Edited by Sylviane Granger and Marie-Aude Lefer
[Languages in Contrast 20:2] 2020
► pp. 289–314
Dialogue vs. narrative in fiction
A cross-linguistic comparison
This paper explores both comparable and translation data from the fiction part of the English-Norwegian Parallel Corpus (ENPC) in a new way. Rather than studying fiction as a unified register, we investigate to what extent fiction can be seen to contain (at least) two distinct registers – dialogue and narrative – and to what extent this may have implications for contrastive studies based on a corpus such as the ENPC. Token counts show that, although the texts are predominantly narrative in nature, the Norwegian texts are even more so than the English ones. On the basis of word lists, two items proportionally more frequent in dialogue and that had previously been studied on the basis of the fiction texts in the ENPC were identified and chosen for further scrutiny: there and see. Results from these two case studies uncover some differences in the use of there and see in dialogue vs. narrative, most conspicuously for see where its preferred use in dialogue is the cognition sense and in narrative the perception sense. For there, a noticeable difference is the choice of verb in the Norwegian translations of existential there-clauses in dialogue and narrative. In narrative, verbs other than verbs of existence are sometimes chosen, while this is never the case in dialogue.