Short, Mick (2012) Discourse presentation and speech (and writing, but not thought) summary. Language and Literature, 21 (1). pp. 18-32. ISSN 0963-9470

This article outlines the detailed nature of a relatively neglected phenomenon in discourse presentation – speech (and writing but not thought) summary – and considers its consequences for discourse presentation theory. Careful consideration of the phenomenon of clearly intended speech and writing summary, as well as other phenomena where discourse is clearly presented but not reported, helps us to preserve in a focused way the canonical notion of varying degrees of faithfulness in the reporting of speech and writing originating in anterior contexts, something which is necessary, in my view, to explain the prototypical effects of the different categories on the discourse presentation scales in contexts (e.g. fictional speech) where speech is clearly being presented but not reported. I make a distinction between what I call ‘proposition-domain summary’ (where individual propositions are summarized) and ‘discourse-domain summary’ (the summary of larger stretches of discourse), and suggest that, whereas proposition-domain summary is usually associated with what has usually been called the Narrator’s/Reporter’s Representation of a Speech Act (NRSA) on the speech presentation scale and its equivalent Narrator’s/Reporter’s Representation of a Writing Act (NRWA) on the writing presentation scale, discourse-domain summary can in principle be presented using any of the categories on the speech and writing presentation scales. Consequently, I want to propose scales of speech and writing discourse-domain summary to match the traditional speech and writing presentation (i.e. ‘proposition presentation’) scales. I also suggest that the notion of summary does not sensibly apply to thought presentation and consider the theoretical consequences of this. Along the way, I will (i) propose a minor, but hopefully helpful (because I think it is clearer and more accurate), change in the naming of the discourse presentation categories and their associated acronyms, (ii) discuss some interesting ambiguous cases, (iii) consider how we become aware, when reading the presenting text, that discourse is being summarized and (iv) correct some errors in Short (1988) and Chapter 10 of Leech and Short (2007 [1981]).

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