The Semantics of Free Indirect Discourse
Regine Eckardt, University of Göttingen
Free indirect discourse presents us with the inner world of protagonists of a story. We seem to see the world through their eyes, and listen to their inner thoughts. The present study analyses the logic of free indirect discourse and offers a framework to represent multiple ways in which words betray the speaker's feelings and attitude. The theory covers tense, aspect, temporal indexicals, modal particles, exclamatives and other expressive elements and their dependence on shifting utterance contexts. It traces the subtle ways in which story texts can offer information about protagonists.
The study of free indirect discourse has been a topic of great interest in recent years in semantics and pragmatics. In this book, Regine Eckardt proposes a new theory of this domain and applies it to a wide variety of phenomena -- discourse particles, exclamatives, and mood -- in addition to the traditional indexical pronouns and tenses. She situates this project within a larger attempt to extend the tools of semantic analysis to fiction. Most formally oriented semanticists have not paid serious attention to this domain, which has resulted in a major gap in semantic theory; this book is thus a pioneering effort and raises many intriguing points. The total result is an empirically rich and exciting work which will be a profitable read for researchers interested in semantics, pragmatics, and formal approaches to literature. Eric McCready, Aoyama Gakuin University