The Narrative Structure Of Malaysian English
Narratives are used to tell stories, memories, daily activities, past experiences and a lot more. Narratives can be categorized into two categories which are the spoken narrative and the written narrative. Written narratives are the stories that have been documented and it is very well organized. However, spoken narratives are stories that have not been documented which are like legends, myths or even some of the histories. These undocumented stories are also being told through narratives. When a person tells a full story, his or her full formed narrative will have a structure. However, the structure of the narratives might be different depending on the culture and the language being used for the narratives. Hence, it will be interesting to find out whether the structure of the narratives will be the same across all languages and cultures.
According to Labov (1972), a fully-formed narrative may share the following:
Result or resolution
Labov had come out with a structure for the narrative in the English language. It was proven through the research done by Labov that the English language narrative will be structured in the sequence he had proposed. However, it is not documented whether the narrative structure of Labov will be applicable to the narratives of other varieties of languages. Malaysian English is a variety of the English language. This variety of language is considered unacceptable for some of the native speakers of Standard British English or even some language practitioners. Some people might say that Malaysian English is just “Broken English” but who is to say that Malaysian English is not a variety of the English language. According to Baskaran (2005), the phonology, syntax and lexis of Malaysian English are not entirely different from the Standard British English, but the linguistics level has been influenced by the local languages so much that it has been fossilized to be recognized as Malaysians. Since Malaysian English is a unique variety of the English language and it is uniquely Malaysians, it is not known whether the Malaysian English narratives will have the same structure as the Standard English as proposed by Labov. This is because the culture and language is different from the context of what had been done by Labov. Hence, it will be interesting to find out whether the Malaysian English narrative will have the same narrative structure as proposed by Labov or will it structured in a different way than what Labov had proposed.
The methodology used for this research is by recording and analyzing. Before the recording and the conversation started, the participants were informed that their conversation will be recorded and will be used for research purposes. After informing the participants, their consensus was acquired before we start the recording. Before the actual recording itself, we will tell the participants that this is not an interview and ask the participants to be as casual as possible. After that, we will just try to have a normal everyday conversation with the participants which has nothing to do with the data we are looking for. This conversation will last for the first few minutes before we guide the participants into the narrative. This is done to lower the affective filter of the participants so that as time pass by, they will tend to forget that they are being recorded and will speak with a casual language that they normally use. It is very important that they will speak casually because we are looking at the narratives of Malaysian English and this variety of language will only be spoken out by the participants if they feel comfortable and there is no need for formality. After the first few minutes have passed, we will begin to use several strategies to slowly guide the participants into the theme of the narrative we are looking at. After we got the data we wanted, we will transcribe
Findings and Analysis.
From our data, we found that narratives in Malaysian English generally follow the narrative structure proposed by Labov (1972) which stated that the overall structure of a narrative as below:
However, the narrative structure of Malaysian English deviates from Labov’s model with the rearrangement of the Evaluation aspect and the inclusion of an interesting aspect which is Rhetorical Questions. Therefore, we have deduced that narratives in Malaysian English follow the below structure:
Complicating Action [Evaluation]
4.1. The Abstract
As noted by Labov(1972), an abstract is a summary of the entire story in which the speaker is about to convey. It is usually enclosed within one or two clauses which tell the hearer the whole point of the story. In Malaysian English, this pattern could be seen as a strong recurring aspect in the Malaysian English narrative.
Extract 1(Transcription 1)
34 S2: ok lor there’s one more thing very piss me off, on the road I hate those people driving on the road especially in a slow err slow speed_low speed but on a fast lane this is a really make me piss off when you are in a hurry and purposely there’s a car in front of you blocking your way and you given flash and indicators all sorts of indicators you try to err how to say alert them that you wanted to be fast but they just ignore you…
In Extract 1, the speaker was making a summary of what his story was going to be about. In his narrative about the angriest moment of his life, he was making a point where he really dislikes slow drivers who drive on the fast lane of the road and how it frustrates him when his signals were ignored by the slow driver. His summary was brief and detailed as whatever he mentioned in his abstract were further elaborated in his narrative.
Extract 2(Transcription 2)
2 S2://huh, talking about server ar, my goodness<clenching fist>, in UTM server, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, kononnya <S3: LAUGH>, teknologi<narrowing eyes><(0.06)>feel like smacking it [S1:huh, why?] feel like smacking it man<hand hitting table>…
Extract 2 and Extract 1 shares the same features as both are brief summaries of their intended narrative. In Extract 2 , the speaker tells her hearers that she is frustrated with the servers in her university; this sets the precedent for her imminent story of how the servers failed her.
