October 17, 2012: Emar Maier (University of Groningen) — LUCL

We are very happy to announce that Emar Maier (University of Groningen) will be giving a LUSH talk entitled Quotation and Unquotation in Free Indirect Discourse.

Time: 15:15 – 17:00

Location:  LEIDEN, van Eyckhof 4, room 005


Beside direct and indirect discourse, a third mode of reporting speech and thought has emerged in fictional narratives, the so-called Free Indirect Discourse:

(1)   Ashley was lying in bed freaking out. Tomorrow was her six year anniversary with Spencer and it had been the best six years of her life.

The passage starts with a third person omniscient narrator telling us about a character named Ashley. The second sentence starts with the paradoxical future+past combination “tomorrow was”. From a narratological perspective, what’s happening is that the narrator reports what Ashley is thinking (“tomorrow is my six year anniversary”), without fully switching over to the character’s perspective in the form of a literal quotation. In fact, the adjustment of tense (“is” –> “was”) and pronouns (“my” –> “her”) to fit the narrator’s story telling context, strongly suggest that it must be of the indirect variety. But then where is the subordinating “She thought that”? And why not adjust other indexicals like “tomorrow” –> “the next day”?

I argue against the emerging consensus among the (few) semanticists that have studied this phenomenon, that FID involves interpretation with respect to a shifted context, either by a covert context shifting operator, or otherwise. Building on recent developments in the semantics of “mixed quotation”, I then propose that FID should be analyzed in terms of quotation and “unquotation”.


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