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Events and Narratives in Language

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Edited By Janusz Badio

This book analyzes events and narratives from the points of view of literature, grammar, discourse, and semantics. The contributors explore the issues related to the ways of portraying stories and their events within a cultural and literary framework. They also examine the role of prefixes in construing events and asymmetries that exist in time-creating event markers from a contrastive perspective. The contributions focus on narrativity as a semantic category, and on how events are described in signed languages. They place the event and narrative categories at the center of interest and their specific goals are pursued by applying different, both qualitative and quantitative, research methods.

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Narrativity as a Semantic Category (Dorota Filar)

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Dorota Filar

Maria Curie-Sklodowska University, Lublin, Poland

Narrativity as a Semantic Category

Abstract: Linguistic-cum-cultural meaning constitutes a culturally-defined conceptual structure that includes conceptual models and cognitive representations as interpretations of the universe we live in. These representations and interpretations, in turn, take the form of a narrative and it is in this sense that I use the concept here. This study is grounded in research on scripts, scenes, and scenarios (e.g. R. C. Schank and R. Abelson 1995), or events, scenes and story schemata (J. M. Mandler 1984), that capture phenomena as outcomes of spatiotemporal and causative relations. Event schemata have often been suggested in linguistics, cf. the work of Ch. J. Fillmore (1982, scenes), G. Lakoff (1987, scenarios), J. R. Taylor (1995, scripts) or R. W. Langacker (2008, covert scenarios). This broad framework, I propose, will benefit from a comprehensive, holistic description of language as “grand narrative”, built on “human scale” (with the relevant axiologies, viewpoints, and beliefs). In this way, I hope to integrate accounts of language, cognition, and culture with narrative theory. For the purpose of this paper, I analyse the meaning of a lexical item as a complex, dynamic narrative structure and adopt a “narrative procedure” for explaining that meaning is an anthropocentric quasi-story with human protagonists. I analyze a series of examples to illustrate the micro-narrative connected with the narrative schema DESZCZ (Polish) and RAIN (English). The central element of the model, with consequences for language-entrenched...

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