After the Abstract, the speaker does not need any prompting from his/her listeners to continue his/her narrative. In Malaysian English, this happens almost automatically. Both Extract 1 and 2 shares this pattern as immediately after the said Abstract was uttered, the speaker would divulge into the details of his/her story almost immediately.
Extract 3(Transcription 4)
12 S2: eh you remember the guy the Malay guy that I ever couple with, my ex eh?
26 S2: hah? hey, thee other day, i go through…
In Extract 3, the speaker begins her Abstract by asking her listeners whether they still remember her ex-boyfriend. From the conversation, it could be seen that she was not interested to know whether her friends still remembered her ex-boyfriend or not, she just wants to get her narrative known. Lines 13 to 25 were filled with confirmation checks by her friend to determine which one of her many ex-boyfriends she meant and it was clear that they do not remember him but, as Line 26 showed, she continued her narrative without having to explain how she came to know that ex-boyfriend of hers.
Extract 4 (Transcript 1)
41 S1: how about you then? Anything that particually ticks you off or makes you angry like this?
42 S3: attitude of people especially singaporean.
43 S1: hmmm now this is interesting any bad experience about them you would like to share or you just hate them? Like me i had my own_i had my very bad experience with them during my days in secret recipe i hate them//
44 S3: //same i have my days also that time i was working…
Sometimes, a speaker may just utter a single-word Abstract as what he intended to say was already mentioned by his listeners, causing his repetition of his Abstract redundant. As seen in Extract 4, the speaker gave a clause in Line 42 signaling his Abstract’s beginning as he gets ready to make it point that his narrative was about his bad experience with Singaporeans. However, his attempt was pre-empted by his listener who mentioned his bad experience with them. Thus, the speaker, realizing that it is redundant to repeat the notion of his ‘bad experience’, simply gave a one-word Abstract of ‘same’. His one-word Abstract is unique as this is the only transcription where the speaker’s intended Abstract was pre-empted by his listeners. To determine whether this feature is unique to Malaysian English, more data need to be collected. As for now, this remains as an interesting find of our analysis.
According to the analysis of narrative structure done by Labov, the Orientation is a feature which speakers use to set the time, place, persons, activity or the situation in which the narrative takes place (Labov, 1972). It is necessary for the speaker to set the context in which his/her story took place because without it, the narrative would be lost to the hearer as the story would not make any sense to anyone but the speaker. In Malaysian English, we found that the Orientation would be given almost immediately after the Abstract:
Extract 5 (Transcription 7)
32 S6: oh.angriest moment was <(0.3)> we didn’t we didn’t get any food for two weeks
33 S2: what?
34 S5: huh
35 S6: //during the pageant..yes
36 S1: ya
In Extract 5, the speaker’s Orientation appeared almost immediately after her Abstract in Line 6. She told her friends that her angriest moment was the time when she did not get food for two weeks, indirectly telling her friends ‘I’m going to talk about my angriest moment when I was given any food for two weeks’, but, none of her friends seemed to know exactly when the incident (shown in Lines 33 and 34) happened. To guide her friends, she gave the setting for her story, Line 25 and said that that incident happened during a beauty pageant. The same pattern could be seen across all of our transcriptions. This occurrence is unique to Malaysian English as we found that the placement of the Orientation will almost always be immediately after the Abstract. This is contrary to what Labov found in his study of African American Vernacular English in 1972, he found that it is theoretically possible for the Orientation to be placed at the beginning of the narrative but in practice, it would be placed where it would be the most strategic for the speaker’s narrative interest. Our findings indicated that in Malaysian English, Labov’s claim that it is only theoretically possible is proved wrong. Extract 3 shows this pattern as the speaker dived in to the Orientation directly after her Abstract of her narrative, after asking her friends whether they still remember her ex-boyfriend, she went straight to describing the situation which her ex-boyfriend made her very angry. More evidence could be seen in the below Extracts:-
Extract 6 (Transcription 5)
216 S1: ya, what happen, between that, person and you.
217 S3: if something like that hap.
218 S1: they cheat me, ah, there is there is one of my friend he ask me to to borrow him ah, five hundred ringgit, he said.
