Showing versus telling: Representing speech events in English and Spanish
In this chapter, I provide a qualitative description of the verbs used to introduce Direct Speech (DS) in fictional narratives written in English and their Spanish translations in order to compare the way these two languages reconstruct speech events in texts by means of both speech verbs (e.g., say/decir, counter/argumentar, declare/manifestar) and non-speech verbs (e.g., grin/sonreír, scowl/fruncir el ceño). Using a corpus of popular fictional narrative genres and drawing upon typological research on motion after the work by Talmy (1985, 1988, 1991) and Slobin (1996a, 1996b, 2004, 2005, 2006), I look into the strategies used in English and Spanish for recreating speech events in order to explore whether the typological differences between these languages are replicated in the case of speech. The hypothesis is that, contrary to what happens with motion events, the differences between English and Spanish do not rest upon lexical availability but, rather, on the weight placed in different speech elements in agreement with two different agendas regarding speech events. While congruent with typological studies, this piece of research attempts to broaden their scope and explore a topic still underexplored.