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Volume 12

The meeting ground of syntax and pragmatics

Frits Beukema

Pragmatics has obvious connections with other disciplines: linguistics, psychology, philosophy, anthropology and artificial intelligence. This paper studies the relationship between pragmatics and formal syntax, particularly with the present-day variant of generative grammar, the theory of Government and Binding. To this end, it discusses a number of recent proposals bearing of the trading relations of pragmatics and syntax.

 

 

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Lenguaje y discriminación genérica en libros de texto de inglés

Fernando Luis Cerezal Sierra

This paper presents the results of a statistical study on the representation of gender in English language textbooks for primary and secondary education in Spain. Current textbooks are shown to transmit sexist and discriminatory messages through their text and illustrations, with female characters being portrayed as subordinate to male ones in their character and social roles.

 

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Irony and ambiguity in the narrator of "A letter to three wives"

Celestino Deleyto Alcalá

This paper reads Joseph Mankiewicz's film A Letter to Three Wives (1948) as a reflexive work of art which evinces a self-conscious use of the conventions of film narrative. The modernist problematization of the classical text, resulting in irony and ambiguity, is analyzed through a narratological approach to such devices narration and plot construction, temporal structure, voice-over and focalization.

 

 

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Authorial intention in literary hermeneutics: on two american theories

José Angel García Landa

This paper discusses two influential American approaches to the interpretation of literature, the New Criticical doctrine of the "Intentional Fallacy" and E. D. Hirsch's theory of objective interpretation. The main focus is the status and role of authorial intention in interpretation. Both theories are criticised because of their methodological and institutional idealism. A more pragmatic and institutionally-conscious theory of interpretation is outlined. Objective interpretation and the construction of authorial intention are kept as regulative concepts, and truth is redefined as the production of intepretive truth-effects: the increased translatability between different disciplines or areas of knowledge articulated by a given critical project.

 

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Kubrick's Doctor Strangelove: the logic of spectacle

Luis Miguel García Mainar

The essay is an attempt to probe into the nature of cinematographic language and its specific effects on the workings of narrative texts. In "Introduction to the Structural Analysis of Narratives" Roland Barthes presented a concept of narrative activity that depended not on its mimetic function but on the inner logic that texts created by opening and closing semantic sequences. Kubrick's Dr. Strangelove is a cinematographic text which activates a great number of signifying structures that defamiliarise stylistic patterns in the attempt to satirise a nightmarish world. These defamiliarising strategies are revealed as essential constituents of a text that shows its main aim to be the production of spectacle. The essay argues that the consistent presence of these spectacular elements creates an inner logic of expectation comparable to the semantic one Barthes discusses in narratives. The text's efforts to produce a certain visual style, and the audience's recognition of it as an essential component of a genre, helps to expect the same tendency until the text's closure. Barthes's conviction that the essence of a literary narrative lies in its capacity to build up an artificial structure, independent of the mimetic side of the text, has to be altered when applied to films, where the inherent mimetic nature of the cinematic medium has to be acknowledged. In the case of films, their contents can create a visual logic parallel to the structural logic that arises from their arrangement, and sometimes this mimetic logic can even relegate the structural quest for meaning to a secondary place.

 

 

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The poetry of Robert Graves from the War to "The White Goddess"

Lucia Graves

The White Goddess was the central figure around which Graves's poetic forces rallied in mid-life, when he was at the peak of his intellectual and creative evolution, and filled the void left by his dissatisfaction with the society in which he lived. Graves used this figure to make sense not only of his own past, involving shell shock during the First World War and the intensity of his emotional relationships with women, but of human behaviour as a whole. In the figure of the White Goddess Graves found an explanation for his life-long fascination for the irrational elements of life, for the mysterious, the grotesque and even the cruel; an explanation, also, for his stubborn alienation from established attitudes to life and poetry, and from the patriarchal society in which he was educated. Poems like "The Survivor Comes Home," "The Pier Glass," "Full Moon" and "Midwinter Waking," among others, can be read as steps on the way to this spiritual interpretation of human life.

 

 

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Algunas claves lingüísticas y pragmáticas en la evolución de los pronombres de segunda persona en inglés: su uso en "Henry IV" (part I) y "Sons and lovers"

José Mateo Martínez

This paper describes the different potential for social interaction of the pronoun system in Early Modern English and in present-day Standard English. The second-person pronouns thou and you are shown to perform a wide range of pragmatic functions in Henry IV part 1, expressing and modulating the social rank of the interactants, their degree of intimacy and other emotional circumstances of the interaction. This expressive potentiality, which has been lost with the disappearance of thou forms in present-day Standard English, can still be recognized when a writer like D. H. Lawrence uses dialectal forms in his novels. Conversational excerpts from Sons and Lovers are analysed to show a similar range of expressive potential regarding social rank, intimacy and emotional involvement, this time through the contrast between dialectal forms and the pronoun system of Standard English.

 

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Colisiones terminológicas

Carmen Olivares Rivera

This paper discusses some issues related to scientific and technical terminology and its status in the humanities (more specifically in English studies). While terminological precision is a hallmark of scientific rigour and enhances the respectability of a discipline, an undue obsession with technical terms may result in verbalism and a pseudo-scientific approach to language and literature which neglects the dynamics of discourse. Accepting a degree of indeterminacy is a necessary condition in many cases; traditional terminology often performs a useful role as a metalanguage for metalanguage.

 

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Clausal and cohesive text-forming devices in Shakespeare's sonnet 20

Jesús M. Sánchez García

This paper basically follows Halliday's studies of linguistic cohesion and discourse where he distinguishes between the functions of Theme and Rheme, and Given and New, on the one hand, and those contributing to cohesion, on the other, in the creation of meaningful discourse, so valuable in the study and criticism of texts. We shall concentrate upon the linguistic cohesion of the poem (especially on Theme and Information) as the main contribution to its texture and a vehicle for the conveyance of its immediate meaning, which is closely related to the main pragmatic functions performed by the sonnet's participants. Our goal in this paper (that is, deconstructing the sonnet and finding out the various linguistic resources deployed by the poet in his process of composition) would ultimately serve the purpose of highlighting the workings of an unconscious process (whereby a reader decodes such resources appropriately when he reads) so as to become fully aware of it.

 

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