Extract 7 (Transcription 6)
196 S2: aihh don’t think of all the unhappy things lah, ohh ya i was saying, [S1: you want to say that.] actually not actually tss it’s not a secret, my friend told me not to tell everyone anyone, but i think if i i i i didn’t mention her name she’ all right, this friend she want to borrow money from me she wanted to borrow money from me but i didn’t do that i didn’t lend her the money ahhh, ahhh, she wanted to borrow money [S1: ur huh] from me, [S1: ur huh] to have to have an abortion.
197 S1: ohh, abortion.
198 S2: ya she was a, tss I think she was a teacher you know.
In Extract 6, the speaker summarized his narrative in this Abstract ‘they cheat me’ and gives the Orientation for his narrative to guide his listeners on who cheated him ‘there is one of my friend he ask me to to borrow him ah, five hundred ringgit’. Likewise in Extract 7 when she revealed the true purpose on why her friend asked her for a loan after she told her listener that her friend borrowed money from her.
Evaluation is the point where the speaker convinces his listeners that his narrative is worth listening to. This feature ultimately wards off the question of ‘So what?’ by the listeners and makes a point that the narrative is meaningful. Labov defined Evaluation as the most important feature of a narrative as it will provide a clear indication on whether the narrative is a personal experience or just a transfer of information. This corresponds with our findings as we found that Evaluation is part of the central focus of the narrative in Malaysian English and that it would usually occur in two places; in the middle of the Complicating action and/or before the Coda:-
Extract 8 (Transcription 1)
34 S2: ok lor there’s one more thing very piss me off, on the road i hate those people driving on the road especially in a slow err slow speed_low speed but on a fast lane that is a really make me piss off when you are in a hurry and purposely there’s a car in front of you blocking your way and you given flash and indicators all sorts of indicators you try to err how to say alert them that you are wanted to be fast but they just ignore you i_it happens to me once at pasir gudang happen before an old aunt_not an really old aunty is a lady in age around fifty in the fifties la driving in a err how to say fast lane just with err average speed of around seventy but meanwhile in pasir gudang highway you can go up limit up to ninety so <coughs> in this case i also did not violate the road laws and everything so i just giving indicators i flash him i flash her i flash i use horn everything no response and what i need to do is i have to go another way is i have to use the left lane where is for the slow cars to overtake this is what i hate mmalaysian and singapore drivers in <burps> on the road <picks up mug and drinks> because this one is really_a very rude thing as well if you will never know what the people behind are <coughs> in a why in a hurry condition perhaps they really have something urgent to to do so have to very fast and if you are the one who are blocking how would people feel and you put yourself into another people shoes what if that day you are in a hurry and somebody blocks your way what will you think? will you scold <eats pastry> scold until that fella (xx).
In Extract 8, the speaker made two Evaluations and it occurred at very different places in his narrative. He was describing his experience with a slow driver blocking his way but, after his Orientation, he began his Complicating Action (which will be explained later) but quickly switches to Evaluation when he said ‘but meanwhile in pasir gudang highway you can go up limit up to ninety so <coughs> in this case i also did not violate the road laws’. He broke away from his main narrative and made an external Evalution of his experience. He made another external Evalution after his Result by the suspending his audience with ‘because this one is very_a rude thing as well…’ clause right before his Coda. More occurances like this could be seen in the below Extracts:-
Extract 9 (Transcription 1)
44 S3: //same i have my days also that time i was working for err how to say a apparel company they came in during that time we had a promotion the shirt was two for hundred plus so we decide to give customer who wanted to buy one we would prefer them to err buy a second piece which is on a cheaper price divided err the price is being divided by two okay and she insist on buying one okay that’s customer choice we also won’t force her to buy a second piece if she doesn’t want but after that_err when she’s going to the counter to pay for the clothes how to say err she say oh can i buy err we have_we have already issue the reciept everything she had paid and suddenly she said err can i buy a second piece? and then we say you can_you cannot buy a second piece on the same reciept but you can buy another piece of shirt and then suddenly she said why i cannot buy? just now you all say buying err buy two shirt err you can cheaper price but the problem is we already issue the reciept the the the thing aleady went into the system so if we were have to issue another one <coughs> we would have to go the hassle to cancel the previous one and we might not have the time to do that because during that time was a sale or promotion so there’s a lot of customer and we are shorthanded so the way we introduce the customer the thing earlier but they wouldn’t accept after that_after they pay they only say they want a second piece but isn’t that riddiculus err even if err she like not err unhappy with it so sometimes their attitude is kind of tsk piss me off.
