Two kinds of perspective taking in narrative texts

Stefan Hinterwimmer


In this paper, I argue for the existence of two distinct kinds of protagonists’ perspective taking in narrative texts. The first, Free Indirect Discourse, represents conscious thoughts or utterances of protagonists and involves context shifting: All context-sensitive expressions with the exception of pronouns and tenses are interpreted with respect to the fictional context of some salient protagonist (Schlenker 2004; Sharvit 2008; Eckardt 2014, Maier 2015). The second, which I dub viewpoint shifting, does not necessarily represent conscious thoughts or utterances and it does not involve context shifting. Rather, a situation is described as it is perceived by a salient protagonist or in a way that reflects the doxastic state of such a protagonist, not with respect to the Common Ground (CG) of narrator and reader. While FID is only available at the root level, i.e. at the speech act level, viewpoint shifting is available at the level of finite matrix clauses.

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