LINGUIST List 15.1434

Wed May 5 2004

Diss: Discourse Analysis: Pitk�nen: 'The Spatio...'

Editor for this issue: Tomoko Okuno <>


  1. kkpitkan, The Spatio-Temporal Setting in Written Narrative Fiction.

Message 1: The Spatio-Temporal Setting in Written Narrative Fiction.

Date: Wed, 5 May 2004 09:17:11 -0400 (EDT)
From: kkpitkan <>
Subject: The Spatio-Temporal Setting in Written Narrative Fiction.

Institution: University of Helsinki
Program: Department of General Linguistics
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2003

Author: Kari K. Pitk�nen

Dissertation Title:
The Spatio-Temporal Setting in Written Narrative Fiction. A Study of
Interaction between Words, Text and Encyclopedic Knowledge in the
Creation of Textual Meaning.

Dissertation URL:

Linguistic Field:
Discourse Analysis,
Ling & Literature

Subject Language: English (code: ENG)

Dissertation Director 1: Fred Karlsson
Dissertation Director 2: Orvokki Hein�m�ki
Dissertation Director 3: Lauri Carlson
Dissertation Director 4: Jan-Ola �stman

Dissertation Abstract:

This work focuses on the spatio-temporal setting, the compositional
frame, which provides the preliminary key parameters of the original
situation and surroundings depicted by the text. The analysis is based
on 150 text beginnings of English written narrative fiction supported
by a lexical analysis mainly based on 20,000 WordNet lexemes.

A clearly separate setting is not the norm. It occurred in only 37% of
the material while 45% of the settings were established gradually or
integrated into the text. A separate setting is slightly more common
in space-oriented settings while in character and action-oriented
settings the spatio-temporal aspects of the setting are established
gradually. Settings focusing on physical surroundings tend to be
separate while settings focusing on socio-cultural and mental aspects
of the world are often provided gradually or integrated into the

Spatial and temporal information is partly transmitted by other than
primarily spatial or temporal expressions. Some lexemes name spatial
and temporal frames while others trigger them. Creating a setting is
based on connecting proper frame triggers and co-text with what the
reader supposedly knows otherwise. Thus, the same conventional frames
and frame triggers tend to occur in settings.

When the setting is based on a shared frame, less text is needed,
making it possible to focus on characters and action, and to provide
the surroundings gradually through either the narrator's or the
protagonist's point of view. Often, textual information is enriched
with encyclopedic knowledge and manipulated textually in order to
evoke and modify a frame and/or textual meaning and to provide the
reader with a specific point of view. The analysis of the settings and
the lexicon revealed that the interface between language and the
world, and the knowledge of the frames are crucial and should be taken
into account both in lexical and text semantic descriptions.
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