Extract 10 (Transcription 3)
20 S2: i think your yours one still ok ar, because hor_i mean, the only thing you are worry is that, they might be doing work slow or they might not do work, that is it,but you know, i my debate team hor i am really very very angry <eyes rolled> <shaking a fist>, the situation is much more worst, you know hor, my debate team hor, is like a team, you are_ you all are getting together and participate in competition, and, those that is _ didn’t do things hor, definitely they will quarrel ad one<(.07)> those who didn’t do work hor will create certain certain standard of problem ad one, but but hor, those hor, that will create problem is even worst <palm on face>, you know in competition, you tend to get frustrated the competition is just around the corner and you want to prepare the information la, you need to practice lah, you need to uh collaborate lah, you have to make sure that your speech is fluent and things like that
21 S1: uh huh
22 S2: and then_ yet hor, you have all these kinds of people hor <narrowing eyes>, not cooperating enough, especially team members lah, who tend to be lazy lah, and you know, have all these kind of problems ah
In Extract 9, the speaker was describing the day when a fussy customer made him angry by ignoring his recommendation and making a big fuss at the counter. He started his Complicating Action by saying ‘during that time we had a promotion the shirt was two for hundred plus so we decide to give customer…’ but, he interrupts his narrative halfway to make an external Evaluation by uttering ‘which is on a cheaper price divided err the price is being divided by two okay and…’. He did it again after his Result with ‘because during that time was a sale or promotion so there’s a lot of customer and we are shorthanded so the way we introduce the customer the thing earlier…’. The exact same pattern could be seen in Extract 10 when the speaker was trying to describe the angriest moment in her debate team. In her case, her external Evaluation came in when she barely begin her Complicating Action when she interrupts her own narrative with ‘my debate team hor, is like a team, you are_ you all are getting together and participate in competition, and’.
We think that this repetition of Evaluation is crucial as it may compliment a more important aspect unique to Malaysian English narrative, the Rhetorical Question; which will be explained in detail later. In line with what Labov found, the Evaluation would be the main indicator of whether the narrative is of a personal experience or it is just another person’s experience being spread through the word of mouth.
4.4. Complicating Action
This is perhaps the heart and the most important feature of a narrative: the Complicating Action. It is the main highlight of the narrative and it essentially carries the whole plot of the narrative. Without it, the speaker would not have a narrative to share. As this is the most important part of the narrative, it is obvious that all narratives should have something which resembles the Complicating Action. It is usually formed chronologically using narrative clauses and in Malaysian English, we found out earlier that it may be interrupted with an Evaluation. Examples are seen in the below extract:-
Extract 11 (Transcription 4)
54 S2: she didn’t recognize me. and then ah, i said “okay never mind. it’s okay you don’t recognize me, but i want to ask you one question. if tomorrow is your wedding day, supposed to be your wedding day lah, and then suddenly you find out that your husband to be having a scandal. what do you feel? how do you feel? what are you going to do?” and then she, quiet lah. and then i said “answer me lah.i want to know your answer now.” and then “why? why kakak?” i said
Extract 12 (Transcription 1)
125 S3: no and i heard before one of the semester our class err that particular subject our class our assignment how to say not everyone maybe few of us our assignment went missing and the lecturer didn’t inform us when we receive the result the result was quite bad so we went to see the lecturer and she say oh yourrr assigment went missing lah that’s why err your(sic) all get low marks and the err assignment we give err zero if you know the assignment already missing and why don’t you just call us inform us or anything or maybe we can redo or at least we do something else to err how to say err replace back the previous assignment but no she did not do that and because of that particular subject our cGPA drop few of us so that that’s also of the lecturer i quite furious about.
Extract 13 (Transcription 5)
220 S2: yes five hundred [S1: wow <S3 LAUGH>] ringgit, he say he he had something em emergency on because that th- that time he was still studying in ah Kuching he he’s doing his diploma course so, without asking further i just deposit my money into his account, [S1: wow] and, after a few months when i ask him to pay me back at least for just like ah not really much la i’m not asking that much la just like ah one month at least you pay me fifty ringgit okays but slowly by by by then you will will be able to finish ah settle the the the the the the the bill, but he he end up like, most of the time he give me the excuses like okay ah sorry i i okay tss, how should how should i say ah, it’s like, he always give me the excuses like, okay ah, this month my my my my my parents have some ahh financial problems so they cannot ahh deposit any money to me so sorry i cannot pay you okay can i pay next month so okay i keep on waiting waiting until now it’s, been, two two or three years already, [S1: umhh] ya, two or three years already.
