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Indirect Speech Acts in the Speech of the Characters of the Tale of Bygone Years

Victor S. Savelyev


The article states that communication in Old Russian as well as in modern Russian discourse is characterized by the use of mono-functional and poly-functional indirect speech acts. Moreover, the important aspect that helps to specify the illocutive functions of indirect speech acts in Old Russian is their verifiability: the verbal or non-verbal response of the interlocutor as well as the frame constructions, which introduce direct speech (preposition). These constructions are also used in the middle of the utterance (interposition) or at the end of the utterance (postposition). The author of the chronicles observes the communicative purposes of both the speaker and the interlocutor, indicating that the given utterance should be regarded as an indirect speech act. By analyzing the use of mono-functional indirect speech acts in the original dialogue fragments of the Tale of Bygone Years, the author works out their typology. The groups of interrogative and non-interrogative indirect speech acts have been singled out, each of them having certain typical characteristics. The semantics of non-interrogative utterances in most cases is connected with the expression of indirect meanings of time and aspect of verbal forms. The use of interrogative utterances as indirect speech acts is mostly connected with the changes not only in the illocutive function, but also in the propositional meaning of the predicative unit: interrogative utterances with negations should be interpreted as affirmative non-interrogative utterances and vice versa. The author comes to the conclusion that the use of modern mono-functional indirect speech acts is traditional, since it is identical to their functioning in Old Russian.


Tale of Bygone Years; mono-functional and poly-functional indirect speech acts

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