Grammar

Literature About Language by Valerie Shepard

By Valerie Shepard

In Literature approximately Language Valerie Shepherd brings jointly linguistic idea and literary feedback and examines languages as a topic in a number of literary texts. via the paintings of writers resembling rapid, Joyce and Sontag she discusses the facility of story-telling and metaphor to form our pondering and examines the communicative capacities of non-standard English and the strengths of women's writing in a male language global. by way of turning to the paintings of writers akin to Hardy, Cummings, inn and Gordimer, even though, she additionally demonstrates the ways that language could be restricted via its clients and by means of social and cultural pressures.
Written in particular for a scholar viewers, Language approximately Literature presumes no previous wisdom of linguistic idea and every bankruptcy concludes with a collection of useful exercises.
a useful textual content for A-level and undergraduate scholars of language, literature and communique reports.

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This habitual procedure of anticipation and interpretation is not normally in the forefront of our minds, consciously done. But if, in relation to ‘my sweet old etcetera’, we now follow it deliberately, looking in turn at each example of etcetera and filling its place on the syntagm more precisely, the progress should be revealing both about the meaning of the poem and about human linguistic behaviour. We shall need to bear in mind, of course, that whilst words are denotative, having directly referential meanings which may be verified in a dictionary, they also have connotations, meanings arising from surrounding language structures, from other words with which they tend to collocate and, also, from the circumstances in which, in our experience, they are normally used.

For when Ha is first missing and thought to have gone voluntarily with ‘the other man’, Lok is positive that he and the strange newcomers will 18 Literature about Language ‘have changed words or shared a picture. ’ He looked round at them. ’ (71–2) But Lok’s confidence is of course sadly and pathetically misplaced. In our own experience too, communication between people speaking different languages is fraught with difficulty. Part of the reason, according to Whorf, is that people are not ‘led by the same physical evidence to the same picture of the universe, unless their linguistic backgrounds are similar, or can in some way be calibrated’ (Carroll and Wiley 1956: 214).

But this understanding is naive – and 30 Literature about Language so limits their ability to think about and to preserve themselves from the assertive power of the inheritors. It is not of course surprising – and certainly not to their moral discredit – that the people’s comprehension is naive in this respect. The people have never before encountered behaviour like the tribe’s and Lok can hardly select syntax that identifies aggressive agency when this is something that, in Crites’ terminology (referred to above, p.

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