Extracts 9, 10, 11 12 and 13 all showed features which indicates that the narrative contains the Complicating Action. Since the Complicating Action is basically a chronology of the plot, linkers such as ‘and then’, ‘so’, ‘after that’, ‘then’, ‘so’, ‘and’, ‘suddenly’ and many more. Constant repetition of these linkers is a signal that the narrative is progressing and that the speaker is moving the story forward. Sometimes, these linkers may also be used by the listeners to prompt the speaker to give more details about the narrative as seen in Extract14 below:-
Extract 14 (Trancription 7)
47 S6: if.. if we wanna..if we wanna eat [S2: ya lah] we pay ourselves
48 S5: you mean that
49 S6: //everything is supposed to be provided bah.
50 S4: ya la. ah.
51 S5: //then? is it? can complain one ma..
52 S6: we complained.
53 S5: but then?
54 S6: in the end we quit. that’s why i i left ..
In Extract 14, the speaker was constantly interrupted by her friends with linkers to prompt her to provide more information about her experience. Thus, the speaker is not the main driving force for moving the story forward, as this data had shown us, sometimes; the listeners are the one who drives the story instead of the speaker.
After the speaker reached the climax of his Complicating Action, a Result/Resolution would soon follow. This was, once again, predicted by Labov. However, this is not always true in the case of Malaysian English. As mentioned earlier, sometimes; an Evaluation would be given before the speaker told the Result of the narrative to the audience. This is to create an even more suspenseful atmosphere as at that point of the narrative; the listener would definitely want to know what finally happened. Should the Result be told, it would usually be said in one sentence. As seen in Extract 8, 9 and 12, the Results of the narrative were told in one sentence which basically ends the whole narrative abruptly. Unless the listeners prompt for more information, the speaker would proceed to another aspect of his narrative which carries more weight than the Result of his narrative; the Rhetorical Questions.
4.6. Rhetorical Questions.
This is perhaps the most unique feature in the Malaysian English narrative as Labov did not find the speaker’s questions at the end of his narrative meaningful. We have found that, in Malaysian English, the speaker would direct questions at his listeners which were not meant to be answered. It is merely a rant and usually the speaker would answer that question himself. This feature could be seen in Extract 8, 9 and 12 when the speakers of each extract asked ‘how would people feel and you put yourself into another people shoes what if that day you are in a hurry and somebody blocks your way what will you think? will you scold <eats pastry> scold until that fella (xx).’, ‘but isn’t that riddiculus err even if err she like not err unhappy with it’ and ‘if you know the assignment already missing and why don’t you just call us inform us or anything’. The most interesting thing is that the speaker seemed to be asking the Rhethorical Questions as if the listeners were the ones who made them angry in the first place as they used the personal pronoun of ‘you’ when they were asking their questions.
As unique as it is, its placement is somewhat unstable. Our data indicated that it can appear anywhere between the Complicating Action and the Coda of the narrative. Some were even placed at the very end of the narrative itself as seen in Extract 15 and 16 below:-
Extract 15 (Transcription 3)
40 S2: <(0.6)> ask him to do something <(.07)> complain <eyes rolled>, didn’t ask him to do something, say people lazy, i don’t know lah, what he is thinking lah <eyes rolled>, good loh in the end competition lost lo <(.06)> whose fault? aiyoh, whose fault?
Extract 16 (Transcription 4)
70 S2: i don’t know. she want to, he want to kikis that girl one thousand because that girl promised him want to give him one-k. i don’t know why, for what reason, but he said that stupid girl. “why you disturb my plan?” konon! and then after that, seriously, who don’t get angry? right?
However, there was one data which did not have this feature, Extract 16:-
Extract 17 (Transcription 5)
242 S2: i i still consider him as friend, but just, ah in terms of, i won’t, ask him come out for a drinks, ahh, if he say hi to me then i would reply if he don’t see me if he erh if he just pretend i’m invisible, i would just accept it, i would just go by, i don’t care about him. <(.08)>
As this is the only data which fell out of the pattern, we dug further and realized that this feature of Malaysian English narrative seeemed to revolve around the emotion of the speaker. All the other narratives we collected contained Rhethorical Questions except for the data in Transcription 5 but then we found out that the reason why the speaker did not ask any Rhethorical Questions in his earlier lines :-
Extract 18 (Transcription 5)
209 S2: last time, i did, but maybe because this time, sometime i just try to forget about it, because i believe if you keep that for too long it’s not good for yourself because as i believe in my religion we’re not suppose to hate, someone,// but if i, accidentally bumps into him or her i will just try to, not to recall back what has, what he or she has done on me, i just try to forget.
