Publication details [#9717]

Schmidt-Knaebel, Susanne. 1993. Das Volksmärchen in der textlinguistischen Analyse (The folktale in text linguistic analysis). 42 pp.
Publication type
Article in journal
Publication language


The historical controversy in literary scholarship on folktales regarding the relationship between language and content is outlined that points to the structural importance of language in this literary form. Modern linguistic theories and methods are used to reconstruct a "basic form" for folktales, based on a comparison of three developmental stages of Grimm's "Fairy Tales": the first handwritten notes, the manuscripts for the first printing (1812/15), and the revisions made for the last authorized edition (1857/58). "The Golden Goose" forms the basis of analysis and further texts from the collection are consulted where necessary. Four text-linguistic aspects are examined: use of tenses, adverbials of time, increase in diminutives from one revision to the next, and the steadily growing number of metaphors. An outline of the basic form for folktales emerges, which is marked by a single thread of narrative in the past tense and past perfect. Diminutive forms are only used where they are required by the story, and visual imagery is found to be uncommon. These findings are substantiated by examination of the beginnings and endings and proper names and story titles. The use of folktales in families, schools, and psychotherapy is discussed. (Copyright 1994, Sociological Abstracts, Inc., all rights reserved.) (LLBA 1994, vol. 28, n. 3)