| Literary Stylistics:
Workshop Notes no. 20
Paragraphing is important in determining the speaker in DS or FDS, as each speaker is normally given an individual paragraph. To a certain extent also, paragraphing may help us to determine the thinker in thought presentation, especially when we are certain that there are instances of FDT or FIT in the text but are not sure who the thinker is. In this case, the speaker or thinker indicated in the first sentence of the paragraph in which the FDT or FIT occurs, is the likely thinker or experiencer of the FDT or FIT.
The first sentence of the paragraph can be considered as the paragraph theme in the analysis of the agency of speech and thought. The conception of theme, of course, is connected to given information (below).
Given information in general may be important. We have encountered this notion in section 1) above: an indication of who says or who thinks found in an earlier sentence or clause need not be repeated in the sentences or clauses which are immediately subsequent to the earlier one, as it is assumed by the reader or analyst that the sayer or thinker remains the same. This consideration is especially crucial in locating the agency of speech and thought in the 'free' versions of discourse.
Given information is of course usually connected to the theme, whereas new information is located in the rheme. Themes have been regarded (for example by Peter Fries), as having a close connection to the 'point of view' of the clause that it is associated it. We can see here that there are grammatical reasons for the analysis of point of view, which as you know, has a close connection to speech and thought presentation.
Tense is important in telling us about the time that the agent says or thinks, relative to the present of the narrative: i.e. past, present or future to the scene being described, or, past or present to the narrator's act of narration. If the present (or future) tense is used in the language of the narrator which primarily uses the past tense, this is usually a good indicator that the (free) direct speech of a character has intruded into the narrator's language.
Tense is a feature of mood and modality. As such, it may not only indicate time past, present or future, but also, whether the clause that makes use of the tense has or has not occurred within the fictional world of the narrative or the real world. In other words, whether the event is 'real' or imaginary in the fictional world. For example, the use of the present tense by the third person narrator in a narrative that uses the past tense may indicate that the event described has not occurred within the fictional world and is speculative or wishful. The event is thus connected to a judgment of what should be, but so far, within the narrative world, is not the case. It may, of course, otherwise indicate that the speech or thought of a character has intervened.
It is expected that the third person narrator uses the declarative mood. If the imperative, interrogative or other non-declarative moods are used, one suspects (although this may not be invariably the case) that the speech or thought of a character or characters has intervened.
Mood, of course, is part of mood & modality and looks at the arrangement of the subject and finite elements of the clause. In addition to this grammatical feature, you may also be interested in its connection to the interpersonal metafunction.
The modal auxiliaries may indicate that speech
or thought could or should have happened, but has not actually
1. He could have said that he was innocent.
2. They should have thought that killing a man who might later be proved innocent was not the right thing to do.
The modal auxiliaries are called modal operators in Halliday's grammar. This is merely a terminological difference, although the usage of the term does seem to imply a stronger emphasis on the relationship of the verb with its subject. The systemic interpretation is in line with what is indicated above, but there are certainly more possibilities of analysis, such as the attitudes towards, or judgment of, what is being spoken or thought.
Some adverbials may indicate that speech or
thought has actually or possibly not occurred:
3. They almost said that the man was not responsible for the murder when the police shot him.
[speech has not occurred], or
4. He possibly thought that he was the man.
[he might or might not have thought].
It must be stated here however, that adverbials sometimes do indicate that speech and thought have occurred; indeed, they may indicate the certainty of their occurrence: eg.
5. He definitely thought that he was the man.
The adverbials indicated above are modal adjuncts, and so it is appropriate to extend the discussion here to mood and modality in general. In many cases, features of mood and modality in third person narratives may indicate the judgmental nature of the clause. The judgmental nature of the clause may thus be linked to the point-of-view, and hence to the speech or thought, of a character or characters within the story, and not completely to the point-of-view of the narrator (although, in some cases, we may have a highly judgmental third-person narrator, as in Katherine Mansfield's stories). Other features of mood and modality when found in a clause, such as the presence of the modal operators, modal adjuncts, or negative polarity may also indicate the judgmental nature of the clause, which may thus be possibly (but not invariably) linked to the speech or thought of a character of characters within the story.
In some cases, features of mood or modality may indicate the actual or possible non-occurrence of speech and thought in relation to a particular proposition. For example, negative polarity indicates that the speech or thought which the polar negative element qualifies, has not occurred: 'I did not say that he was guilty', 'He did not himself think that he was innocent'. The use of negative polarity may not however, be so simple when it comes to interpretation, as one may ponder about the implicit reason for the denial of the proposition from an interpersonal perspective.
You may have noticed that a verb that denotes speech or
thought may serve the function of linking the clause which contains the
verb to another clause. Thus the clause containing the verb indicates the
person who speaks or thinks, while the clause that is initiated by the
verb indicates the content of the speech or thought. These mental
and speech verbs are crucial to direct and indirect speech and thought.
Without them, direct and indirect speech and thought are not possible.
