Massa and Simeoni [Abstract]

Once upon a tale. On the foundational role of narrative in constructing linguistic and social experience
[Full text]

Eleonora Massa  [1] and Valentina Simeoni [2]

AbstractThis paper illustrates the importance of narrativity as a cognitive and linguistic procedure, and the role of storytelling as a social practice. After examining the structural analogy between the “story frame” and our ways of organizing, representing and understanding the world, it argues for the crucial contribution narrativity gives to our experience of being human. It then analyzes the role played by natural languages as the main semiotic system through which this narrative modality is expressed, and retraces the paths along which meanings emerge as the result of recursive linguistic practices in a shared environment. Being narratively and socially constructed, we will further point out, words and meanings only make sense within a relational frame, and the practice of storytelling itself becomes a privileged way to share them in a certain – necessarily local – cultural context. Both as a received competence and an interactional skill storytelling, we will conclude, has a strongly pragmatic dimension, whose exploration will finally lead us to the concept of “narrative community”.

Keywords: Narrativity, storytelling, sense making, linguistic meaning, narrative thought, narrative community

[1] Independent Researcher, Italy,
[2] Independent Researcher, Italy,