Successful collaboration begins with a shared language, hence the need for a glossary. This joint effort of contributors from several teams ensures, on the one hand, terminological and conceptual coherence across not only our theoretical approaches, but also the qualitative case studies and quantitative research conducted in OPPORTUNITIES. On the other hand, our glossary facilitates communication between the academic side of the project and the fieldwork conducted by NGOs, uniting our teams working from Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Ghana, Italy, Mauritania, the Netherlands, Portugal, Romania and Senegal.

For more information about the Structure and Objectives of the Glossary, click here...)

Tellability is a term from narrative research. Having its origins in conversational storytelling analysis, the concept “[refers] to features that make a story worth telling, its noteworthiness” (Baroni 2014, §1). In conversational scenarios a story’s reportability “is often negotiated and progressively co-constructed through discursive interaction” (Baroni 2014, §1). Generally, stories are considered to display a high degree of tellability if they have a “point”– that is, if storytellers judge these stories “worthy of being reported in specific contexts” (Baroni 2014, §1), for example because they depict events that are unexpected, newsworthy, or for some other reason significant to the storytellers and/or interlocutors. Stories with a low degree of tellability, by contrast, are often perceived as boring and irrelevant.

Foregrounding the “dark side of tellability” (Norrick 2005), linguistic work on conversational analysis has shown how stories can transgress the upper-bounding side of tellability if they present content that puts either the storyteller or the interlocutors in uncomfortable situations. In OPPORTUNITIES Cross Talk scenarios, the act of sharing migrant or refugee experiences may evoke traumatic memories or put storytellers in danger. Such circumstances not only raise ethical issues that deserve thoughtful consideration, but also lead to a ‘narrative dilemma.’

⇢ see also Migrant narrative, Stories of migrationNarrative dilemma

References and further reading:

Baroni, Raphaël. 2014. “Tellability.” In The Living Handbook of Narratology, edited by Peter Hühn, Jan Christoph Meister, John Pier, and Wolf Schmid. URL:

Norrick, Neal R. 2005. “The Dark Side of Tellability.” Narrative Inquiry 15.2: 323–342.

Category: A, B

Work Package: 2, 3, 5, 6, 7