Phrases in literary contexts: patterns and distributions of suspensions in Dickens’s novels
Mahlberg, Michaela and Smith, Catherine and Preston, Simon (2013) Phrases in literary contexts: patterns and distributions of suspensions in Dickens’s novels. International Journal of Corpus Linguistics, 18 (1). pp. 35-56. ISSN 1384-6655
Official URL: http://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/jbp/ijcl/2013/00000018/00000001/art00003?token=00591b8ab40da4975e37b76504c48663c707b234a6c5f7a514d3b6a332b257d7241255e4e6b6331944ce39bb5
This paper addresses relations between lexico-grammatical patterns and texts. Our focus is on a specific linguistic unit, the ‘suspended quotation’ (or ‘suspension’), which has received particular attention in Dickens studies. The suspended quotation refers to an interruption of a fictional character’s speech by the narrator with a sequence of at least five words. We show how corpus linguistic methods can help to systematically study suspensions in a corpus of Dickens’s novels: we investigate relationships between patterns of body language presentation and suspensions; we consider the distribution of suspensions across novels; and we illustrate how patterns in suspensions relate to meanings of reporting verbs. Overall, we argue that suspensions are discernible units that contribute to meaningful patterns in narrative prose.
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