6. He said, "I am going to the market."
7. He said that he was going to the market.
8. He thought, "I am going to the market."
9. He thought that he was going to the market.
As you know, these verbs are verbal and mental processes in transitivity analysis in SFG and, as noted above, they are crucial to speech and thought presentation. One feature of such verbs is their ability to project clauses. Thus verbal processes project locution, whilst mental processes project thought. As you know, if verbal or mental processes project subordinate 'that'-clauses (for clauses whose 'direct' counterparts are in the declarative mood*), the construction is hypotactic, and if they project independent clauses enclosed in inverted commas, it is paratactic.
As mentioned above, some mental and speech verbs may
have a relationship with other clauses, and that the clause that includes
the person who says or thinks initiates the clause that indicates the
content of the speech or thought. Thus technically, the clause that
indicates the speaker or thinker is the primary clause, whereas the clause
that indicates the content is the secondary clause. This relationship may
manifest itself as a relationship between main and subordinate
clauses, as is the case with indirect speech and thought:
10. He declared that the race was lost.
Main clause | Subordinate clause
11. He surmised that the race was lost.
Main clause | Subordinate clause
However, this relationship is not that of main and subordinate clauses when it comes to direct speech and thought, but more a coordinate correlation, although the terms primary clause and secondary clause may still be used:
12. He declared, "the race was lost."
Primary clause | Secondary clause
13. He surmised, "the race was lost."
Primary clause | Secondary clause
Informally, you may want to think of the relationship between the primary and secondary clauses in terms of the speaker or thinker clause on the one hand, and the content clause on the other. The speaker or thinker clause can also be called the reporter clause and the content clause, the report clause.
The terms primary and secondary clauses are used in systemic grammar. As you can see above, it does simplify the discussion on the clauses in direct and indirect discourse, largely by highlighting the similarities between clauses, even though they belong to two different sets of clausal arrangements.
In direct speech and thought, the
positions of the reporter clause and the report clause are
flexible. The report clause need not necessarily follow the reporter
clause. Instead of the clause arrangements presented in sentences 12
and 13 above, the following arrangements are also possible:
14. "The race was lost," he declared.
15. "The race was lost," he surmised.
However, the rearrangements in 14 and 15, if applied to indirect speech and thought, are either not grammatically acceptable, or result in a change of the speech or thought categories. The following arrangements, with the subordinate conjunction intact, are not grammatically acceptable, even after adding a comma before the reporter clause in each instance:
16. That the race was lost, he declared.
17. That the race was lost, he surmised.
In direct speech and thought, it is even possible for the reporter clause to be placed somewhere in the middle:
18. '"I am going", he said, "to the market"'.
19. '"I am going", he thought, "to the market"'.
At this point, we may want to revise some points with reference to the possibilities of the inversion of the clauses of a clause complex of the projection type (which was dealt with in the workshop notes on clause complexing). We may note here that the non-inversion of paratactic elements also applies to projected constructions: i.e. 2^1 is still not possible, even though the projected clause can go before the projecting clause in parataxis: i.e. the sentences in 14 and 15 above are acceptable constructions. Symbolic representations of the clause complexes above however, are still ''1^2, and not ''2^1 for 14, and similarly, '1^2, and not '2^1 for 15. I.e., the first clause is still the primary clause, even if it is the projected clause, and the second clause is still the secondary clause, even if it is the projecting clause (for the symbolic representation of this and the other examples above, see pp. 228-30, 250-1, 445-6 of Halliday's Introduction). Another possibility in paratactic projection, is the inclusion of the primary clause in the secondary clause: eg. in 18 and 19 above. The symbolic representations of this construction are ''1<2> not ''2<1> for 18 and '1<2> not '2<1> for 19, even though the clause complex in each instance actually starts with the projected clause. It is clear that one indicates the projected clause not through the number '2' (which is reserved for the physical or textual second clause in a paratactic construction), but through quotation marks.
It may be argued that the subordinate conjunction in indirect
speech and thought can be deleted, such as the
conjunction 'that' in the following:
20. He declared the race was lost.
21. He surmised the race was lost.
If this is done, the following rearrangements look legitimate:
22. The race was lost, he declared.
23. The race was lost, he surmised.
However, the above have ceased to be straightforward examples of indirect speech and thought. Sentence 22 is an example of free indirect speech and sentence 23 is an example of free indirect thought.
With reference to hypotactic projection (i.e. indirect speech and thought), left-branched and mid-branched constructions, unlike in hypotactic expansion, are not usually possible. In other words, it is usually the case that the dependent clauses in 20 and 21 can neither be fronted, nor inserted in the middle of their respective primary clauses without losing their hypotactic character. As we have noted in the previous workshop notes (and in the earlier workshop on clause complexing), the fronting of the dependent clause through that-deletion actually changes the construction from a hypotactic to a paratactic one, and hence converts the speech or thought presentation from indirect to free indirect, as in 22 and 23 (because the 'that' conjunction necessary for the indirect versions of declarative clauses cannot be inserted at the beginning of the sentence; see Halliday's table 7(12)).
There are instances where the speaker clause or
the thinker clause is missing:
24. "The race was lost."
