2012 Saying the unspeakable: the uses of voice in the narration of traumatic events

EASA2012posterPanel at EASA 2012 Paris Ouest University 10–13th/07. Convenors: Estelle Amy de la Bretèque / Alexandra Pillen (University College London).

This panel focuses on the sonic specificities of the narration of traumatic events, analysing their pragmatic features (intonation, rhythm, timbre...), their status in the local typologies of enunciation (in relation to speech, song, cry...) and their agency in the acoustic space of the performance.

In daily conversation, variations of pitch and accent indicate to some extent the emotions of the speaker. They may also highlight specific dimensions of the words being said or can be used for emphatic/contrastive purposes. This is often lost or distorted in the narration of traumatic events. Researches have shown that when speakers are deeply affected by the events they narrate, they often use linguistic markers differing from normal prosody.

This panel focuses on the sonic specificities of this type of utterances. How do narrators control (or uncontrol) their voices and body postures to narrate traumatic events? Are there specific registers of intonation, rhythm, timbre, temporality or breath which are linked with this kind of narratives? Do these changes enhance the emotional aspects of the words being said, or do they distanciate the narrator from them? Are they reshaped according to various contexts of enunciation? How do people link them discursively with other types of enunciation, such as speech, cry, song, etc.?

See program here.