Special Topics: Language as Literature: Characters in Everyday Spoken Discourse

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The special topic calls for papers on Language as Literature: Characters in Everyday Spoken Discourse and such papers will appear in Studies in Literature and Language as a special column.

Affiliated research area: Action; Dialogue; Literariness; Meaning; Polyphony


There are several linguistic phenomena that, when examined closely, give evidence that people speak through characters, much like authors of literary works do, in everyday discourse. However, most approaches in linguistics and in the philosophy of language leave little theoretical room for the appearance of characters in discourse. In particular, there is no linguistic criterion found to date, which can mark precisely what stretch of discourse within an utterance belongs to a character, and to which character. And yet, without at least tentatively marking the division of labor between the different characters in an utterance, it is absolutely impossible to arrive at an acceptable interpretation of it. As an alternative, Sergeiy Sandler from Ben Gurion University of the Negev proposes to take character use seriously, as an essential feature of discourse in general, a feature speakers and listeners actively seek out in utterances. He offers a simple typology of actions in discourse that draws on this understanding, and demonstrate its usefulness for the analysis of a conversation transcript.


In addition to the Review and Original Articles by invited speakers, we are inviting you to submit a relevant research paper on Language as Literature: Characters in Everyday Spoken Discourse for consideration. Papers will be subject to normal peer review and must comply with the Guide for Authors.

To submit papers to the “Language as Literature: Characters in Everyday Spoken Discourse” Special Topic, please go to http://www.cscanada.net. With your submission, please state clearly to the editor that your manuscripts are submitted to the Special Topic Language as Literature: Characters in Everyday Spoken Discourse.


Related Journals (Special issue):

Studies in Literature and Language, ISSN 1923-1555 [Print]; ISSN 1923-1563 [Online]



Related Articles:

Bach, K. (2005). Context ex machina. In Z. G. Szabó (Ed.), Semantics vs. pragmatics (pp. 15–44). Oxford: Clarendon Press.

Bakhtin, M. M. (1981). Discourse in the novel. In M. M. Bakhtin, The dialogic imagination: four essays (pp. 259–422). Austin: University of Texas Press.

Bakhtin, M. M. (1984). Problems of Dostoevsky’s poetics. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.

Chafe, W. L. (1993). Prosodic and functional units of language. In J. A. Edwards, & M. D. Lampert (Eds.), Talking data: transcription and coding in discourse research (pp. 33–43). Hillsdale, NJ: Laurence Erlbaum Associates.

Coulson, S. & Fauconnier, G. (1999). Fake guns and stone lions: conceptual blending and privative adjectives. In B. Fox, D. Jurafsky, & L. Michaelis (Eds.) Cognition and function in language (pp. 143–158). Palo Alto, CA: CSLI.

Couper-Kuhlen, E. (1996). The prosody of repetition: on quoting and mimicry. In: E. Couper-Kuhlen, & M. Selting (eds.), Prosody in conversation: interactional studies (pp. 366–405). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Du Bois, J. W., & Englebretson, R. (2004). Santa Barbara corpus of spoken American English, part 3. Philadelphia: Linguistic Data Consortium.

Du Bois, J. W., & Englebretson, R. (2005). Santa Barbara corpus of spoken American English, part 4. Philadelphia: Linguistic Data Consortium.

Fauconnier, G. (1994). Mental spaces: aspects of meaning construction in natural language. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Fauconnier, G., & Turner, M. (2002). The way we think: conceptual blending and the mind’s hidden complexities. New York: Basic Books.

Grice, H.P. (1989). Studies in the way of words, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Pascual, E. (2002). Imaginary trialogues: conceptual blending and fictive interaction in criminal courts. Utrecht: LOT.