The clue as to who is saying or thinking the above is usually available earlier in the text where the sentence is found. The reason why the reporter clause is not indicated is that it has been indicated in an earlier sentence, and is therefore understood, and unnecessary repetitiveness is avoided by deleting it. However, the above is not a true example of direct speech or direct thought, but an example of free direct speech or free direct thought. Whether it is an example of free direct speech or free direct thought depends on the clue or clues given earlier in the text: i.e., clues as to whether someone is saying it or thinking about it.
The missing reporter clause in free direct discourse does not appear to have been treated sufficiently in SFG literature. In relation to cohesion, the above is clearly a case of ellipsis, where a clause is taken out because it is understood, and need not be repeated. Such a clause can be represented with the 'Ø' symbol; i.e. for 24 above: Ø^"1. Or, if you want to spell out the words in the sentence:
||| [Ø: He declared,] || 1: "The race was lost." |||
One question that may bother some of you in practical
analysis (although this may not be an apparent problem in theory), is
whether indirect discourse is possible in a simple sentence. The
answer of course, is that grammatically speaking, it is possible only in a
complex sentence. For example, the following is not IT but NRTA
25. John thought about the man.
The above is NRTA instead of IT not only because it is not clear what John's exact thought about the man was, but also because, grammatically speaking, 'about the man' is a phrase and not a clause. However, the 'about' preposition may also initiate a clause with a non-finite verb instead of a phrase, and this may create some problems for our analysis: for example,
26. He said about going to the market.
We may note here that the reporting of what is exactly being said is rather imprecise, and hence the sentence appears to be more inclined towards NRSA rather than IS. We may also note that in the strict grammatical sense, indirect speech involves the conversion of the exact clause uttered by the speaker into its reported equivalent.
However, it may be possible to have examples of direct speech where the projected clause is a minor clause, especially if the clause is incomplete due to ellipsis, as in
27. He asked, "Why?"
The conversion of such a clause to its indirect equivalent involves the retrieval of the elliptical element(s) which will make the reported clause grammatically complete. For instance, the elliptical element in the DS clause complex just mentioned is
28. ...he does not want to go.
If the phrase in 28 is the missing element in 27, then the IS equivalent of sentence 27 is,
29. He asked him why he did not want to go.
Otherwise, we are dealing with NRSA rather than IS.
A clause complex must be present before direct or indirect speech or thought could be analysed . This consideration can also be applied to the free versions of these categories, where, if elliptical clauses are in operation, it is helpful to retrieve them in analysis. A clause simplex therefore, cannot be an example of direct or indirect speech or thought, whether conventional or 'free', unless (if it is a free version of direct and indirect discourse) an elliptical projecting clause can be retrieved, in which case, it is only a clause simplex on the surface. However, if no elliptical elements can be retrieved, then it is likely, if the clause represents speech or thought, that it is an example of NRTA or NRSA.
Orthographic indicators, as you may know, may be quite
crucial in speech and thought presentation. The deletion of the quotation
marks in DS for example, immediately converts what is supposed to be DS to
FDS; sentence 30 below is no longer DS, but FDS:
30. He said, I am going to the market.
On the surface, the above may appear to display a problem of tense usage, and is usually avoided in more orthodox English usage. However, constructions like the above do occur in speech and thought presentation in literary works.
Orthographic indicators are important in SFG. After all, a sentence is regarded as an orthographic unit in this approach, but this does not mean that it does not have grammatical consequence. In fact, the clause complex itself depends on the boundaries of the sentence, even though the latter is not a grammatical unit. Similarly with DS, which needs the quotation marks in order for it to be recognised as such, and which can only be gramamtically analysed as DS if the quotation marks are present.
* The conversion to an indirect construction for polar interrogatives, WH interrogatives, exclamatives, and imperatives may clearly involve subordinate conjunctions other than 'that': eg. 'whether' or 'if' for polar interrogatives, a wh- element for WH-interrogatives (or for WH-interrogatives with the pragmatic force of a command, the conversion to a non-finite dependent clause), the use of 'that' or the appropriate WH-element for exclamatives, and the conversion to a non-finite dependent clause usually initiated by 'to' for imperatives. In addition to grammatical mood, pragmatic force (a term which I mentioned in parentheses above, and which you may encounter again later this term), may also play a part in the use of the appropriate subordinate conjunction, or the conversion of the reported clause to a non-finite instead of a finite construction. In relation to the use of the 'to'-infinitive clause for the reported clause in indirect discourse, you may also find Halliday's distinction between propositions (consequential use of finite 'that'-clauses in indirect discourse) and proposals (consequential use of non-finite 'to'-clauses in indirect discourse) to be useful (see table 7(11)) in Halliday's Introduction). Back to earlier position in the text
Texts to Analyse
Extract from Hemingway's For Whom the Bell
Extract from Woolf's Mrs Dalloway
Extract from D. H. Lawrence's Sons and Lovers
Click here for the notes for the next workshop.
Click here for the notes for the previous workshop.
© Ismail S. Talib 1996-2017.