Work-Notes on Modern Welsh Narrative Syntax (II): Presentatives in Narrative


Shisha-Halevy, A., 2016. Work-Notes on Modern Welsh Narrative Syntax (II): Presentatives in Narrative. Journal of Celtic Linguistics , 17 , pp. 97–146.


The paper assigns, in a ‘pointillistic’ structural profile, narrative functions to dyma and dyna, formal presentatives, in syntactic detail and macrosyntactic patterning, on the database of Kate Roberts’s short stories and novellas.1 The extensive distribution and rich functional range of these elements matches their formal complexity and narratological significance. This presentative pair, expanded by verbal, substantival or pronominal presentates, form six narrative tenses, distinct formally and functionally, in complex interplay with their environment.

In fact, however, dyma and dyna comprise doubly two homonyms: dyma/dyna presentatives, and dyma/dyna referential pronouns, typically rhematic or focal.

Following a descriptive breakdown of the syntactic properties of the presentatives, the Presentative Narrative Tenses (PNTs) I to VI are discussed.

Functionally striking and statistically prevalent is (PNT I) # dyma + noun phrase/personal pronoun + yn-converb2#, where we encounter two homonymous sub-tenses: the first with specific scenic or theatrical (‘dramatic’, narratologically scene-setting) semantics; the second non-scenic, but tagmemically functional. It is noteworthy that the entire presentative clause is high-level, narratologically rhematic or focal to the preceding text: it contains the key event. The presentative signals immediacy between narrator, reader and narrated character.

Two presentative narrative tenses are non-verbal: adverbial presentates (dramatic presentation of motion) and scenic presentation of nouns.

Another major issue treated here concerns the anaphoric pronouns dyna and dyma, rhematic in Nominal Sentence and Cleft Sentence patterns.

See also: Modern Welsh
Last updated on 01/18/2018