Information-Eliciting Talk of Disastrous Stories via “at first I thought”
Based on the reports of 60 Chinese extraordinary disastrous events by mass media, the present paper investigates the use of contrastive discourse marker “at first I thought” by the survivors of the sudden disastrous events describing with conversation analysis. The research questions are as follows (1) what are people’s reactions to extraordinary disastrous events? (2) How do people describe their first reaction to a disaster in words? (3) What is the relationship between their first reaction and subsequent facts? The finding of current study is when disastrous event witnesses or survivors describe the sudden events, they hold the sense of nothing serious happened in their mentality, and adopt “At first I thought A, then I realized B” and its different variants to describe their first reactions. According to the data, the relationship between their first reaction and subsequent facts is as below: the collision between wrong first thought and correct reality; by using the immediacy markers, or credentials, one begins to identify the correctness of first thought; and naked reports of a catastrophic first thought can be used to describe the extraordinary disastrous events.