The language of self-talk in Shakespeare's plays

Murphy, Sean Edward (2014) The language of self-talk in Shakespeare's plays. PhD thesis, UNSPECIFIED.

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This thesis reports an original approach to the language of self-talk in Shakespeare’s plays. Having established that self-talk is a form of discourse worthy of study, and potentially distinguishable from dialogue in terms of language, I ask two questions: 1. What is the nature of self-talk? 2. What language forms are characteristic of self-talk? The second question is really a subsidiary of the first in that it focuses specifically on the linguistic nature of self-talk. In Chapter 2, I begin to answer these questions by drawing on theories in stylistics, (im)politeness, literary criticism and methods employed in corpus linguistics. In doing so, I show how this research breaks new ground by approaching the language of self-talk from innovative angles, for example, by building and studying a corpus of self-talk. Chapter 3 describes the construction of this corpus, together with a dialogue corpus against which to compare the former. Chapters 4 and 5 address the first question. In Chapter 4, qualitative analysis of the self-talk corpus provides insights into the nature of self-talk as discourse, showing, for example, how speakers may linguistically split themselves in two. The focus in Chapter 5 shifts to theories of (im)politeness, and the ways in which self-talkers use linguistic strategies to justify their own social value, or even attack it by being impolite to themselves. Chapter 6 addresses the second question by using automatic analysis of the self-talk corpus, in conjunction with the dialogue corpus, to reveal characteristic language forms. Among others, these include DREAM, EYES, NATURE, and COMES. Chapter 7 uncovers characteristic combinations such as AND YET, I AM and I WILL. Self-talk in comedy, history and tragedy is typified by words such as LOVE, KING and GODS respectively.

Item Type:
Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information:
Sean Murphy is a Senior Research Associate at Lancaster University. His research interests include stylistics, corpus linguistics, pragmatics, applied linguistics in general, teacher education and English language teaching. He has previously carried out a detailed study of the soliloquies of Shakespeare’s plays. He also has over 30 years’ experience as an English language teacher, teacher trainer and materials writer, primarily in Barcelona, but also in the UK, Egypt and France.
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Deposited On:
04 Dec 2017 10:28
Last Modified:
21 Nov 2022 11:52