Leading the way and showing affiliation: participatory roles in a semi-structured narrative interview


  • Katie Paredes Monasch University
  • Marisa Cordella Monasch University




Participatory roles, interactional roles, personal narratives, affiliation, Spanish, discourse analysis


This paper outlines the participatory roles of narrators and interviewers in the process of unfolding personal stories. Fifteen secondary school students of Hispanic-Australian background enrolled in intermediate Spanish classes in Melbourne (Australia) were asked to talk about a series of topics allowing them to explore and develop personal stories. For the purpose of providing a comprehensive corpus this manuscript focuses on the 11 personal stories that emerged in Spanish and English around the topic of ‘the worst holiday’. The results show that narratives are not initially volunteered by students, being prefaced by an initial denial of negative experience. Nevertheless, the interviewer’s participation dissipates the narrator’s initial attitude allowing students to construct narratives guided by the interviewer’s expectations. Interviewer strategies include requests for clarification, prompts for story development and co-authorship. Also crucial to the interaction is the use of laughter as a form of personal affiliation.


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