The present study has been an attempt to bring together different approaches to description in order to highlight its main features as against exposition and, to a minor extent, characterization and evaluation, within heterogeneous texts. What emerged was converging evidence supporting the view that: (i) Description is concerned with individuals located in space and time and correlates with the cognitive process of perception in space. Although, broadly speaking, the descriptive text type may be seen as amenable to dictionary definitions and has therefore been considered as a form of imperfect definition, it holds its own assets. Specifically, besides banking on the encyclopaedic knowledge of observer/describer/addresser and intended addressee, linking particulars to universals and, accordingly, seeing the particular as a type, descriptions situate the particular and distinguish it from other instantiations of the same type. (ii) Since the goal of description is to recreate a mental picture of the phenomenon perceived, the observer provides a coherent, progressive schematization of the phenomenon itself, or, better still, of the current, partial selection of the parts of the phenomenon, with different degrees of detail using axial vocabulary in the context of one or usually more frames of reference and, within scenes, locating subsequent Figures against the relevant Ground. Accordingly, the main linguistic correlates of description are: a. progression through spatial advancement; b. a tacit durative time adverbial with no amount specification in the first sentence of the descriptive passage and which takes scope over the whole passage; c. situations comprising states (e.g. to be or verbs of posture); d. atelic events, which comprise verbs of communication and perception, and verbs of change (used metaphictively), with adverbials of place among their arguments. (iii) Although all descriptions schematise a list of selected parts which is at the same time partial and subjective, the linguistic representation provided is assumed to overlap with vision and reality and ranges from technical through neutral to expressive (i.e. relatively more subjective) according to the attitudinal point of view expressed by the responsible source. Most importantly, descriptions interact with attitudinal point of view in the form of evaluation and characterization, which realize separate speech acts as a result of the different propositional content.
Description and point of view in heterogeneous texts / Cacchiani, Silvia. - STAMPA. - 9(2009), pp. 37-50.
|Data di pubblicazione:||2009|
|Titolo:||Description and point of view in heterogeneous texts|
|Titolo del libro:||Point of View: Description and Evaluation across Discourses|
|Citazione:||Description and point of view in heterogeneous texts / Cacchiani, Silvia. - STAMPA. - 9(2009), pp. 37-50.|
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