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Сценарные слова в историческом повествовании просмотров: 3905

Московский Государственный университет имени М.В. Ломоносова







Курсовая работа по теме:

«Сценарные слова в историческом повествовании»



                                                                                            студента 2 курса                 

                                                                                            Некрасова Д.Ю.

                                                                                                          Научный руководитель:

                                                                                                      доцент, Поздеев М.М.









Chapter 1. The Semantics of a Script Word………………………..4

Chapter 2. The linguistic analysis of the Script Types in Historical narration ……………………………………………………………..12
















The development of interdisciplinary studies in the spheres concerning linguistics in the last decades has been so quick and manifold that a new insight has been gained into practically all the problems dealt with in discourse linguistics. A result of this development is introduction of new term: “frame”, “script” or “scenario”. The notion of script has merged into modern linguistics from cognitive sciences. Each scenario word refers to chain of actions, however part of this chain cannot be mentioned, but the listener or reader can “recover” the omitted information. As the analysis shows, the technique of scripting is widely and obligatory used in some genres of texts.

Nowadays linguistics technique of scripting is widely used in broadcasting. This is the systematic usage of script expressions. The principle of news programs can be expressed by the formula: “Maximum quantity and variety of information in the minimum of time”.  Thus scenario words are really practical all over the mass media sources: TV, radio, newspapers and magazines.

Each country in its development facing major challenges: wars, revolutions, rebellions, riots, crusades, repressions, war fares etc. These events are also described with script words in historical narration. I’ve taken a book written by William E. Burns named “A brief history of Great Britain” to make a research about the usage of scenarios in historical literature. The choice of a book is represented in its title: “a brief” means that actions will appear one by one, making a chain, and, as a result, the quantity of script words will increase.






Chapter 1

Semantics of a Script Word

  1. 1.    The Vocabulary of the Language of historical narration

The empirical material of this work constitutes three chapters from William E. Burns “A brief history of Great Britain”: “Industry and Conquest (1689 – 1851)”, “Britain in the Age of Empire (1851 – 1922)” and “Age of Crisis (1922 – 1945)”.

The analysis of the material shows that in each of this chapter scenario words can be found. That fact proves our suggestion about the script structure of the historical narration. The script structure of this genre implies the existence of a special vocabulary which constitutes the brief language and at the same time helps to avoid ambiguity of comprehension.

We have sorted out script words which constitute a special script vocabulary of the language of historic narrative. All of them are classified into thematic groups. The choice of them is now incidental, it reflects the most important and sensational events in British history which definitely cause reader’s interest. There is the list of words which are characterized by a high frequency of occurrence in historic narrative. Each word below stands for the name of a particular script.

Foreign policy conflicts

1)     war, colonial war, world wars (Nine Year’s War; War of the Spanish Succession; War of the Austrian Succession; Seven Year’s War; War of the American Revolution; Napoleonic Wars; Peninsular War; World War I; The Crimean War; The Boer War; World War II

2)     expansion

3)     to struggle

4)     crusade

5)     invasion

6)     to defeat

7)     to strike

8)     to attack

9)     to defend

10) warfare

11) to fight

12) victory

13) battle (Battle of the Nile; Battle of Trafalgar; The Battle of Britain; Battle of El Alamein)


15) to blockade

16) occupation

17) to conquest

18) to campaign against

19) to clash

20)to shoot down

21) to bomb

22) the fall (the fall of regime, the fall of France)

23)to destroy

Conflicts within the country

1)     violate

2)     execution

3)     to be hanged

4)     to riot

5)     repression ( repression of dissent; repression of Eastern European dissidents; repressing nationalist movements)

6)     to rebel (Irish rebellion; Indian rebellion)

7)     to kill

8)     to commit suicide

9)     to provoke

10) to persecute (persecuting Christians; persecution of Protestants)

11) to disperse (the rioters)

12) to trial

13) to prosecute

14) mutiny (naval mutinies, Indian Mutiny)

15) emancipation (Catholic emancipation; women’s emancipation)

16) massacre (massacre of Peterloo; Amritsar massacre)

17) revolution

18) to suppress (suppressing  political  committees; suppressed populations; the suppression of women’s sexuality)

