and white British English-speaking women, and semi-structured ethnographic interviews with the same participants), I examine the variation in the structure and styles of the stories of personal experiences told by selected Iraqi Kurdish and white British English-speaking women using Labov’s (1972) and Ochs and Capps' (2001) models of narrative analysis. The thesis then goes on to explore the implications that these variations might have for interpreting the cultural identities of the participants through their stories. The findings show cross-cultural variation in the Iraqi Kurdish and white British English women’s style and structure of storytelling. All the Kurdish participants preferred repetition in their stories, regardless of their multilingual status or whether they told stories in Kurdish or English. In contrast the white British English participants favoured lexical intensifiers in their storytelling style. Another difference emerged between the groups of participants. Whilst all the Kurdish participants perceived boosters as more vivid, it was the English monolinguals who perceived repetition as more vivid (on average).The Kurdish participants’ style of storytelling is more dramatized and more interactive than that of the the white British English-speaking women. This difference could not be explained by a surface level comparison based on the cultural identity of the tellers, but instead involved the complex interplay of cultural context, story genre and topics of story genres. In terms of structure, the participants in this study did not only tell narratives but also other types of story genres including anecdotes, exemplums and recounts with exemplums being the most frequent for the Kurdish speakers. This confirmed the Kurdish women’s assertion, in the ethnographic interviews, of the moral purpose of storytelling, with their frequent use of exemplums reflecting this emphasis on moral purpose.
Type: Thesis
Level: Doctoral
Qualification: PhD
Rights: Copyright © the author. All rights reserved.
Appears in Collections:Leicester Theses
Theses, Dept. of English

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