Article published in:Functional Perspectives on Grammar and Discourse: In honour of Angela Downing
Edited by Christopher S. Butler, Raquel Hidalgo Downing and Julia Lavid-López
[Studies in Language Companion Series 85] 2007
► pp. 349–358
Phatic communion and small talk in fictional dialogues
Phatic communion and small talk in fictional dialogues are governed by two opposing tendencies which coexist in dialogic structure known as verisimilitude and defamiliarization (see Fowler 1996). On the one hand, fictional dialogues make use of features present in authentic, spontaneous face-to-face conversation, e.g. loose syntactic structure, ellipsis, interjections, informal phraseology etc., to sound close to real-life situations. On the other hand, however, the author utilizes casual exchanges to create new, unconventional meanings frequently carrying differing points of view which are expressions of heteroglossia defined as “polyphony of social and discursive forces” (Holquist 1994.69). My findings present the results of an analysis of fictional dialogues in the novel Heat Wave by Penelope Lively. Phatic communion and small talk are understood as two different, though mutually related notions. Small talk seems to reflect a broader concept of socialization, while phatic communion is considered to be part of small talk.
Published online: 13 July 2007