The analysis of the grammar of literary texts is a very interesting issue and has been variously debated both by linguists and by experts of literature. The question is important because it tackles the interaction between human creativity and human cognition . The basic question concerns the constraints that might be posed to artistic expression by the properties of the cognitive system, and by Universal Grammar in particular. The general issue might be expressed as follows: Is literary expression free from any grammatical constraint? And if not, in what way does grammar limit the possibilities available for a narrator? The thesis I will develop in this chapter is that language always complies with the rules of grammar. Namely, even if there is a certain degree of freedom in the choice of a particular narrative style, the possibilities are always to be individuated inside the grammatical set of options. In other words, the grammar adopted by a narrator using a certain literary style is the same as the grammar accounting for any normal sentence. In this chapter I show that the peculiar flavor of a literary style such as free indirect discourse— henceforth, FID— is due to a slightly different setting of the value of certain parameters— such as the choice of temporal and spatial coordinates relevant for the interpretation of the events in the narration with respect to non-FID sentences. Crucially, however, the grammar describing and accounting for the phenomena of non-literary, “ normal,” sentences, also accounts for the properties of the FID. I will additionally show that cross-linguistic comparison is a crucial step towards a theoretical account of these structures.

Free Indirect Discourse and the Syntax of the left periphery

GIORGI, Alessandra
2015

Abstract

The analysis of the grammar of literary texts is a very interesting issue and has been variously debated both by linguists and by experts of literature. The question is important because it tackles the interaction between human creativity and human cognition . The basic question concerns the constraints that might be posed to artistic expression by the properties of the cognitive system, and by Universal Grammar in particular. The general issue might be expressed as follows: Is literary expression free from any grammatical constraint? And if not, in what way does grammar limit the possibilities available for a narrator? The thesis I will develop in this chapter is that language always complies with the rules of grammar. Namely, even if there is a certain degree of freedom in the choice of a particular narrative style, the possibilities are always to be individuated inside the grammatical set of options. In other words, the grammar adopted by a narrator using a certain literary style is the same as the grammar accounting for any normal sentence. In this chapter I show that the peculiar flavor of a literary style such as free indirect discourse— henceforth, FID— is due to a slightly different setting of the value of certain parameters— such as the choice of temporal and spatial coordinates relevant for the interpretation of the events in the narration with respect to non-FID sentences. Crucially, however, the grammar describing and accounting for the phenomena of non-literary, “ normal,” sentences, also accounts for the properties of the FID. I will additionally show that cross-linguistic comparison is a crucial step towards a theoretical account of these structures.
Sentence and Discourse
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/10278/3666210
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