The Master Thesis

Moustafa Abdel Hameed Mohamed Atia El Ashry
Department of English, Faculty of Education, Ain Shams University
The present study of the syntactic and pragmatic analysis of reported
speech in English and Cairene Colloquial Arabic seeks to present a different view
of the linguistic phenomenon of reported speech. It reviews the traditional
accounts of reported speech and tries to provide an adequate syntactic- pragmatic
account highlighting the multifunctional characteristics of reported speech in the
two languages.
In order to fulfill this purpose, the thesis is divided into seven chapters.
Chapter one is an introductory chapter, as such it is confined to preliminaries
that include the definition of reported speech and its types. It also explores the
features of different standard varieties of quotation in order to distinguish
reported speech (as a variety of quotation) from other varieties. Since all types of
quotation are explicitly indicated, it follows that not all quotation is reported
speech, but all reported speech is quotation. A quotation must be put forward as a
representation of some previous utterance or thought if it is to count as reported
speech. In this Chapter, the study tries to show that reported speech may be used
to draw attention to either the form or the content of the original. Its presence
may be overtly marked or left to be inferred. It has also looked at some forms of
direct and indirect speech that can also be used for other purposes than reporting.
It has also argued that reported speech needs not be verbatim reproductions of the
Chapter two provides a critical review of the previous literature. This
chapter surveys some traditional accounts of reported speech, including
philosophical analysis of reported speech in traditional grammar, semantics and
literary analysis. It has argued that they cannot be used as a general framework
for an account of reported speech: in the first place because they do not allow for
loose attributions, and in the second place, because they are not backed by an
adequate pragmatic theory. In addition, this chapter surveys some recent accounts
of reported speech. It showed that, whatever their intrinsic merits, none of these
approaches offers an adequate account of how the hearer resolves the many
indeterminacies left open when a communicator uses a report, and that a full
account of how reported speech is understood must make extensive appeal to
Chapter three provides a general syntactic– pragmatic framework to
analyze reported speech in English and Cairene Colloquial Arabic. The study
depends on an eclectic theoritical framework picks out all relevant features
represented in Halliday and Matthiessen’s “An Introduction to Functional
Grammar” (2004) and Sperber and Wilson’s “Relevance Theory” (1986/1995).
In this chapter, The study has outlined both Functional Grammar and Relevance
Theory, it showed how they can provide supplementary notions that can help in
the analysis of reported speech. With reference to Functional Grammar, the study
analyses reported speech using the system of projection which Halliday and
Matthiessen defines as the logico-semantic relation that exists between two
clauses, one containing a verb of saying or thinking and the other expresses what
was said or thought. In addition, it clarifies how the Relevance-theoretic
comprehension strategy can be used to resolve semantic indeterminacies and
arrive at the intended interpretation. The study has also introduced the
Relevance-theoretic notion of metarepresentation, it showed how it applies to
analyse a variety of cases of reported speech.
Chapter four illustrates the different syntactic structures of reported
speech in English adopting the framework of Halliday and Matthiessen’s “An
Introduction to Functional Grammar” (2004). The analysis in this chapter showed
that quoting and reporting are two distinct modes of projection representing two
degrees of remove from the original source. The difference between them derives
from the general semantic distinction between parataxis and hypotaxis, as it
applies in the particular context of projection. Direct Speech is analysed as a
clause entertaining a dependency relationship with the reporting clause, more
particularly one of parataxis, in which both clauses can potentially occur on their
own. Indirect speech, on the other hand, is analysed in terms of hypotaxis
because the reported clause in it is dependent on the reporting clause. Reviewing
Halliday and Matthiessen’s view of projection, the study represents other forms
of reported speech that lose a projecting clause. These are forms of ‘free direct
speech’ and some forms of free indirect speech. The study found that these forms
have no tactic relationships whether equal (paratactic) or unequal (hypotactic).
In Chapter five, the study provides a pragmatic analysis of reported
speech in English. The analysis clarifies that all types of reported speech are used
to metarepresent an attributed utterance or thought on the basis of shared
properties. They differ in what these shared properties are. Direct and free direct
speech are metalinguistic: they metarepresent an utterance or thought in virtue of
shared formal properties (The second representation is a description to the first).
Indirect speech is interpretive: it metarepresents an utterance or thought in virtue
of shared content (the second representation is an interpretation of the first). Free
indirect speech is both metalinguistic and interpretive: it metarepresents its
original in both content and form (the second representation is used descriptively
and interpretatively to represent the first).
Chapter six provides a syntactic and pragmatic analysis of reported
speech in Cairene Colloquial Arabic. On one hand, the study claims that there is
no specific syntactic distinction between quoting and reporting in Cairene
Colloquial Arabic. Concerning the grammatical constraints on forms of speech
reporting in Arabic, the study reaches the conclusion that there is no regular shift
of tense or mood involved in the change from direct into indirect speech and if
this happens it will be out of contextual matters not of structural matters. On the
other hand, this chapter has shown that reported speech in Cairene Colloquial
Arabic can be fitted into the relevance-theoretic account using the notion of
metarepresentation. As appeared from the analysis, reported speech varies both in
the degree of explicitness and in the type of original that it is used to represent:
whether utterances or thoughts. In Cairene Colloquial Arabic, as well as in
English, there are direct speech forms which vary considerably from the original.
Some subjects even collapse original utterances from a number of frames to
produce a suitable reporting structure. Sometimes, the re-use of original speech
content presents a different point of view. All This shows that original speech is
manipulated in various ways to suit subjects’ own reporting strategies.
The study concludes with Chapter seven by shedding light on points of
similarities and differences appeared from the analysis of the different forms and
uses of reported speech in English and Cairene Colloquial Arabic. The general
conclusion which this thesis ends in is that, reported speech forms should not
only be tackled as syntactic types. In addition, they should be studied as
tendencies emerging from the compositional effects of the speech verb, pronoun,
lexis, and tense selection in a conversational or narrative context.