Discourse of Silence

ORCID logoDennis Kurzon | University of Haifa
ISBN 9789027250629 (Eur) | EUR 99.00
ISBN 9781556198113 (USA) | USD 149.00
ISBN 9789027282606 | EUR 99.00 | USD 149.00
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The book deals initially with the interpretation of the silent answer to a question. From a semiotic approach to the contrast between silence and speech mainly within a Greimasian framework, the discussion turns to the application of pragmatic tools such as conversational analysis and adjacency pairs to the interpretation of silence. A model is presented which attempts to explain the observer’s cognitive competence, and its limits, in being able to interpret the silent answer. A basic distinction is also made between intentional silence (the refusal to answer) and non-intentional silence (the psychological inability to answer).
The interpretation of silence is extended from a theoretical viewpoint to an analysis of various discourse types. Firstly, silence in the legal world: the accused’s and the witness’s right of silence, the right of legal authorities to silence the broadcasting of direct speech. The author then analyzes the silencing of characters in a literary text (Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice), in a biblical text (Moses and his speech impediment in Exodus), in opera (Moses’ silence in Schoenberg’s opera Moses und Aron) and in the cinema. Here, after the initial discussion of Ingmar Bergman’s The Silence, focus is shifted to the generation gap and the representation of silence by song in Mike Nichols’ The Graduate.
[Pragmatics & Beyond New Series, 49] 1998.  vi, 162 pp.
Publishing status: Available
Table of Contents
Cited by

Cited by 59 other publications

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Main BIC Subject

CF: Linguistics

Main BISAC Subject

LAN009000: LANGUAGE ARTS & DISCIPLINES / Linguistics / General
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U.S. Library of Congress Control Number:  97044558 | Marc record