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Title: Resolving conflicts between maxims : a developmental account of narrative text production in Greek
Author: Kostouli, Triantafillia
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 1991
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The work in this thesis illustrates the system underlying narrative text production through a detailed description of the nature and working of the principles that give rise to age-related differences in textual style in Greek. The stated issue is addressed by tracing the way in which event connectivity is realized through the options that Greek language makes available to language producers, Greek schoolchildren (8, 10 and 12 years old) and adults. The data consist of three types of material: a) narrative texts written by Greek schoolchildren and adults on the basis of picture-sequences and on free topics b) readers' responses and c) conversations with the children and their teachers used as a means of capturing their assumptions regarding language use. Differences in text production are accounted for through a system, called 'textural logic', consisting of a number of multiple-interacting first- and second-order pragmatic principles and maxims (including the Gricean maxims) whose operation and interaction represent the logic underlying specific text-building strategies. The crucial issue examined pertains to tensions in textual logic brought about by clashes between the postulated maxims. Conflicts between maxims are shown to be one of the most intricate areas of practical reasoning for much can be learnt about text acquisition processes by examining the way in which different age-groups weight opposing requirements. The resolution of conflicts is described as a problem of decision-making during which the maxims in conflict are weighed not against each other but rather against second-order principles of a socio-culturally specific character. Tellability is proposed to be the highest principle that restores and guarantees the internal coherence of the system of textual logic in Greek. It is within this framework that we trace children's increasing sensitivity to balance the demands of multiple-interacting maxims and to explore their available resources within the limits that socially-transmitted conventions (such as generic conventions) impose on them. The varying choice of principles is shown to lead to distinct communicative strategies and, ultimately, to age-specific textual styles.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available