19) to protest

20) to assault (assault on Britain’s rulers)

21) to divorce (divorced person; to win a divorce)

22) to volunteer

23) to recruit

24) demonstration

25) to evacuate

26)to propagandize (minister of propaganda; propagandize the other side)

“Game of thrones”

1)     to take power

2)     expulsion (expulsion  of  the Jews; expulsion from the kingdom; expulsion of the pretender James III)

3)     to inherit the crown

4)     to elect

5)     to vote

6)     to sway

7)     to ascend the throne

8)     to seize power

9)      ascendancy

10)to come to power

11) to be assassinated

12) inauguration

13) to marry

14) to betray

15) amalgamation

Script words given in the list reflect main events in history of Great Britain. Most of script words represented includes typically bivalent predicates and their nominalizations. They fix in their semantics the meaning of interrelation between two participants. Behind them there are social forces in relation of conflict, confrontation to one another. Such script words are chosen or newly created as derivatives in the practice of historical narration.

2. Syntactic and Semantic Valences of script words

It is well known that all verbs have syntactic valences, which means they demand in sentence the presence of other words in the functions of the subject and the object. Allerton was the first to put forward the idea of Semantic Valence. He combined subject and object valences of the verb with the semantic roles of the nouns in the same subject and object’s positions.

We have to mention that semantics of script words is of verbal nature and character. Thus we can suggest that script words have syntactic and semantic valences. Some of them are obligatory, others – optional.

Obligatory Semantic Valences

It is clear that if there is an action (each script word refers to some action) there must always be an agent and a patient. There must be an agent in the syntactic function of a subject who performs this action and an object of this action (patient) in the function of an object. The analysis of the script words which occur in the language of historical narration shown that bivalent script predicates and script verbal nouns prevail in text.

1) Agent-Patient

Semantically the two obligatory valence of a script word are filled in by the roles of the agent and patient. The dictionary definition of a script word unrolls the semantic role of one of the participants rather than syntactic function of the word in a sentence, but sometimes semantic and syntactic roles of a script word may correlate so closely that they may be inferred from the definition of the word in the dictionary.

For example, the script predicate “to assassinate” is presented in the dictionary as follows:

assassinate – to murder (a ruler, a politician, or other important person): “the only prime minister to be assassinated”; “the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand” (W.E.Burns).

This verb as many others script predicates (to kidnap, to kill, to betray etc.) is transitive and demands the presence of the subject and direct object in the semantic roles of the agent and the patient.

There are also script words like “to mutiny” (to rebel, to riot, to protest) in the semantics of which the presence of two obligatory participants cannot be inferred from transitivity of the original verb. Such words are called pseudo-intransitive. The presence of two obligatory participants in the semantics of such verbs and their noun derivatives may be also deduced from the definition given in the dictionary.

For example:

mutiny [against] – grouped armed opposition against ruling powers:

“The naval mutinies of 1797 and the French-aided Irish Rebellion of 1798 precipitated another wave of repressive legislation..”

“They rioted frequently, often over mundane issues such as taxes or the price of the bread, but also over religious issues.”

“He rebelled against the movement toward reasonableness in religion…” (W.E.Burns).

The presence of the semantic valence filled in by the role of the patient is implied in the given word because of the constant usage of the preposition “against” in each case which is explicitly reflected in the dictionary.

So far we have discussed script words with a clearly expressed verbal nature (script predicates and verbal script nouns). These are cases when obligatory syntactic valences of the verbs keep their validity in script nouns as semantic valences. But script words like “trial” are not derivative from verbs, so there may be some difficulty in proving the presence in its semantics of two obligatory participant valences. Nevertheless, “trial” has verb content in its semantics which can be taken from the definition of this word in the dictionary:

trial (an act of) – hearing and judging a person, case or point of law in court… (Dictionary of English Language and Culture, p. 1413).

“The accusation of 24 witches in trial sentenced three men and four women to death” (W.E. Burns).

The word “act” in this example indicates at the verb nature of the script noun “trial” and the word “person” – at the presence of an object of the action (patient). Moreover the potential agentive participant is also indicated, that is “law” or “court”.

