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A) Uttered Represented Speech


Uttered represented speech demands that the tense should be switched from present to past and that the personal pronouns should be changed from 1st and 2nd person to 3rd person as in indirect speech, but the syntactical structure of the utterance does not change. For example:

"Could he bring a reference from where he now was? He could."


An interesting example of three ways of representing actual speech is to be seen in a conversation between Old Jolyon and June in Galsworthy's "Man of Property,"

"Old Jolyon was on the alert at once. Wasn't the "man of property" going to live in his new house, then? He never alluded to Soames now but under this title.

'No'June said—'he was not; she knew that he was not!'

How did she know?

She could not tell him, but she knew. She knew nearly for certain, It was most unlikely; circumstances had changed!"

The first sentence is the author's speech. In the second sentence 'Wasn't the "man..."' there is uttered represented speech: the actual speech must have been 'Isn't the...'. This sentence is followed by one from the author: 'He never... Ë Then again comes uttered represented speech marked off in inverted commas, which is not usual. The direct speech 'No—', the introductory 'June said' and the following inverted commas make the sentence half direct half uttered represented speech. The next sentence 'How did she know?' and the following one are clear-cut models of uttered represented speech: all the peculiarities of direct speech are preserved,


i, e. the repetition of 'she knew', the colloquial 'nearly for certain", the absence of any connective between the last two sentences and, finally, the mark of exclamation at the end of the passage. And yet the tenses and pronouns here show that the actual utterance passes through the author's mouth.

Two more examples will suffice to illustrate the use of uttered represented speech.

"A maid came in now with a blue gown very thick and soft. Could she do anything for Miss Freeland? No, thanks, she could not, only, did she know where Mr. Freeland's room was?"


The shift from the author's speech to the uttered represented speech of the maid is marked only by the change in the syntactical pattern of the sentences from declarative to interrogative, or from the narrative pattern to the conversational.

Sometimes the shift is almost imperceptible—the author's narrative sliding over into the character's utterance without any formal indications of the switch-over, as in the following passage:

"She had known him for a full year when, in London for a while and as usual alone, she received a note from him to say that he had to come up to town for a night and couldn't they dine together and go to some place to dance. She thought it very sweet of him to take pity on her solitariness and accepted with pleasure. They spent a delightful evening." (Maugham)

This manner of inserting uttered represented speech within the author's narrative is not common. It is peculiar to the style of a number of modern English and American writers. The more usual structural model is one where there is either an indication of the shift by some introductory word (smiled, said, asked, etc.) or by a formal break like a full stop at the end of the sentence, as in:

"In consequence he was quick to suggest a walk... Didn't Clyde want to go?" (Dreiser)

Uttered represented speech has a long history. As far back as the 18th century it was already widely used by men-of-letters, evidently because it was a means by which what was considered vulgar might be excluded from literature, i.e. expletives, vivid colloquial words, expressions and syntactical structures typical of the lively colloquial speech of the period. Indeed, when direct speech is represented by the writer, he can change the actual utterance into any mode of expression he considers appropriate.

In Fielding's "History of Tom Jones the Foundling" we find various ways of introducing uttered represented speech. Here are some interesting- examples:

"When dinner was over, and the servants departed, Mr., Alworthy began to harangue. He set forth, in a long speech, the

many iniquities of which Jones had been guilty, particularly those which this day had brought to light; and concluded by telling him, 'That unless he could clear himself of the charge, he was resolved to banish him from his sight for ever."'

In this passage there is practically no represented speech, inasmuch as the words marked off by inverted commas are indirect speech, i.e. the author's speech with no elements of the character's speech, and the only signs of the change in the form of the utterance are the inverted commas and the capital letter of 'That'. The following paragraph is built on the same pattern.

"His heart was, besides, almost broken already; and his spirits were so sunk, that he could say nothing for himself but acknowledge the whole, and, like a criminal in despair, threw himself upon mercy; Concluding, 'that though he must own himself guilty of many follies and inadvertencies, he hoped he had done nothing to deserve what would be to him the greatest punishment in the world.'"

Here again the introductory 'concluding' does not bring forth direct speech but is a natural continuation of the author's narrative. The only indication of the change are the inverted commas.

Mr. Alworthy's answer is also built on the same pattern, the only modification being the direct speech at the end.

"—Alworthy answered, "That he had forgiven him too often already, in compassion to his youth, and in hopes of his amendment: that he now found he was an abandoned reprobate, and such as it would be criminal in any one to support and encourage," 'Nay,' said Mr. Alworthy to him, 'your audacious attempt to steal away the young lady, calls upon me to justify my own character in punishing you.—'"

Then follows a long speech by Mr. Alworthy not differing from indirect speech (the author's speech) either in structural design or in the choice of words. A critical analysis will show that the direct speech of the characters in the novel must have undergone considerable polishing up in order to force it to conform to the literary norms of the period. Colloquial speech, emotional, inconsistent and spontaneous, with its vivid intonation suggested by elliptical sentences, breaks in the narrative, fragmentariness and lack of connectives, was banned from literary usage and replaced by the passionless substitute of indirect speech.

Almost in any work of 13th century literary art one will find that the spoken language is adapted to conform to the norms of the written language of the period. It was only at the beginning of the 19th century that the elements of colloquial English began to elbow their way into the sacred precincts of the English literary language. The more the process became apparent, the more the conditions that this created became favourable for the introduction of uttered represented speech as a literary device.


In the modern belles-lettres prose style, the speech of the characters is modelled on natural colloquial patterns. The device of uttered represented speech enables the writer to reshape the utterance according to the normal polite literary usage.

Nowadays, this device is used not only in the belles-lettres style. It is also efficiently used in newspaper style. Here is an example:

"Mr. Silverman, his Parliamentary language scarcely concealing his bitter disappointment, accused the government of breaking its pledge and of violating constitutional proprieties.

Was the government basing its policy not on the considered judgement of the House of Commons, but on the considered judgement of the House of Lords?

Would it not be a grave breach of constitutional duty, not to give the House a reasonable opportunity of exercising its rights under the Parliament Act?"

'Wait for the terms of the Bill,' was Eden's reply."

Uttered represented speech in newspaper communications is somewhat different from that in the belles-lettres style. In the former, it is generally used to quote the words of speakers in Parliament or at public meetings.


Date: 2015-12-18; view: 1835

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