Dissertation > Language, writing > FOREIGN > English > Grammar

A Functional Approach to Language Reports in English

Author GongZuoMin
Tutor XuRuMin
School Qufu Normal University
Course Foreign Linguistics and Applied Linguistics
Keywords Language report Functional perspective Free indirect discourse Free direct speech Medical English Reported language Grammatical form Halliday Quoted language Expression of ideas
CLC H314
Type Master's thesis
Year 2002
Downloads 305
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The ability of talking about language is one of the characteristics of human beings’ language, which can not be applied to other communicative systems. Language can be used in one conversation to refer to yet another conversation. No doubt, this way of reporting or quoting, which talks about either a faraway action by means of various tenses or a conversation that happened in another place, makes our language much more expressive and flexible.There are basically two ways of referring to an utterance in English: one is called quotation or direct speech and the other is called reported speech or indirect speech. Both of them are called language reports in this paper.Since 19th century, many scholars both at home and abroad began to study the phenomenon of language reports. Generally speaking, two categories of study can be found: one is literature-oriented and the other is grammar-oriented. Leech&Short and Quirk are the representatives respectively. The model of "speech and thought presentation" by Leech&Short (1981) has the advantage of being designed to cope with the analysis of real texts and of having to take into account any structures which appear to have the function of reporting language, whether or not they fall into the traditional "indirect/direct speech "categories. The main categories which Leech and Short set up are: (1) Narrative Report of Speech/Thought Act; (2) Indirect Speech/Thought; (3) Free Indirect Speech/Thought; (4) Direct Speech/Thought; (5) FreeDirect Speech/Thought.Quirk (1985), representing most traditional grammarians at that time, categorized language reporting into four groups: (1) Direct Speech; (2) Indirect Speech; (3) Free Direct Speech; and (4) Free Indirect Speech. He mainly focused on the mechanical transformations of direct speeches into indirect speeches.Compared with some traditional approaches, the Hallidayian functional approach to the analysis of language reports (Halliday used the word "projection" here) is functional and semantically-motivated. One of the important points is that the interpretation is focused on the verbal process and mental process, or between a mental or verbal process on the one hand, and another process of any kind that is projected by it on the other. Thus, it can be divided into two categories: locution and idea. The basic projection type is locution with parataxis and idea with hypotaxis.Although the Hallidayian interpretation is functional and semantic, it has its own shortcomings: (1) its categorization and terms used are mostly based on traditional rhetoric; (2) the range of language reports can be enlarged.From above, we see that the analysis of language reports has traditionally been of interest in the study of literature, or it has paid much attention to the transformations of sentence structures and some grammatical forms like pronouns, tenses, time adverbials, etc. So for the definition of language reports in this paper, I include as language reports any stretch of language where the speaker or writer signals in some way that another voice is entering the text, in however muffled or ambiguous a fashion. Such an approach involves including a number of uses of language which are not normally associated with "reported speech", but it follows logicallyVIfrom the attempt to apply a consistent set of functional criteria for the identification of language reports.This paper consists of six parts, including the introduction and the conclusion. The introduction talks about the universality of language reports and its significance of studying.Chapter 1 is the review of literature. It first summarizes the existing researches of language reports, which mainly include Quirk’s approach, Leech&Short’s approach, and Hallidayan approach. Then I state that these studies have their weak points. For example, they either confine their researches to grammatical rules or to certain genres of texts. And they could not deal with some issues as I listed in the beginning of chapter two.Chapter 2 is the main part of the paper,

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