«-Ing» supplementive clauses and narrative discourse referents

  • María Ángeles Martínez
Keywords: mental scenarios, foregrounding, narrative discourse, subordination, reference

Abstract

This study explores the connections between -ing supplementive clauses and narrative discourse foregrounding. Subordinate and, very particularly, non-finite clauses are prototypically associated to narrative background. Using a corpus of extracts from contemporary novels in English, this study, however, shows that this type of subordination displays a predominance of grammatically highlighting features, namely assertive modality, active transitivity processes, and the foregrounded focalizer as most frequent implicit subject. This fact may prove of relevance to both linguistics and literature, as it not only provides a discourse-based cognitive explanation for the apparent incorrecteness of non-co-referential implicit subjects, as in “Leaving the forest, the scent of the trees surrounded them” (Biber et al., 2010: 829), but also suggests that -ing supplementives might intervene in narrative foregrounding, syntactically realizing some of the highlighting devices mentioned in cognitive approaches to the study of language at large (Brisard, 2002; Cristofaro, 2005; Kita, 2008; Talmy, 2000a; Talmy, 2000b), and literary discourse in particular (Tsur, 2009).

Author Biography

María Ángeles Martínez
María Ángeles Martínez is an Assistant Professor at the Department of English Language and Linguistics at the Universidad Complutense de Madrid. Her research interests are in the field of cognition and narrative discourse, cognitive poetics, and discourse analysis. She has published in journals like Poetics Today, and her current research explores the role of the self in narrative involvement, emotional engagement, and narrative discourse reference.
Published
01-12-2012
How to Cite
Martínez, M. Ángeles. (2012). «-Ing» supplementive clauses and narrative discourse referents. International Journal of English Studies, 12(2), 73-91. https://doi.org/10.6018/ijes/2012/2/161761