2) Agent – Factitive

Script words like “alliance”, “union”, “amalgamation” have the obligatory semantic valences of the agent (those who create alliance, union, etc.) and the factitive (the alliance, union itself).

The Relations between the Semantic Participants of the Same Script Word

Semantics of a script word is a structure in which syntactic valences and semantic valences interact with a specific lexical meaning of the word. And it is the lexical meaning that defines the character of semantic relations between the main participants.

1. Hostile relations

All the script names having the agent and the patient as obligatory semantic valences (assassination, fight, battle, rebellion, kidnapping, killing, etc.) imply that their participants stand in the relationship of confrontation to each other. The actions of the agent are against the patient as a rule. Agents are inclined to use force against patients who usually suffer.

Within the scripts of a comparatively higher semantic rank represented in the text by the script nouns like "war", "rebellion", "mutiny" the participants may change their roles of the agent and patient depending on the course of events. For example, the attacker (agent) in the first fight of the war may be besieged by the enemy in the second fight of the same war, thus, becoming the patient. But in spite of this instability in the "agent- patient" relationship between the same participants, the semantic structure of the corresponding script name is not affected.

2. Relations of Solidarity

Further analysis sorted out another type of relationship between the semantic participants of a script name. Several agents of such script words are united in alliance (economic and political). They act in cooperation or are involved in the same events as equal participants performing a common function. The examples of such script names are:  "wedding", "engagement", etc.

 Optional Semantic Valences

Besides the obligatory semantic valences each script name possesses optional or potential semantic valences. They may be filled in and may be not in opposition to the obligatory valences which are always materialized in the sentence by the corresponding words. These valences are: locative, temporal and instrumental (for the script words which do not denote natural calamities and catastrophes).

In the sentence words and expressions performing these semantic roles are usually used in the syntactic function of an adverbial modifier.


Conclusion to the Chapter 1

1. The semantics of the script words common for the language of historical narration contains syntactic and semantic valences.

2. The semantic analysis of script words has singled out three types of bivalent script names:

a) script words with the agent and the patient as the main participants (the largest group of script words);

b) script words with the agent and factitive as the main participants.                 

3. The relationship between the main participants of the same script word may be that of hostility and that of solidarity.

















Chapter 2

The linguistic analysis of the Script Types in Historical narration

The linguistic analysis of the Script Types in Historical narration leads us to the following classification:

1) One script stated by the corresponding script word.

2) Multiple script structure (including frames). The relationship between different script words of the same news item is that of semantic inclusion (subordination).

3) Multiple script structure (including frames). The relationship between the script words of the same news item is that of equality in semantic status, but the are arranged in a strict temporal sequence.


In this type one single script is linguistically activated by the use of the corresponding script noun or script predicate.

The most complete version of this type will be a script predicate all semantic valences (obligatory and optional) of which are filled in.


1) “Edward Mannock killed 47 of enemy aircraft during World War II, although some have claimed a total as high as 73” (W.E. Burns, p.179).

In this example obligatory semantic valences of the script predicate "killed" are filled in with noun phrases denoting participants involved into the act of killing, one - in the role of the agentive participant ("Edward Mannock"), the other - in the role of the patient ("47 of enemy aircraft"), where "47" is the quantifier. Syntactically the agentive participant is given the subject position and function in the sentence; the patient is given the position and function of the object of the sentence. Optional semantic valence refers to another opinion of a number of killed enemies “some claimed a total as high as 73”; another optional valence refers to time, when this “scenario” happened – “during World War II”.

2) “…the Germans killed more than 20,000 British civilians and wounded more than 30,000…” (W.E. Burns, p. 186).

In this sentence obligatory semantic valences of the script predicate "killed" are  the same as in the previous one  - two participants involved into the act of killing, one - in the role of the agentive participant ("the Germans"), the other - in the role of the patient ("British civilians"), where "20 000" is the quantifier. Optional semantic valence denotes additional information about victims of war “wounded more than 30 000”.

3) “Spencer Perceval was the only prime minister to be assassinated”, (W.E. Burns, p.148).

