Cognitive Linguistics 30 (2):351-375 (2019)

This paper first develops a theoretically motivated view of narrative as a special form of inferential, cooperative human communication, of the role that the past tense plays in the intersubjective coordination of narrators and readers, viz. that of ‘curtailing’ the immediate argumentative applicability of the represented situation, and of its relation to viewpoint management. In three case studies, it is subsequently shown how this helps to elucidate certain effects of present and past tense alternations in stories. While these effects are multi-faceted and highly text-specific, there is a common denominator of the use of the past tense in the dimension of narrator-reader communication in the narratives. The analysis supports an independently motivated conception of intersubjectivity that assigns a special status to ‘coordination with other minds’, apart from senders and addressees.
Keywords argumentativity  intersubjectivity  narrative  past tense  pretend-play  viewpoint
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DOI 10.1515/cog-2018-0058
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Using Language.Herbert Clark - 1996 - Cambridge University Press.

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