Reporting Verbs as a Stylistic Device in the Creation of Fictional Personalities in Literary Texts

Pablo Ruano San Segundo

Abstract


This article presents an analysis of how reporting verbs can contribute to the creation of fictional personalities in literary texts. The examination of verbs was carried out using Caldas-Coulthard’s (1987) taxonomy, in which verbs are classified in self-contained categories according to the reporter’s level of mediation on the words glossed. The examples under analysis were all taken from Charles Dickens’s Nicholas Nickleby (1839). For the sake of consistency, I focused on one character, Ralph Nickleby, whose words are reported using twenty-six verbs a total of 501 times throughout the story. As will be shown, Dickens’s choice of verbs projects a specific way of speaking that triggers information about the villain’s personality, thereby contributing to shaping his well-known evil character. The analysis will also illustrate how reporting verbs can influence the way in which readers form an impression of characters on the basis of their ways of speaking during the course of a story.


Keywords: reporting verbs; fictional personalities; characterisation; Charles Dickens; Nicholas Nickleby; Ralph Nickleby


Full Text:

PDF

References


Biber, Douglas, Susan Conrad and Randi Reppen. 1998. Corpus Linguistics: Investigating Language Structure and Use. Cambridge: Cambridge UP.

Bray, Joe. 2014. “Speech and Thought Presentation in Stylistics.” In The Routledge Handbook of Corpus Linguistics, edited by Michael Burke, 222-236. London: Routledge.

Brook, George Leslie. 1970. The Language of Dickens. London: Andre Deutsch.

Brown, Gillian. 1990. Listening to Spoken English. London: Longman.

Brüngel-Dittrich, Melanie. 2005. Speech Presentation in the British and German Press. Berlin: Peter Lang.

Busse, Beatrix. 2010. Speech, Writing and Thought Presentation in a Corpus of Nineteenth-Century English Narrative Fiction. Bern: U of Bern P.

Caldas-Coulthard, Carmen Rosa. 1987. “Reported Speech in Written Narrative Texts.” In Discussing Discourse, edited by Malcom Coulthard, 149-167. Birmingham: U of Birmingham P.

—. 1988. “Reporting Interaction in Narrative: A Study of Speech Presentation in Written Discourse.” PhD diss., University of Birmingham.

—. 1994. “On Reporting Reporting: The Representation of Speech in Factual and Fictional Narratives.” In Advances in Written Text Analysis, edited by Malcom Coulthard, 295-308. London: Routledge.

Culpeper, Jonathan. 2001. Language and Characterisation. People in Plays and Other Texts. Harlow: Pearson Education.

Dickens, Charles. (1839) 2008. Nicholas Nickleby. Edited by Paul Schlicke. Oxford: Oxford UP.

Fido, Martin. 1968. Charles Dickens. London: Routledge.

Hawes, Donald. 2002. Who is Who in Dickens. London: Routledge.

Hori, Masahiro. 2004. Investigating Dickens’ Style: A Collocational Analysis. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

Hunston, Susan and Geoff Thompson. 2000. Evaluation in Text: Authorial Stance and the Construction of Discourse. Oxford: Oxford UP.

Kissine, Mikhail. 2010. “Metaphorical Projection, Subjectification and English Speech Act Verbs.” Folia Linguistica 44 (2): 339-370.

Klamer, Marian. 2000. “How Report Verbs Become Quote Markers and Complementisers.” Lingua 110: 69-98.

Lambert, Mark. 1981. Dickens and the Suspended Quotation. New Haven, CT: Yale UP.

Leech, Geoffrey. 1974. Semantics. Harmondsworth: Penguin.

Levin, Beth. 1993. English Verb Classes and Alternations. Chicago: U of Chicago P.

Mahlberg, Michaela. 2013. Corpus Stylistics and Dickens’s Fiction. London: Routledge.

Mahlberg, Michaela, Catherine Smith and Simon Preston. 2013. “Phrases in Literary Contexts: Patterns and Distributions of Suspensions in Dickens’s Novels.” International Journal of Corpus Linguistics 18 (1): 35-56.

Nishio, Miyuki. 2005. “The Reporting Clause in Oliver Twist.” Studies in Modern English 21: 39-68.

—. 2013. “Dickens’s Artistry of Reporting Verbs.” On-line Proceedings of the Annual Conference of the Poetics and Linguistics Association (PALA). [Accessed online on January 23, 2017].

Oncins-Martínez, José Luis. “A Corpus-Based View of Reporting Formulae in Dickens’ novels.” Lecture given at the Third International AELINCO Conference, Valencia, April 2011.

Page, Norman. 1973. Speech in the English Novel. London: Longman.

Patten, Robert. L. 2006. “Publishing in Parts.” In Palgrave Advances in Charles Dickens Studies, edited by John Bowen and Robert L. Patten, 11-47. Houndmills, Basingstoke: Palgrave MacMillan.

Quirk, Randolph. 1961. “Some Observations on the Language of Dickens.” A Review of English Literature 2: 19-28.

Ruano San Segundo, Pablo. 2016. “A Corpus-Stylistic Approach to Dickens’ Use of Speech Verbs: Beyond Mere Reporting.” Language and Literature 25 (2): 113-129.

Rudzka-Ostyn, Brygida. 1988. “Semantic Extensions into the Domain of Verbal Communication.” In Topics in Cognitive Linguistics, edited by Brygida Rudzka-Ostyn, 507-553. Amsterdam and Philadelphia John Benjamins.

Scott, Mike. 2016. WordSmith Tools. Version 7. Stroud: Lexical Analysis Software.

Semino, Elena and Mick Short. 2004. Corpus Stylistics: Speech, Writing and Thought Presentation in a Corpus of English Narratives. London: Routledge.

Sucksmith, Harvey Peter. 1970. The Narrative Art of Charles Dickens: The Rhetoric of Sympathy and Irony in his Novels. Oxford: Clarendon.

Urban, Margaret and Josef Ruppenhofer. 2001. “Shouting and Screaming: Manner and Noise Verbs in Communication.” Literary and Linguistic Computing 16 (1): 73-94.

Verschueren, Jef. 1980. On Speech Act Verbs. Amsterdam and Philadelphia: John Benjamins.

Wierzbicka, Anna. 1987. English Speech Act Verbs: A Semantic Dictionary. Sydney: Academic Press.

Zwicky, Arnold M. 1971. “In a Manner of Speaking.” Linguistic Inquiry 1 (1): 1–11.


Refbacks

  • There are currently no refbacks.


Atlantis. Journal of the Spanish Association for Anglo-American Studies
ISSN: 0210-6124 | e-ISSN: 1989-6840. © Atlantis/Aedean 2013.
Contact | Privacy Statement | Copyright notice | Journal Help| Site Map