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Abstract

This article offers a discussion of two books by British women which describe travels in Spain during the post-war period, that is, during the dictatorship of General Franco. The aim is to analyse how Spanish culture and society are represented in these texts, and to what extent the authors engage with questions of the ethics of travelling to Spain in this period. Two different forms of travel - by car, and by horse - also influence the way the travellers can connect with local people; and the individual’s interest in Spain as a historical site, or as a timeless escape from industrial northern Europe, similarly affect the focus of the accounts. The global politics of travel writing, and the distinction between colonial and cosmopolitan travel writers, are important elements in our understanding of the way a foreign culture is articulated for the home market. Women’s travel writing also has its own discursive history which we consider briefly. In conclusion, texts involve common discursive and linguistic strategies which have to negotiate the specificity of an individual’s travels in a particular time and place. The authors and books referred to are Rose Macaulay’s Fabled Shore: From the Pyrenees to Portugal (1949) and Penelope Chetwode’s Two Middle-Aged Ladies in Andalusia (1963).

Abstract

In late Old English it became common to find strange verb forms of which had less frequently appeared in earlier texts. It is clear that Old English paradigms started to modify their shapes, though their structure had never been completely established in the first place due to limited data. This article discusses some examples of Old English verbs which show a morphological merger in addition to phonetic, syntactic, or semantic resemblance, e.g., between wendan and gewendan, þyncan and þencan, læran and leornian, (ge)witan and (ge)wītan, blissian and bletsian, and biddan, (be)beodan, and forbeodan, so as to show the natural selection of Old English verbs in the process of lexical conflict.

Abstract

This paper is a case study examining the choice and interaction of stylistic devices employed in The Schoole of Vertue, Francis Segar and Robert Crowley’s manual of good manners for children issued between 1582 and 1687. It was designed to convince its readers that particular patterns of behaviour were socially beneficial and worth following. In order to enhance the attractiveness, persuasiveness, and mnemonic qualities of the text, several stylistic devices are employed in the manual, including, for example, rhymes, acronyms, as well as binomials. It is generally agreed that repetitive patterns (especially binomials) are typical of formal registers, and particularly plentiful in legal and literary texts in Early Modern English, but the present study shows that similar rhetorical devices were also readily employed in the less formal and elevated style of manuals of good behaviour. Another rhetorical device frequently used in the manual under consideration consists in addressing the reader directly with the second person singular pronoun, especially in imperative constructions, thus creating an ambiance of emotional closeness, characterising the relationship between the master and the pupil.

Abstract

John Wilkins’s Mercury or the Secret and Swift Messenger: Showing How a Man May with Privacy and Speed Communicate His Thoughts to a Friend at Any Distance was first published in 1641. As a book on cryptography presenting a variety of secret means of communication at a distance it seems to have appeared at just the right time, when the biblical curse of the confusion of tongues was doubled by the curse of political confusion on the brink of the English civil war. However, the book seems to be more than just a detailed account of methods of secret writing; its topic gives the author a chance to present his views on language which he would later develop in his life’s work An Essay towards Real Character and a Philosophical Language published in 1668. The Essay had received much greater critical attention than the early pamphlet, which is usually referred to as merely a prelude to an account of his universal language project. Indeed, in the little book on cryptography, Wilkins already demonstrated his awareness of the conventional character of language and its role within the system of human interactions, as well as advertised a project of philosophical language that would enhance communication between all nations and remedy the curse of Babel. The aim of this paper is to demonstrate that the value of the pamphlet lies also in the insight that it gives into the seventeenth-century debates on the nature of language and into arguments which were often provided, in equal measure, by theology, Hermetic lore, mythology, literature and early modern science. Wilkins’s meticulous recording of the contradictory views and propositions on language produces a sense of methodological inconsistency that leads to ambiguities and paradoxes. However, in the medley of concepts and the collection of linguistic “curiosities” that Mercury presents, a careful reader will discern the growing mistrust of language as a means of representing reality and as a foundation of knowledge, which was one of the symptoms of the general crisis of representation leading to an epistemological shift that started in the seventeenth century.

Abstract1

This paper explores the dynamics of the textual-visual interface of a medieval manuscript page within the frameworks of historical pragmatics and pragmaphilological approaches to the study of historical texts. Whilst the former focuses on the contexts in which historical utterances, manifested as texts, occur (Jacobs & Jucker 1995: 11), the latter involves a context-based perspective in the study of individual historical texts (Jucker 2000: 91). Combining the two approaches allows for a more comprehensive study of the “visual text” (cf. Machan 2011) than has been possible for paleographic, codicological, or linguistic analyses of medieval manuscripts. The present paper adopts the “pragmatics-on-the-page” approach (cf. Carroll et al. 2013, Peikola et al. 2014) in its analysis of bibliographic codes in British Library Royal MS 18 D II, which contains the texts of Lydgate’s Troy Book and Siege of Thebes. Such visual elements of the manuscript page as mise en page, ink colour, as well as type and size of script will be examined as pragmatic markers, functioning on three levels of meaning: textual, interactional, and metalinguistic (cf. Erman 2001, Carroll et al. 2013), and providing (visual) contexts for interpreting the linguistic message of the text.

