Research Seminars

Research seminars

'Colloquialization' in fiction: a corpus-driven analysis of present-tense fiction 

Reiko Ikeo (Lancaster University)

Over the past decade, more and more writers have used the present tense as the primary tense for their fictional narratives instead of the past tense. This paper shows that contemporary present-tense fiction has more characteristics which are similar to spoken discourse than past-tense fiction by comparing lexis and structures in two corpora: a corpus consisting of present-tense narratives and a corpus of past-tense narratives. It also discusses how the use of the present tense affects the management of viewpoint in narrative by relating its lexical, structural characteristics to the presentation of characters’ speech and thoughts.