The speaker told his listeners in Extract 17 that he had already forgiven the person who cheated him and that it is not proper in his religion to harbour hatred to anyone. This ‘forgiveness’ aspect of the speaker was missing in all the other transcriptions we have done. In our data collection, we noticed that our participants seemed to be emotional and did not receive the emotional closure they needed for that particular incident. The feeling of hatred was still fresh in their hearts and thus, the need to vent out their frustration became a priority because they are recalling their moment of hatred as they were narrating their story. However, we can not establish a strong statement as we do not have sufficent data to prove this deduction of ours. Perhaps future research may shed some light into this interesting phenomenon.
The Coda is the free clause which is uttered by the speaker to indicate that he is done with his narrative. It signals the listeners that the narrative has reached a conclusion and there’s really nothing else worth mentioning. Below are a few examples of Codas we have found in Malaysian English narratives:-
Extract 19 (Transcription 1)
40 S2:… i think this one no need i go further beyond my err how to say explain all the thing but i guess you know [S1:hmm.] what will happen.
Extract 20 (Transcription 1)
125 S3:… so that that’s also of the lecturer i quite furious about.
Extract 21 (Transcription 7)
8 S6: so that was my angriest moment. they didn’t feed us
Extract 22 (Transcription 2)
91 S2:in the end i manage to get lah
Extract 19, 20, 21 and 22 showed the Coda as the end of the narrative. Unlike the one found Labov, Malaysian English’s Coda does not attempt to reconnect the past with the present, according to our available data that is. Whatever the speaker utters after the Coda would have no significant impact to the overall narrative structure and should the listener prompts for more information from the speaker, the speaker would often repeat the coda to further indicate that he is done with the narrative, observe Extract 23:-
Extract 23 (Transcription 1)
67 S3: true <puts mug down> but the customer has to treat the person everybody is a human being[S2: so everbody have the feeling.] human being_human we should treat everyone err how to say<chews pastry>equally do you think that you are rich you can bully or dispise other people? every human being are equal just that they are born in the rich family or poor family err in different country different native or religion anything basically human are equal in the eyes of god so no matter you are rich or you are poor be courtesy to others and if you treat others not very good nobody knows only one person will know which is god.
68 S1: sounds like you have a lot of this experience before[S3: everyday.] anything similar in your public bank life so far?
69 S3: <puts down mug> oh everyday[S1: everyday?]very very everyday.
70 S1: which one is the most worst one for you the one you really really really wish you could just go out and just blast at that fella?
71 S3: <(0.04)> as i said before those who are rich [S1:hmm.] rich people and they have really_they have some (oppurtinities) with public bank that’s the customer that i hate the most but not all lah some_some are quite nice even though they are rich but they are humble but mostly lah_mostly the rich one.
In Extract 23, the speaker actually indicated that his narrative has finished at Line 67 with the utterance ‘…only one person will know which is god.’. However, his listener seeked more information from him and since he had already finished his narrative and have no intention of repeating the whole narrative all over again, he uttered ‘as i said before…’ in Line 71 before paraphrasing his whole point of his Coda.
In conclusion, the Malaysian English narratives follow the structure proposed by Labov except for certain criteria below:
The existence of Rhetorical Questions in the narratives.
The Orientation happens immediately after the abstract.
In the narrative structure proposed by Labov, there was no mention of Rhetorical Questions in African American Vernacular English. In Malaysian English, the same pattern can be found throughout the narratives in which majority of the speakers will mark that their narratives are reaching the end with a Rhetorical Question. This is one of the structures that we have found that is unique to Malaysian English. At the same time, Labov (1972) also stated that the Orientation will occur at the beginning of the narrative theoretically but not practically. However, we have found that Malaysian English narratives placed the Orientation at the beginning of the narratives which will happen immediately after the abstract.
Hence, we can conclude that Malaysian English Narratives follow the narrative structure proposed by Labov but there are additional structures of the narratives which are uniquely Malaysian English.
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