Abstract

The analysis of obligatory or formulaic XVS structures - as in “Here comes the sun” or “Now is the time to solve our problems” - has been neglected in the literature since it has been argued that there seems to be no linguistic variation involved in the use of these types of syntactic constructions. Here, I defend the view that obligatory XVS structures are productive, highly structured constructions which are worthy of serious linguistic investigation. On the basis of a corpus-based analysis of written and spoken texts, it is argued that the different obligatory XVS types distinguished in the literature are clear instances of constructions as understood in the Construction Grammar framework. Despite their formal and functional dissimilarities, the article shows that these XVS structures still relate to one another in systematic and predictable ways, and are in fact grouped in relation to a unit in the schematic network which is naturally most salient - the prototype - and form with it a family of nodes which are extensions from the prototype - in the system. In sum, the analysis here will show that obligatory XVS structures are constructions which form an interconnected, structured system or network and are best understood with reference to different forms of inheritance.

Abstract

The Kościuszko Foundation Dictionary (KFD)1, the only bilingual dictionary between Polish and American English, first came out in 1959 (English-Polish volume) and 1961 (Polish-English volume). Between then and 1995, it was reprinted fourteen times, with the content completely intact. In 2003, The New Kosciuszko Foundation Dictionary (NKFD1) finally appeared, in two printed volumes accompanied by a CD. Originally intended as a straightforward update of KFD, it ended up being closer to a brand new dictionary, linked with its predecessor mainly through the title - a consequence of the continuing patronage of The Kosciuszko Foundation - and through its focus on American English. With around 133,000 main entries, it was, at the time of publication, the most comprehensive English-Polish, Polish-English dictionary in existence. A new, revised and enlarged edition (NKFD2) is about to be published soon, this time exclusively in digital form. Having been involved in the latter two projects - respectively, as editor of the English-Polish volume and editor-in-chief - the author examines the development of the dictionary, tracing the continuity and change in its three successive incarnations.

Abstract

After his death in 2012, there has been a notable resurgence of both popular and critical interest in the fiction of American writer Harry Crews. Frequently discussed in the context of Southern gothic, Crews’s novels are notable for their grim and darkly funny tales of life among the rural poor in the worst hookworm and rickets part of Georgia, USA. Still, while the regional identity of Crews’s fiction is strong, his subtle and deeply sympathetic creative imagination tackles questions of universal significance.

In the novel A Feast of Snakes (1976), Crews’s finest and most multi-layered work, we are introduced to former high-school football quarterback Joe Lon Mackey on the eve of Mystic, Georgia’s annual Rattlesnake Roundup. Through his sensitive and deeply-felt portrayal of Joe Lon’s failed struggle to reconcile with the traumas of the past and establish meaning and a sense of purpose in life, a development culminating in the liquidation of a snake-handling preacher, a sheriff’s deputy, his own high-school sweetheart, and a random bystander, Crews not only explores the deterministic cultural and socio-economic attributes of the rural south, but also gives articulation to a reflective consciousness far more individuated and multifaceted than allowed for in recent critical discourse.

This sombre ending is perhaps what Todorov would term “the realization of an order always preordained,” but it would be a mistake to dismiss it as merely the inevitable outcome of yet another southern boy’s unarticulated rage against modernity. Struggling endlessly like the pitfighting dogs his daddy breeds, Joe Lon, entangled in the determinants of his existence, comes to give mimetic shape to a contemporary American identity both utterly strange and jarringly familiar.

Abstract

This paper deals with the phenomenon of V-to-T movement, which is one of the major parameters differentiating Romance from the majority of modern Germanic languages, and it defends the idea that rich morphology is the cause or trigger of V-to-T: in Romance, in a modern Germanic language like Icelandic, and very particularly in Old English, the precursor of the modern English language. More generally, the discussion endorses the idea that all Germanic languages used to be V-to-T languages in their old periods. I begin by arguing that verbal forms in Spanish contain a specific kind of segment, namely the stem or thematic vowel, which gives rise to morphological variations or asymmetries across tenses in the language. Such a productive system of stem verb classes is also shown to be the case in Icelandic, though not in German (which is therefore rendered as non-V-to-T), and ultimately it is acknowledged for a language like OE. The hypothesis is that the syntactic computation of (OE) verbal forms demands it that the speaker first identifies the verb class that the form in question belongs to before tackling the processing of tense morphology and agreement morphology. In pure syntactic terms, the stem or thematic vowel segment is identified in the present account with a v-feature that T must value, which valuation is realised by means of the displacement of the verb to the T head, that is, by means of V-to-T movement. After the valuation of T’s v-feature comes the valuation of τ-features and φ-features, respectively.

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