“In a Double Sense” : Syntactic Ambiguity and the Pragmatics of Equivocation in Shakespearean Dramatic Dialogue

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)Researchpeer-review

8 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

My paper will focus on form and function in the pragmatics of Shakespearean dialogue in respect of syntax. It will discuss the interpretation of semantic roles in his dramatic dialogue, and particularly the way in which ambiguous constructions are situated in scenes in order to create a feeling of uncertainty and ambivalence, both in the specific dramatic context and in the poetics of the play as a whole. This profound sense of ambiguity – which lies at the heart of tragedies such as Macbeth and Hamlet and histories such as Henry V, but is also present in a significant number of comedies – is constructed, as I argue and exemplify, not only through the dramatic ironies of plot and character, but crucially by the language and the slippage resulting from functional shifts of grammar and syntax. As has been observed by a number of commentators, the consequent persistent flouting of Gricean conversational maxims of quantity, quality, relation and manner is an intrinsic tool of the poetic dramatist’s art and Shakespeare represents an outstanding example of this phenomenon. Likewise, the performative and declarative speech acts of dramatic dialogue can be seen to contribute to such flouting of conversational norms and maxims. The article will also discuss the relationship between linguistic ambiguity and character ambivalence with specific examples.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)83-95
Number of pages12
JournalAnglistica Aion - an Interdisciplinary Online Journal -
Volume21
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2017

Fingerprint

William Shakespeare
Equivocation
Syntactic Ambiguity
Poetics
Flouting
Syntax
Ambivalence
Semantic Roles
History
Art
Uncertainty
Plot
Tragedy
Comedies
Dramatist
Grammar
Maxim of Quantity
Focus on Form
Speech Acts
Conversational Maxim

Keywords

  • relevance
  • intention
  • intentional facllacy
  • dedicated module
  • ostensive-inferential

Cite this

@article{ef098c7ae24d41f4a98518f648bb528a,
title = "“In a Double Sense” : Syntactic Ambiguity and the Pragmatics of Equivocation in Shakespearean Dramatic Dialogue",
abstract = "My paper will focus on form and function in the pragmatics of Shakespearean dialogue in respect of syntax. It will discuss the interpretation of semantic roles in his dramatic dialogue, and particularly the way in which ambiguous constructions are situated in scenes in order to create a feeling of uncertainty and ambivalence, both in the specific dramatic context and in the poetics of the play as a whole. This profound sense of ambiguity – which lies at the heart of tragedies such as Macbeth and Hamlet and histories such as Henry V, but is also present in a significant number of comedies – is constructed, as I argue and exemplify, not only through the dramatic ironies of plot and character, but crucially by the language and the slippage resulting from functional shifts of grammar and syntax. As has been observed by a number of commentators, the consequent persistent flouting of Gricean conversational maxims of quantity, quality, relation and manner is an intrinsic tool of the poetic dramatist’s art and Shakespeare represents an outstanding example of this phenomenon. Likewise, the performative and declarative speech acts of dramatic dialogue can be seen to contribute to such flouting of conversational norms and maxims. The article will also discuss the relationship between linguistic ambiguity and character ambivalence with specific examples.",
keywords = "relevance, intention, intentional facllacy, dedicated module, ostensive-inferential",
author = "INGHAM, {Michael Anthony}",
year = "2017",
doi = "10.19231/angl-aion.201715",
language = "English",
volume = "21",
pages = "83--95",
journal = "Anglistica Aion - an Interdisciplinary Online Journal -",
issn = "2035-8504",
number = "1",

}

“In a Double Sense” : Syntactic Ambiguity and the Pragmatics of Equivocation in Shakespearean Dramatic Dialogue. / INGHAM, Michael Anthony.

In: Anglistica Aion - an Interdisciplinary Online Journal -, Vol. 21, No. 1, 2017, p. 83-95.

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)Researchpeer-review

TY - JOUR

T1 - “In a Double Sense” : Syntactic Ambiguity and the Pragmatics of Equivocation in Shakespearean Dramatic Dialogue

AU - INGHAM, Michael Anthony

PY - 2017

Y1 - 2017

N2 - My paper will focus on form and function in the pragmatics of Shakespearean dialogue in respect of syntax. It will discuss the interpretation of semantic roles in his dramatic dialogue, and particularly the way in which ambiguous constructions are situated in scenes in order to create a feeling of uncertainty and ambivalence, both in the specific dramatic context and in the poetics of the play as a whole. This profound sense of ambiguity – which lies at the heart of tragedies such as Macbeth and Hamlet and histories such as Henry V, but is also present in a significant number of comedies – is constructed, as I argue and exemplify, not only through the dramatic ironies of plot and character, but crucially by the language and the slippage resulting from functional shifts of grammar and syntax. As has been observed by a number of commentators, the consequent persistent flouting of Gricean conversational maxims of quantity, quality, relation and manner is an intrinsic tool of the poetic dramatist’s art and Shakespeare represents an outstanding example of this phenomenon. Likewise, the performative and declarative speech acts of dramatic dialogue can be seen to contribute to such flouting of conversational norms and maxims. The article will also discuss the relationship between linguistic ambiguity and character ambivalence with specific examples.

AB - My paper will focus on form and function in the pragmatics of Shakespearean dialogue in respect of syntax. It will discuss the interpretation of semantic roles in his dramatic dialogue, and particularly the way in which ambiguous constructions are situated in scenes in order to create a feeling of uncertainty and ambivalence, both in the specific dramatic context and in the poetics of the play as a whole. This profound sense of ambiguity – which lies at the heart of tragedies such as Macbeth and Hamlet and histories such as Henry V, but is also present in a significant number of comedies – is constructed, as I argue and exemplify, not only through the dramatic ironies of plot and character, but crucially by the language and the slippage resulting from functional shifts of grammar and syntax. As has been observed by a number of commentators, the consequent persistent flouting of Gricean conversational maxims of quantity, quality, relation and manner is an intrinsic tool of the poetic dramatist’s art and Shakespeare represents an outstanding example of this phenomenon. Likewise, the performative and declarative speech acts of dramatic dialogue can be seen to contribute to such flouting of conversational norms and maxims. The article will also discuss the relationship between linguistic ambiguity and character ambivalence with specific examples.

KW - relevance

KW - intention

KW - intentional facllacy

KW - dedicated module

KW - ostensive-inferential

U2 - 10.19231/angl-aion.201715

DO - 10.19231/angl-aion.201715

M3 - Journal Article (refereed)

VL - 21

SP - 83

EP - 95

JO - Anglistica Aion - an Interdisciplinary Online Journal -

JF - Anglistica Aion - an Interdisciplinary Online Journal -

SN - 2035-8504

IS - 1

ER -