Publication details [#13623]

San Segundo, Pablo Ruano. 2016. A corpus-stylistic approach to Dickens use of speech verbs: Beyond mere reporting. Language and Literature 25 (2) : 113–129. 17 pp.
Publication type
Article in journal
Publication language
Place, Publisher
SAGE Publications


The creation of Dickens’ most memorable characters is partly a result of his talent for endowing them with individual voices and characteristic turns of speech. However, insufficient attention has been paid to the role played by the speech verbs that gloss his characters’ words and the functions they may fulfil. The fact that the characterising potential of these speech verbs has previously been overlooked may be due to their dispersal through the texts and the difficulty of carrying out a close analysis of their role and functions. The use of a corpus methodology allows the systematic retrieval of these verbs and reveals how Dickens consistently uses particular verbs to report the speech of particular characters, thus further projecting character traits. This practice is not an isolated phenomenon but, as an analysis of Dickens’ 14 major completed novels shows, an important stylistic device in his works.