Noun Phrases: Structural Patterns on Fiction

Almarza García, Lidia
Corona Marzol, Isabel (dir.)

Universidad de Zaragoza, FFYL, 2014
Filología Inglesa y Alemana department, Filología Inglesa area

Graduado en Estudios Ingleses

Abstract: Abstract Noun phrases are very relevant in discourse, as they convey much information. However, they form a very varied group, and can differ greatly on structure, length and complexity. This paper reports a research based on the study of their behaviour in the fictional register (Biber et al., 1999) with the aim of exploring those structural features specific of the genre. For fulfilling this purpose, a corpus of study was previously selected, which consists of two extracts of 5,000 words approximately, from two different novels: Case Histories, by Kate Atkinson, and Moon Palace, by Paul Auster. The texts were analysed by signaling the noun phrases that contained and by classifying them according to the number and type of constituents. Several different classifications were necessary to conduct the analysis of the different word classes and elements appearing in the phrases. These data were recollected, observed and described, and the results were explained. The most relevant findings are the nearly equal distribution of nouns and pronouns as heads of the phrases —53% in the case of nouns, and 47% in the case of pronouns—, the essential role played by personal pronouns in the register—which form an 80% of all the pronominal forms—, and the recurrence of other structures and word classes which are infrequent in other registers, such as relative clauses, possessive determiners or proper names (Biber et al., 1999). All of these findings point to the fact that fiction is concerned with the lives, actions and goals of a restricted set of characters, presented as familiar to the readers. In addition, sometimes full reproductions of dialogues between characters are present in the texts, so fiction is a written genre which encapsulates some conversational features. Therefore, the genre sometimes acquires a more colloquial tone which, together with the familiar atmosphere created by the story, tries to involve the reader in that fictional reality.

Tipo de Trabajo Académico: Trabajo Fin de Grado

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