2014 | 14 | 101-120
Article title

The impact of direct speech framing expressions on the narrative: a contrastive case study of Gabriel García Márquez’s Buen viaje, señor Presidente and its English translation

Title variants
Languages of publication
This paper discusses an application of Relevance Theory methodology to an analysis of a literary text: a short story of Gabriel García Márquez “Buen viaje, señor Presidente” and its English translation. “Close reading” technique carried out on rather linguistic than literary basis allows for adding yet another layer of interpretation to this complex story. The analysis concentrates on the representation of direct speech and particularly on the impact of direct speech framing clauses on the reading of dialogic turns. Specifically, it is argued that the explicit mention of the addressee by indirect object pronouns (which are optional in direct speech framing turns) in Spanish makes the tension between the two protagonists even more palpable, therefore apparently courteous turns can be interpreted as defiant or otherwise antagonistic. In English similar role is played by the contrast between the absence of quotative inversion with subject pronouns and its presence when speakers are identified by full nominals. The parallel effect in both linguistic versions is traced to the distinction between linguistic items carrying mainly conceptual meaning (nominals) and carrying mainly procedural meaning (pronouns) and to the different ways these two kind of elements are processed in comprehension. The paper also provides some arguments for leaving aside literary considerations and treating a literary text as an act of ostensive communication.
Physical description
  • Uniwersytet Warszawski [University of Warsaw], Warszawa [Warsaw], Poland
  • Szkoła Wyższa Psychologii Społecznej [University of Social Sciences and Humanities], Warszawa [Warsaw], Poland
  • Alexiadou A., & Anagnostopoulou, E. (2007). The subject in situ generalization revisited. In H. Gärtner, U. Sauerland (Eds.), Interfaces + Recursion (pp. 31-60). Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.
  • Appiah, K. A. (2000). Thick translation. In L. Venuti (Ed.), The Translation Studies Reader (pp. 417-429). London-New York: Routledge.
  • Austin, J. L. (1962). How to Do Things with Words. Oxford: Clarendon Press.
  • Bezuidenhout, A. (2004). Procedural meaning and the semantics/pragmatics interface. In C. Bianchi (Ed.), The semantics/pragmatics distinction (pp. 101-103). Stanford: CSLI Publications.
  • Blackman, A. (2010). ``Bon Voyage, Mr President’’ by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Retrieved November 13, 2013, from
  • Blakemore, D. (1987). Semantic constraints on relevance. Oxford: Blackwell.
  • Branigan, P. (2001). Provocative Syntax. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
  • Breheny, R. (1998). Interface economy and focus. In V. Rouchota, & A. H. Jucker (Eds.), Current issues in relevance theory (pp. 105-139). Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
  • Collins, C. (1997). Local Economy. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
  • Collins, C., & Branigan, P. (1997). Quotative Inversion. Natural Language and Linguistic Theory, 15(1), 1-41. doi: 10.1023/A:1005722729974
  • Cram, D., & Hedley, P. (2005). Pronouns and procedural meaning: The relevance of spaghetti code and paranoid delusion. Oxford University Working Papers in Linguistics, Philology and Phonetics, 10, 187-210.
  • Dancygier, B., & Vandelanotte, L. (2009). Judging distances: mental spaces, distance, and viewpoint in literary discourse. In G. Brône, J. Vandaele (Eds.), Cognitive Poetics. Goals, Gains and Gaps (pp. 319-370). Berlin-New York: Mouton de Gruyter.
  • Escandell-Vidal, V., & Leonetti, M. (2011). On the rigidity of procedural meaning. In V. Escandell-Vidal, M. Leonetti, & A. Ahern (Eds.), Procedural Meaning: Problems and Perspectives (pp. 81-102). Bingley: Emerald Group Publishing.
  • Even-Zohar, I. (2000). The position of translated literature within the Literary Polysystem. In L. Venuti (Ed.), The Translation Studies Reader (pp. 192-197). London-New York: Routledge.
  • Fludernik, M. (1993). The Fictions of Language and the Languages of Fiction: The Linguistic Representation of Speech and Consciousness. London: Routledge.
  • Genette, G. (1980). Narrative Discourse: An Essay in Method. (J. E. Lewin, Trans.). Ithaca: Cornell.
  • Genette, G. (1988). Narrative Discourse Revisited. (J. E. Lewin, Trans.). Ithaca: Cornell.
  • Givón, T. (1983). Topic Continuity in Discourse: A Quantitative Cross-Language Study. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
  • Głowiński, M. (1997). Dialog w powieści. In M. Głowiński, Narracje literackie i nieliterackie (pp. 39-53). Kraków: Universitas.
  • Grice, H. P. (1975). Logic and conversation. In P. Cole, & J. L. Morgan (Eds.), Syntax and Semantics (Vol. 3, Speech Acts, pp. 41-58). New York: Academic Press.
  • Gutt, E. A. (2000). Translation as interlingual interpretive use. In L. Venuti (Ed.), The Translation Studies Reader (pp. 376-396). London-New York: Routledge.
  • Gutt, E. A. (2010). Relevance and Translation: On the value of Good Theoretical Foundation of Translation. In E. Wałaszewska, M. Kisielewska-Krysiuk, A. Piskorska (Eds.), In the Mind and Across Minds: A Relevance-theoretic Perspective on Communication and Translation (pp. 292-310). Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.
  • Hedley, P. (2005). Pronouns, procedures and relevance theory. Durham Working Papers in Linguistics, 11, 41-55.
  • Herman, D. (2009). Cognitive approaches to narrative analysis. In G. Brône, & J. Vandaele (Eds.), Cognitive Poetics. Goals, Gains and Gaps (pp. 79-118). Berlin-New York: Mouton de Gruyter.
