The effect of genre on reporting speech: conversations and newspaper articles

Fleur van der Houwen

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7557/1.1.1.2294

Keywords

reported speech; genre; deixis; conversations; newspapers; qualitative analysis; quantitative analysis

Abstract

This study focuses on reported speech in two different genres: spoken conversation and newspaper articles. There are two basic structures that allow language users to report formerly uttered words: direct and indirect speech. Both structures serve to integrate former discourse into the ongoing discourse. In different genres, however, language users draw upon different language tools to meet their communicative aims. This study examines how this might affect the distribution of direct and indirect reports across conversations and newspaper articles. Two of various hypotheses that have been suggested for the different uses of direct and indirect reported speech are examined using qualitative and quantitative analyses: 1) that direct speech would be a ‘less complex' strategy than indirect speech, in the sense that the reporter does not need to make deictic adaptations if we take the ‘original' words as our starting point, and 2) that direct speech is a more involving strategy than indirect speech. While the statistical results confirm both hypotheses, the confirmation of the complexity hypothesis differs for the two genres studied and needs some refinement as will be show with further qualitative analyses.

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Copyright (c) 2015 Fleur van der Houwen

License URL: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/