Reporting Discourse, Tense and Cognition
Reporting discourse has attracted rigorous analyses in linguistics, literary theory, cognitive psychology, sociology and ethnomethodology. This book provides analyses of controversial topics in reporting discourse like tense alternation, reporting styles, patterns and functions. After critically examining existing theories, Tomoko I. Sakita offers new theoretical perspectives and empirical analyses within the scope of actual language performance. Her analysis covers tenses that previous studies have neglected or have considered "ungrammatical" or "mistaken". Based on models of cognitive recollection and stream of consciousness, tense reveals cognitive, attitudinal and consciousness state markers in complex reporting processes, as well as identity, speaker psychology, and deictic relations, embedded in discourse and narrative contexts. A synthesis of discourse analysis and experiments on reporting style, structure and functions leads to formulating a new reporting discourse continuum. Reporting discourses emerge as rule-governed, goal-directed, purposeful strategic devices in communication. Sakita shows reporting discourse to be an integral whole formed by speakers' constant interpretations and choices at different stages of information processing, with close interactions among cognitive constraints, discourse organization, contextual information, and communicative purposes. She deepens our insights into the operation of language and cognition, as well as into communication systems and social dynamics, ultimately leading to a better understanding of human behaviour. This should be a useful work not only for linguists and literary specialists but also for readers with serious interest in human reporting behaviour and narrative, or in the dynamic aspects of cognitive operation.