Dissertation > Language, writing > FOREIGN > English > Semantics,vocabulary,semantic

An Analysis of the Pragmatic Principles in Jane Austen’s Works

Author HuangRong
Tutor JiangPing
School Nanchang University
Course Foreign Linguistics and Applied Linguistics
Keywords Jane Austen pragmatic principle irony principle language style
CLC H313
Type Master's thesis
Year 2011
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Jane Austen’s works have captured the attention of many scholars for many years. Most of comments of Jane Austen’s works were written from the literary perspective, such as narrative voice, feminism, marriage and love view, and few were written from the perspective of pragmatics. The introduction of pragmatics brings new light to the study of language style of literary works. It provides language studies with not only a brand-new theoretical perspective but also feasible practical techniques. This research is intended to explore the pragmatic principles used in the works of Jane Austen, in the hope of finding a universal language style of all the Jane Austen’s six novels, including Northanger Abbey, Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility, Mansfield Park, Emma and Persuasion. It is in recent years that scholars start to study Jane Austin’s works in the light of conversation implicature, cooperation principle, politeness principle, irony principle, and other pragmatic theories.The methodology of this thesis is:firstly we have a review of the theory of pragmatic principles in order to find out the pragmatic principles employed in Jane Austen’s novels. Then, we choose one fifth of a sequential discourse of each novel for analyzing the possible pragmatic principles employed instead of the whole novel due to the limited time and space. And then, we investigate one fifth of each Jane Austen’s novel in English version, attempting to explore how the pragmatic principles are distributed in the text and what kind of language style Jane Austen intends to present to readers. Finally, we choose 28 representative typical examples to analyze what kind of pragmatic principles are employed and what features they are, combined with the author’s life experience and life changes.The thesis is composed of five parts. Chapter 1 briefly introduces why, what and how to do the present research as an overall framing of the whole thesis. Chapter 2 presents an extensive overview of previous studies at home and abroad of Jane Austen’s works in the light of pragmatic principles. Chapter 3 constructs a theoretical framework of pragmatic principles. It will include the theoretical background of the pragmatic principles. Chapter 4 is the focus of the thesis. This chapter attempts to explore how the pragmatic principles are distributed and what kind of language style Jane Austen intends to present to readers. Chapter 5 is the conclusion of the whole thesis, including major findings of the research, the significance of the research. limitations of the research as well as prospects for the future work in this field.By analyzing the pragmatic principle in the source text, we come to the following results:(1)Pragmatic principles are widely used by the writer, including the cooperative principle, politeness principle, face threatening principle, irony principle, banter principle and Pollyanna principle.(2)The irony principle is employed most frequently, followed successively by the cooperative principle. The banter principle ranks the third. The politeness principle ranks the fourth, with Pollyanna principle the last.(3)In irony principle, the realizations of irony principle are hyperbole, contradiction, irony, metaphor, personification, with the number of hyperbole, contradiction and irony dominating with the metaphor and personification.When exploring the pragmatic principles in Jane Austen’s works, we reach the following conclusions:1. It is feasible to study the language style of Jane Austen’s works from the perspective of pragmatic principles.2. There are two stages in Jane Austen’s writing style of her six novels. The first three novels Northanger Abbey, Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility, is the first stage, they are prone to be set in a light and humorous atmosphere to present the country life of the gentry. And the other three books is the other stage. The author becomes much stricter about the social order and the theme becomes complicated and severe.3. There is no intrinsic change of Jane Austen’s works in different periods, but Jane Austen intensifies the ironic tones in her last three novels. The reasons can be attributed to life change of Jane Austen, personal growth, combined with the change of view of marriage, love, gentry, and traditional old order of the country.

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