ASPECT, TENSE AND THE EVENT ICM METONYMY IN NARRATIVE PROSE: TWO EPISODES FROM URSULA HEGI'S 'FLOATING IN MY MOTHER'S PALM'
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The paper offers an analysis which aims at explaining the role that the choice of particular verbs, their grammatical tense and their aspectual form plays in the construal of an episode in narrative prose. Two sample passages from Ursula Hegi's novel 'Floating in my Mother's Palm' will be analysed, focusing upon the textual function of the opposition between 'perfectivity' and 'imperfectivity' as revealed in the use of English verbs. The theoretical framework for the discussion is provided by the cognitive model developed by Ronald W. Langacker, with the principle of metonymical reference to events (as proposed by Radden and Kovecses) supplementing the strictly grammatical discussion. In conclusion, it is claimed that it is unconventional construals that are markers of what is commonly called 'literary style'. The principles that underlie such construals, when analysed in linguistic terms, reveal at least some of the workings of the complicated mechanism to which this vague label is commonly meant to refer.
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