Last updated: May 6, 2003

Narrative Psychology Search


[Narrative Psychology]

 Narrative in Other Disciplines

  Linguistics & Semiotics; Psychology of Language

          Background  ||  Internet  ||  Bibliographical  ||  Theorists


Background Issues

This page treats narrative as it relates to the science of linguistics and semiotics. The first focus refers to the general use of language while the second examines the ways in which humans use signs and signalling systems such as language. Also included here are some resources related to the cognitively-anchored subfield of the psychology of language.

Theorists*Key Figures

Internet Resouces

Semiotics for Beginners (Daniel Chandler; U Wales Aberystwyth)

Chandler provides an introduction to semiotics for "absolute" beginners. His topics include signs, modality, paradigms & syntagms, syntagmatic analysis, paradigmatic analysis, denotation & connotation, metaphor & metonymy, codes, modes of address, articulation, intertextuality, stengths & criticisms of semiotic analysis, and references and suggested readings. A page of semiotic links on the Net is also included.

Charles S. Peirce Studies

Comprehensive site.

Sites of Significance for Semiotics [P. Michelucci, U. Toronto]

Important Theories for Research in Social Semiotics et al. [Jay Lemke; U Michigan]

Society for Text and Discourse [U Memphis] "The Society for Text and Discourse is an international society of researchers who investigate all aspects of discourse processing and text analysis. The purpose of the Society is to consolidate research in discourse processing and to enhance communication among researchers in different disciplines." -- from site description.

Bibliographical Resources

Coupland, N., & Nussbaum, J. F. (Eds.). (1993). Discourse and lifespan identity. Newbury Park, CA: Sage Publications. [P302.84 .D57 1993]

Introduction: discourse, selfhood, and the lifespan (Nikolas Coupland, Jon F. Nussbaum, and Alan Grossman); Becoming someone: identity and belonging (John Shotter); Autobiographies and the shaping of gendered lives (Mary M. Gergen and Kenneth J. Gergen); Discursively formulating the significance of reminiscence in later life (Kevin Buchanan and David J. Middleton); Positioning and autobiography: telling your life (Luk Van Langenhove and Rom Harre); Pedagogic discourse and interaction orders: sharing time and control (Karin Aronsson and Ann-Carita Evaldsson); Contextualizing social control: an ethnomethodological analysis of parental accounts of discipline interactions (Diane T. Prusank); Transitions through the student career (Ann Q. Staton. Making connections: narrative as the expression of continuity between generations of grandparents and grandchildren (Valerie Cryer McKay); The construction of "closeness" in mother-daughter relationships across the lifespan (Karen Henwood and Geraldine Coughlan); Intergenerational communication in the mother-daughter dyad regarding caregiving decisions (Victor G. Cicirelli); Investigations of marital communication and lifespan development (Alan L. Sillars and Paul H. Zietlow); Couples and change: intervention through discourse and images (William W. Wilmot and Joyce L. Hocker); Epliogue: Future prospects in lifespan sociolinguistics (Nikolas Coupland, Justine Coupland, and Jon F. Nussbaum).

+Gardner, H. (1995, March 23). Green ideas sleeping furiously. The New York Review of Books, 42, 32-38.

Gardner reviews Steven Pinker's recent The Language Instinct, Annettee Karmiloff-Smith's Beyond Modularity: A Developmental Perspective on Cognitive Science, and Bruner's Acts of Meaning. While his review of Bruner does not seem to do quite the justice to the work which it deserves (he does like it very much, though), the bulk of the review provides a wonderful overview of Noam Chomsky's work in linguistics (which Pinker carefully explains and extends). The reviewer finds Pinker insufficiently attentive to the ways in which "culture shapes language" (p. 36.)

+Gee, J. P. (1985). The narrativization of experience in the oral style. Journal of Education, 167, 9-35.

Gee, J. P. (1986). Units in the production of narrative discourse. Discourse Processes, 9, 391-422.

Gee, J. P. (1991). A linguistic approach to narrative. Journal of Narrative and Life History, 1, 15-39.

Labov, W. (1982). Speech actions and reactions in personal narratives. In D. Tannen (Ed.), Analyzing discourse: Text and talk (pp. 219-247). Washington, DC: Georgetown University Press.

+Lakoff, G. (1987). Women, fire, and dangerous things: What categories reveal about the mind. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press. [P37.L344 1986]

Explores the categories of mind revealed by cognitive models people employ in schematizing the world. Explains various prototype models. Reflects on philosophical issues of the independence of reality from the mind which copes with experience: argues for an experientialist rather than objectivist viewpoint based on the nature of categorization [L. denies that (1) concepts or reason are "transcendental", (2) a correspondance of language and objects of world, (3) concepts as inner representations of external reality, and (4) reason as a mirror of the logical structure of the enternal world.] (p. 154). Why? Human conceptual categories are both "embodied" and the result of "imaginative processes" (metaphor, metonymy, mental imagery) (p. 371). Provides three case studies: the concept of anger, the single word "over", and grammatical constructions.

+Linde, C. (1992). Conversational narrative. In Bright, W. (Ed.-in-chief), International encyclopedia of linguistics (Vol. 3, pp. 24-27). New York: Oxford University Press.

Lotman, Y. M. (1991). Universe of the mind: A semiotic theory of culture (A. Shukman, Transl.). Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press.

"This seminal text in cultural semiotics represents a summation of Soviet semiotician Yuri Lotman's distinguished intellectual career. Addressing three main areas -- meaning and the text; the concept of the semiosphere; and semiotics from the point of view of history -- Lotman presents here the most complete and broadly ambitious theory of culture and language yet to emerge from the field of semiotics." (publisher's description)

Makaryk, I. R. (Ed.). (1993). Encyclopedia of contemporary literary theory: Approaches, scholars, terms (Series in Theory/Culture). Toronto, Canada: University of Toronto Press. [PN81.E63 1993]

This one-volume encyclopedic handbook of over 650 pages gathers entries from 170 international scholars across three separate sections: Part I ("Approaches") provides 48 evaluative essays dealing with key schools and theories of the past half-century; Part II ("Scholars") focuses upon more than 130 individual scholars/theorists (including some earlier seminal figures, e.g., Kierkegaard, Merleau-Ponty, de Saussure) and their place within the history and intellectutal context of literary criticism; and, Part III ("Terms") explains over 80 individual vocabulary words, phrases, and crucial concepts employed within contemporary literary theory. Throughout the text, each essay, biographical sketch, and vocabulary explanation is accompanied by extensive bibliographical resources for readers to pursue further interests and study. Both primary and secondary sources are cited for individual theorists. Whenever a name or a concept is used in any essay and has been given its own entry elsewhere in the encyclopedia, an asterisk (*) is used to signal that fact. Hence, readers can explore or pursue themes or connections within literary theory with confidence that important associated materials will be identified and attended to. This book serves as an important companion to the Groden and Kreiswirth (1994) guide cited earlier in page on Literary Criticism.

Polanyi, L. (1985). Telling the American story: A structured and cultural analysis of conversational storytelling. Norwood, NJ: Ablex.


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Hevern, V. W. (2003, May). Linguistics & semiotics; Psychology of language. Narrative psychology: Internet and resource guide. Retrieved [enter date] from the Le Moyne College Web site:

     Narrative Psychology: Internet and Resource Guide
is copyright © 1996-2003 by Vincent W. Hevern, SJ, all rights reserved.

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