Account-giving in the narratives of personal experience in isiZulu
This study explores the theoretical work in articulating the motivations and conditions for account-giving in Isizulu. In this situation, accounts are similar to narratives and can be retained at the level of private reflections or written as diary entries or for others to read and refer to from time to time. The importance of the intelligibility of accounts is established with reference to Schank and Abelson (1977) who contend that people construct accounts based on their knowledge structure approach, causal reasoning and text comprehension. Thus, for an account to be honored, it has to be goal-oriented and coherent. In this study, the social-interactive aspects of account-giving are investigated and it is discovered that severe reproach forms involving personality attacks and derogatory aspects, elicit defensive reactions that result in negative interpersonal and emotional consequences. Narrative accounts based on McIntyre (1981) form the basis of moral and social events and as such, stories have two elements from which they are explored. They are explored firstly in the way in which they are told and secondly, on the way they are lived in the social context. These stories follow a historically or culturally based format and to this effect, Gergen (1994) suggested narrative criteria that constitute a historically contingent narrative form. Narrative forms are linguistic tools that have important social functions to satisfactorily fulfill such as stability narrative, progressive narrative and regressive narrative. According to Gergen (1994), self-narratives are social processes in which individuals are realized on the personal perspective or experience, and as such their emotions are viewed as constitutive features of relationship. The self-narratives used and analyzed in this study portray the contemporary culture-based elements or segments of a well-formed narrative.