Discourse Motivations of Mental Construal and the Expression of Stance in Speech: A Case Study of English

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This paper presents an account of the phenomenon of mental construal manifested in English expressions of stance through the distinction of clauses that are headed by subjects associated with two conceptual archetypes: participant (P) invoked by the first-person pronoun ( I am certain that ) and abstract setting (S) conveyed by anticipatory it ( It is certain that ). With recourse to the main theoretical points on the anchoring of linguistic meaning in the acts of speech activity (Leontiev A.A.), mental construal (Langacker R.), processes of discourse-driven conceptualization and categorization (Kubryakova E.S.) and with reference to discourse oriented studies of stance (Biber D., Finegan E., Kärkkäinen E.), the conducted analysis focuses on a corpus of about 350 examples that represent narrative and dialogic discourse in English-language fiction. As evidenced by linguistic data, the choice of stance expressions with P- and S-subjects is motivated, respectively, by the distinctions that arise in discourse between actual and mentally represented types of reality, the contrast between reference-making and viewing as types of cognitive events and the distinction between event-schemas and mental experiences. These discursively relevant distinctions are further shown to be related to narrative and dialogic strategies that are used in literary texts for the expression of stance with the alternative stance-clauses.

About the authors

Ekaterina Yu Khrisonopulo

Saint-Petersburg State University of Culture

Email: hrisonopulo@mail.ru
2, Dvortsovaya nab., Saint-Petersburg, Russia, 191186


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