Syntax, spaces, and story: discourse modes and cognitive grammar

McLachlan, Ross Deans (2015) Syntax, spaces, and story: discourse modes and cognitive grammar. MPhil(R) thesis, University of Glasgow.

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The existence of text types in discourse is a topic often debated by text linguists. Generally speaking, existing models concerning these notion units of language are explicitly functional or formalist in their theoretical basis. While most of these approaches to text types are valuable in their own right, the tendency is to view text types as discrete structural units of discourse. In this way, very little attention has been paid to the way in which these structural groupings interact with one another at the level of discourse. The richest of these models is to be found in Carlota Smith's Modes of Discourse. However, while the conclusions drawn by Smith are far-reaching and widely applicable, her work finds its foundations in the explicitly formalist approach to discourse comprehension known as Discourse Representation Theory.

This thesis wishes to argue that this reliance on DRT greatly hinders the potential of Smith's discourse typology. As such, the goal of this work is to reappropriate Smith's work within a more dynamic and varied approach to language. The theoretical orientation of this work is therefore directly tied to the broad field of Cognitive Linguistics. In particular this thesis seeks to present a syncretic model based around three key theoretical frameworks – Cognitive Grammar, Mental Spaces Theory, and Relevance Theory. In doing so, we find that text types can be defined from a strictly cognitive perspective, and that doing so greatly increases the value of a structural typology of discourse above the level of the sentence. While this thesis is primarily geared towards a high-level synthesis of theoretical frameworks, some short worked examples serve as heuristic aids indicative of the potential applications of the theory being developed.

Item Type: Thesis (MPhil(R))
Qualification Level: Masters
Keywords: text linguistics, cognitive grammar, discourse analysis
Subjects: P Language and Literature > P Philology. Linguistics
P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General)
Colleges/Schools: College of Arts > School of Critical Studies > English Language and Linguistics
Supervisor's Name: Alexander, Dr. M.G. and Anderson, Dr. W.
Date of Award: 2015
Depositing User: Mr Ross Deans McLachlan
Unique ID: glathesis:2015-6470
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 11 Jun 2015 10:24
Last Modified: 06 Sep 2018 12:52

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