  • Jackiewicz, A. (2005). Transmission dialogique des paroles d’autrui. Verbum, 3, 265-291.
  • Jamrozik, E. (1992). La syntaxe et la sémantique des verbes de parole français. Warsaw: Wydawnictwa Uniwersytetu Warszawskiego.
  • Ji, S. (2008). What do paragraph divisions indicate in narrative texts? Journal of Pragmatics, 40(10), 1719-1730. doi: 10.1016/j.pragma.2007.11.010
  • Kreyer, R. (2006). Inversion in Modern Written English: Syntactic Complexity, Information Status and the Creative Writer, Tübingen: Gunter Narr Verlag.
  • Lamiroy, B., & Charolles, M. (2008). Les verbes de parole et la question de l’(in)transitivité. Discours, 2 | 2008. doi: 10.4000/discours.3232
  • Langacker, R. W. (1987). Foundations of Cognitive Grammar: Theoretical Prerequisites. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.
  • Langacker, R. W. (1999). Grammar and Conceptualization. Berlin - New York: Mouton de Gruyter.
  • Langacker, R. W. (2001). Discourse in Cognitive Grammar. Cognitive Linguistics, 12, 143-188. doi: 10.1515/cogl.12.2.143
  • Laver, J. (1975). Communicative functions of phatic communion. In A. Kendon, R. M. Harris, & M. R. Key (Eds.), Communication in Face to Face Interaction (pp. 215- -238). Berlin: Mouton.
  • Leech, G. N. (1983). Principles of Pragmatics. London: Longman.
  • Linde-Usiekniewicz, J. (2012). From Conflict Through Compromise to Collaboration: Semantics, Syntax and Information Structure in Natural Languages. Warsaw: Faculty of Polish.
  • Linde-Usiekniewicz, J. (in press). Cognitive environment and information structure.
  • Linde-Usiekniewicz, J., & Nalewajko, P. (2013). Siguiendo las pistas de un autor travieso. La enmarcación de los diálogos en Buen viaje, señor Presidente de Gabriel García Márquez -estudio interdisciplinario. Itinerarios. Revista de estudios lingüísticos, literarios, históricos y antropológicos, 17, 87-104.
  • Linde-Usiekniewicz, J., & Nalewajko, P. (in preparation). Direct Speech Turns and Narrative Clues in Literary Prose: The Case of Gabriel García Márquez Short Story Buen viaje, señor Presidente and Its Polish Translation.
  • McHale, Brian (2011). Speech Representation. Retrieved November 9, 2012, from .
  • Mel’čuk, I. A. (1988). Dependency Syntax: Theory and Practice. Albany: SUNY Press.
  • Mel’čuk, I. A. (2004). Actants in syntax. Linguistics, 42(2), 247-291.
  • Mendoza, P. A., & García Márquez, G. (1994). El olor de la guayaba. Barcelona: Mondadori.
  • Nalewajko, P. (2012). Seducir (con) los sentidos. Una (re)lectura de los cuentos de Gabriel García Márquez (unpublished manuscript of PhD dissertation). Warsaw: University of Warsaw.
  • Newmark, P. (1988). Approaches to Translation. Hertfordshire: Prentice Hall.
  • RAE (2009). Nueva gramática de Real Academia Española. Madrid: Espasa Libros.
  • Sams, J. (2009). Genre-controlled constructions in written language quotatives: A case study of English quotatives from two major genres. In R. Corrigan, E. A. Moravcsik, H. Ouali, K. Wheatley (Eds.), Typological Studies in Language: Formulaic Language. Volume I (pp. 147-10). Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing Company.
  • Sawicki, L. (2008). Towards Narrative Grammar of Polish. Warsaw: Wydawnictwa Uniwersytetu Warszawskiego.
  • Sax, D. J. (2011). Sentence stress and the procedures of comprehension. In V. Escandell-Vidal, M. Leonetti, A. Ahern (Eds.), Procedural meaning: Problems and perspectives (pp. 349-381). Bingley: Emerald Group Publishing Limited.
  • Sax, D. J. (2012). Interpretacja “na bieżąco”’: struktura tematyczno-rematyczna a teoria relewancji’’. Linguistica Copernicana, 2(8), 173-204. doi: 10.12775/LinCop.2012.012
  • Schmid, W. (2005). Elemente der Narratologie. Berlin: de Gruyter.
  • Searle, J. (1969). Speech-Acts. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Sperber, D., & Wilson, D. (1986). Relevance. Communication and Cognition. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
  • Suñr, M. (2000). The Syntax of Direct Quotes With Special Reference to Spanish and English. Natural Language and Linguistic Theory, 18(3), 525-578. doi: 10.1023/A:1006 474231809
  • Wilson, D. (2011). The conceptual-procedural distinction: Past, present and future. In V. Escandell-Vidal, M. Leonetti, & A. Ahern (Eds.), Procedural meaning: Problems and perspectives (pp. 3-31). Bingley: Emerald Group Publishing Limited.
  • Wilson, D., & Sperber, D. (1993). Linguistic form and relevance. Lingua, 90(1-2), 1-25. doi: 10.1016/0024-3841(93)90058-5
  • Wilson, D., & Sperber, D. (2004). Relevance theory. In L. Horn, G. Ward (Eds.), The Handbook of Pragmatics (pp. 607-632). Blackwell: Oxford.
  • Zwicky, A. (2009). A little more on quotative inversion. Retrieved November 12, 2011, from
Document Type
Publication order reference
YADDA identifier
JavaScript is turned off in your web browser. Turn it on to take full advantage of this site, then refresh the page.