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1981
Volume 10, Issue 1
  • ISSN: 2043-0701
  • E-ISSN: 2043-071X

Abstract

The purpose of this research is to consider the language used for telling true ghost stories. True ghost stories, that is, those anecdotes initially shared by friends and family describing personal experiences and encounters with paranormal activity, is an unusual genre for storytellers in that it lives within a space that can be seen as both fiction and non-fiction, with specific vocabulary that joins the two genres. The non-fiction part of such a story, as with all non-fiction narratives, relies on the verbatim reporting of an eyewitness account. The fictional part depends on a writer utilizing specific semantic tropes of the ghost story, such as mysterious shadows, unexplained noises and fluctuations in temperature. Bridging these two areas is the language found in the narrative, where a responsible writer employs careful phrasing to relate the story whilst avoiding a vocabulary that endorses unprovable phenomena. For example, I cannot, in good conscience, write: . To be honest to my own scepticism, and to the limited evidence usually presented with such stories, I have to write: … or …. Through a critical analysis of existing narratives and an examination of hedging strategies used, this research intends to demonstrate how some writers in this genre maintain their own truthfulness to present a compelling narrative.

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2020-04-01
2024-05-29
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  • Article Type: Article
Keyword(s): ghost stories; hedging strategies; Labov; non-fiction; paranormal; urban myth
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