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Grammatik der Narration

Grammar of Narration
  • Sonja Zeman EMAIL logo


Is there a ‚narrative syntax‘, i. e. a special grammar restricted to narrative fiction? Starting from this question which has been investigated since early structuralism, the paper focusses on grammatical characteristics of narrative discourse mode and their implications for a linguistic theory of narration. Its goal is two-fold: In a first step, the traditional accounts by Benveniste, Hamburger, Kuroda and recent typological studies are brought together in order to support the claim that the distinction between narrative and non-narrative discourse mode is a fundamental one that has consequences for the use of grammar. In a second step, I discuss three central questions within the intersection between narrative micro- and macro-structures, namely (i) the definition of narrativity, (ii) the status of the narrator, and (iii) the relation between narration and fictionality. In sum, the article argues that investigations on the ‘grammar of narration’ do not just offer insights into a specific text configuration next to others, but are deeply linked to fundamental theoretical questions concerning the architecture of language – and that the comparison between linguistic and narratological categories offers a potential for addressing them.


Ich danke den Herausgeber/Innen der ZGL und den Teilnehmer/Innen des Kolloquiums für die Diskussion sowie insbesondere Angelika Linke für ihre wertvollen Kommentare zum vorliegenden Artikel.


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Published Online: 2020-12-01
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