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Rühlemann, Christoph; O'Donnell, Matthew Brook (2012): Introducing a corpus of conversational stories. Construction and annotation of the Narrative Corpus. In: Corpus Linguistics and Linguistic Theory, Vol. 8, No. 2: pp. 313-350


Although widely seen as critical both in terms of its frequency and its social significance as a prime means of encoding and perpetuating moral stance and configuring self and identity, conversational narrative has received little attention in corpus linguistics. In this paper we describe the construction and annotation of a corpus that is intended to advance the linguistic theory of this fundamental mode of everyday social interaction: the Narrative Corpus (NC). The NC contains narratives extracted from the demographically-sampled sub-corpus of the British National Corpus (BNC) (XML version). It includes more than 500 narratives, socially balanced in terms of participant sex, age, and social class. We describe the extraction techniques, selection criteria, and sampling methods used in constructing the NC. Further, we describe four levels of annotation implemented in the corpus: speaker (social information on speakers), text (text Ids, title, type of story, type of embedding etc.), textual components (pre-/post-narrative talk, narrative, and narrative-initial/final utterances), and utterance (participation roles, quotatives and reporting modes). A brief rationale is given for each level of annotation, and possible avenues of research facilitated by the annotation are sketched out.