In this example only patient (Spencer Perceval) is mentioned. Due to historical facts we don’t know the name or identity of his killer. Thus in this sentence passive form of the verb is used in the script phrase “to be assassinated”. Thus this event should be understood as an act of political terrorism. There is no optional valence in this sentence, just ascertaining of the fact.

Conclusion to the first type

The listener's comprehension of the information concluded in sentence depends on a well defined script (as a cognitive structure) and on a linguistic declaration of this script, that is the presence in the micro-text (the text of one individual sentence) of a word which explicitly refers to a particular script ("killing", "bombing", "assassinating" etc.) or indirectly indicates at the presence of some script when containing obligatory participants ("rebels", "strikers", "rioters").

The script words (and words denoting obligatory participants of a script) activate in the listener's memory all script knowledge deducible from its semantics.

Thus, to make the target information short but clear to the listener sentences are linguistically organized as a combination of a script (or words) like "killing" in our case, words specifying its obligatory participant constituents (“the Germans” as a killers, "20 000 British civilians" as victims) and words expressing its optional constituents (usually, instrumental, locative or temporal). Syntactically the obligatory semantic valences can be realized as subject and object of the sentence.

Optional semantic valences of a script word can be an attribute or an adverbial modifier in the sentence.

Schematically the semantic structure of a news item with script information may be presented as follows: SCRIPT WORD + OBLIGATORY VALENCIES + OPTIONAL VALENCIES.

This picture is repeated from one sentence, which contain script words, to another and can be referred not only to the first type of news items but also to the other three which are further described in detail.


The second type is constituted by the multiple script structure. The news items of this type contain scripts (or frames) stated as parts of other scripts (frames) (as subscripts of scripts). The relationship between a subscript and its super ordinate script is that of semantic inclusion (subordination).


1) “The British were actually pioneers in the use of bombing in  war,  having  bombed the  civilian  populations  of  Iraqi villages to put down a rebellion in 1922” (W. E. Burns, p. 196).

In this sentence "use of bombing", “having bombed” are the expressions which are not enough to be identified as a script phrase if used outside the context. But the existence of two conflicting sides "the British" and “Iraqi” refers to the frame within which the script phrase "use of bombing" should be understood as a strict political measure to “put down a rebellion”. This shows that the expressions "use of bombing", “having bombed” (which in this particular context have a script structure) must be further modified in order to be understood as belonging to a particular script.

One of the optional semantic valences of this script is explicitly represented by the noun phrase "of Iraqi villages", in which the attributive member "Iraqi" additionally refers to the name of one of the participants. In this example "The British" are in the role of the agent and “Iraqi” as a patient.

2) “The last mass execution of witches in Britain, and indeed in western Europe, took place at the Scottish town of Paisley in 1697. … A second commission with authority to try the case tried 24 accused witches, sentencing three men and four women to death. They were hanged, and their bodies burned on June 10” (W. E. Burns, p. 127).

In this example, analyzing script phrases we can reconstruct the chain of events on the scale of semantic hierarchy: “accused” >> “sentenced to death” >> “hanged, burned”. This chain denotes the main event, which combines all this features – “execution of witches”.

3) “The riots, led by the erratic Scottish demagogue Lord George Gordon (1751–93), lasted  four days and  resulted in extensive property destruction,  although  little  loss  of life.  Newgate Prison was razed and the prime minister’s house attacked” (W. E. Burns, p. 143-144).

“Razing of Newgate prison” and “attacking the prime minister’s house” are reported not as isolated items (taken by themselves) but as an episodes in the process of “the riot”, which is a higher frame. So script phrase “the riot” in this example is the super ordinate script, within other events happen. This implies the existence of a series of events dedicated to this problem, but communicated in different times. It suggests the existence of a serial.

Conclusion to the second type

Analyzing the news items of the second type we have discovered that there are three ways of establishing between script words of one and the same news item of the relationship of semantic inclusion. It is possible when:

1) the lexical meaning of one script word includes another script word within vocabulary;

2) within the particular textual structure when the semantic inclusion is supported syntactically.

3) the super ordinate script and the corresponding script name is imposed on the listener as the light in which the reported events should be interpreted.


