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"Buenos dias", "buenas noches" -- this was the first words in a foreign language I heard in my life, as a three-year old boy growing up in developing post-war Western Germany, where the first gastarbeiters had arrived from Spain. Fascinated by the strange sounds, I tried to get to know some more languages, the only opportunity being TV courses of English and French -- there was no foreign language education for pre-teen school children in Germany yet in those days. Read more



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Query Details


Query Subject:   Free Direct/Indirect Speech
Author:   Adam Glaz
Submitter Email:  click here to access email

Linguistic LingField(s):  Semantics

Query:   Dear Linguists,

I’m seeking help with Free Direct/Indirect Speech and related categories.
At a seminar on point of view I presented my students with the sentence

He said, they never let him know! (assuming “he” and “him” to be coreferential)

and claimed it was an instance of Free Direct Speech, where the Direct
Speech starting point is:

He said: “They never let me know!”

I assumed the DS sentence was simply “freed” by removing the quotes,
especially as the tense is left unchanged. However, my students objected by
pointing out that the use of the pronoun “him” and the presence of the
exclamation mark were indicative of Free Indirect Speech. I said this
couldn’t be FIS due to the presence of the reporting clause “he said” and
the retention of Simple Past rather than a change into Past Perfect (They
had never let him know! is clearly an instance of FIS). So we couldn’t
decide what it was: can we assume it’s a category in between FDS and FIS,
rather than a variant of either? I would be grateful for assistance from
those with more expertise in the subject than myself. Please reply to
adam.glaz “at” umcs.lublin.pl I will be happy to post a summary if there’s
enough interest.

Best wishes to all,

Adam Glaz
UMCS, Lublin, Poland
LL Issue: 17.3115
Date posted: 23-Oct-2006



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