Conversational routines in Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice” and across lingua-cultures

31 May 2024
Room H1

Conversational routines in Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice” and across lingua-cultures

Conversation plays a central role in Jane Austen’s novels and in Pride and Prejudice (1813) in particular. The novel paints a vivid picture of Georgian life and social dynamics in rural England, as characters and their social standing are shaped through conversation, which followed precise rules dictating what to say and how to say it in public encounters (Morini, 2008). Conversational routines (Coulmas, 1981) are extremely relevant to the analysis of dialogic exchanges, since they contribute to conducting social intercourse and negotiating social identity within a community (Bardovi-Harlig, 2012). They may display a varying degree of formulaicity and include speech acts such as greetings, apologies, thanks, etc. The present paper continues previous work (Sandrelli & Bonsignori, forthc.) with a focus on introductions, requests, and invitations, which are analysed diachronically in the novel and in three adaptations for the screen, namely the 1940 film (dir. Robert Z. Leonard), the 1995 TV miniseries (dir. Simon Langton) and the 2005 film (dir. Joe Wright). Then, the same conversational routines are analysed in the Italian dubbed versions of the three adaptations, in the first translation of the novel ever published in Italy (Caprin, 1932) and in a recent one by one of Italy’s leading literary translators (Pivano, 2007). Said conversational routines are investigated quantitatively and qualitatively through a cross-cultural pragmatic lens (House & Kádár, 2021) to verify how they were used in the adaptations (both when whole exchanges were taken from the novel and when narrative passages were transformed into dialogues on the screen), and, ultimately, how they were transposed in the Italian translations. More specifically, the analysis aims to ascertain whether the conversational routines of the English source texts were conveyed through the same speech acts (with the same illocutionary force) in the Italian target texts, thus preserving the effect.



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Coulmas, F. (1981). Conversational routines. Explorations in standardized communication situations and prepatterned speech. Mouton.

House, J. & Kádár, D. (2021). Cross-cultural pragmatics. Cambridge University Press.

Morini, M. (2008). Jane Austen’s dialogue: A linguistic analysis. Il Bianco e il Nero, 10, 11–28.

Sandrelli, A. & Bonsignori, V. (forthc.) Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice from the page to the screen: A diachronic analysis of source texts and Italian translations. In I. Ranzato & L. Valleriani (Eds.) English classics in audiovisual translation. Routledge.