To this type belong sentences with a multiple script structure. They contain several script words belonging to the same semantic rank (as semantic equals). The main problem of script organization of a sentence in such cases is that of establishing temporal relationship between the script words in one sentence.

1) “In April and May 1797, mutinies by sailors at Spithead and the Nore were precipitated less  by sympathy with the French Revolution than by low pay,  often in  arrears, and poor  food  and working conditions. The government under Pitt resolved the riot with concessions to the sailors and punishment of the ringleaders of the Nore Deet…” (W. E. Burns, p.146)

The narration is organized in two sentences. In each of them there is one script noun ("mutiny", "riot"). The predicates in both sentences have the forms of Past Simple which suggests that the two events represented by the script nouns "demonstration" and "clashes" are close in time, happened one after each other.  On the temporal axis it can be represented as follows:


2) “The navy, recovering from the mutinies, won an important victory under the greatest admiral of the time, Horatio Nelson (1758–1805), at the Battle of the Nile in 1798, which forced Napoleon to abandon his Egyptian expedition” (W.E. Burns, p. 147)

Four script words are all concentrated in one sentence to show the chain of events. The temporal relationship between them can be represented schematically as follows:


Tense forms show us how these events are connected with each other. “Victory” happened while the navy was in process of “recovering after mutinies”, that “forced Napoleon to abandon his Egyptian expedition”. In this example we can also mention creation of the meaning of purpose by using infinitive form in phrase “forced Napoleon to abandon”. This is another way to establish of following in time between script words.

3) “The postwar period was marked by violent repression of dissent, most notably the massacre of Peterloo in 1819, when 11 peaceful demonstrators for parliamentary reform with a broader franchise were massacred by the yeomanry…” (W.E. Burns, p.149).

This is another example of a multiple script usage in one sentence. Script nouns in this sentence are in “consuming” connection. One of the “violent repressions” was “the massacre of Peterloo”, so the first script phrase contains the second in logical way. Optional valences denote an agent, a quantifier and temporal moment of mentioned event.

Conclusion to the third type

The analysis of the news items belonging to the third r>pc has revealed the following ways of establishing temporal relation* between semantically equal script words within one news item:


a) by the contrast of Tense forms;

b) by use of the infinitive in the meaning of purpose;

c) by means of syntax;

d) semantically (relations of cause and effect);

Pragmatically  - by logical elaboration based on common knowledge.



1. Script as a cognitive structure is a sequence of stereotypical events kept in memory as one whole.

2. In the natural language script is presented by the corresponding script word.

3. The verbal nature of a script word defines the presence in its semantics of the semantic participants (performing the corresponding semantic roles in the sentence).

4. In historical narrative participants of scenarios are usually complicated. Agents and patients in script phrase denote different collectives: the government, the British, civilians, the parliament, army forces etc.

4. There can be three types of sentences in historical narration according to the quantity of script words and the semantic and temporal relations between them.

5. Scripted words in one sentence are usually connected with each other.

6. Scenarios of different events can be gathered into serials scripted on a higher semantic level.












1. Лингвистический энциклопедический словарь, М, 1990.

2.Вольф Е. М., Романова Г.С., Семантика общесобытийных существительных и их роль в тексте, Калинин, 1979

3. Петрова В. В., Герасимова В. И., Новое в зарубежной лингвистике, когнитивные аспекты языка, выпуск 23, М, 1988

4. Поздеев М.М., Сценарные слова и их нарративные функции (материалы научной конференции 26-28 марта 1996г.). М., 1998. - С. 4143.

5. Филлмор Ч., Фреймы и семантика понимания, М, 1988.

6.  Allerton D.J., Valency and the English verb, London, 1982.

7. Dictionary of English language and culture, Longman, 1992

8. Burns W.E., A brief history of Great Britain, 2010

9. Frame conceptions and text understanding, Ed. by Metzing, NY, 1980

10. Jenette J., Narrative discourse, N.Y., 1983

11. Schank & Abelson R., Scripts, Plans, Goals and Understanding, 1972


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   Загружено переводчиком: Некрасов Дмитрий Юрьевич Биржа переводов 01
   Язык оригинала: английский    Источник: курсовая работа автора