«DOI: 10.1515/jolace-2015-0013 Causative get-constructions in the dialogued passages in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novels The Beautiful and Damned and ...»
For the same reason, she says that women often add a “tag question” to statements in sentences, such as, “I did lock the door, didn’t I?” Lakoff (1975, p. 15) asserts that question tags are used “when the speaker is stating a claim, but lacks full confidence in the truth of that claim.” The above seems to be in line with Włodarczyk-Stachurska (2011b, p. 116) who claims in a similar vein that talking of language as used by women it seems that there is a great deal in women’s speech in English that reflects extra politeness, one aspect of which is leaving a decision open, not imposing your mind, views or claims on the interlocutor. Note that two patterns seem to reveal this decisively; namely the abundant use of question tags (“The price of mincemeat is terrible, isn’t it?”), and the high frequency of a rising intonation on utterances that are not syntactically questions.
verbs of perception or cognition (e.g. I wonder if). What is more, Mulac et al. (2001) report that men use more words which refer to quantity, more directives (e.g. Write this down), more adjectives of judgmental character (e.g. good, dumb) and more I references than women. In contrast, according to the scholars, women make a greater use of more intensive adverbs (e.g. really, so), uncertainty verbs (e.g.
seems to, maybe), and negations (e.g. not, never) than men. In their speech, they also refer to emotions more often than men. However, Mulac et al. did not find gender differences in the use of tag questions.
Crystal (1987, p. 21) pays attention to the strategies adopted by the men and women in cross-gender conversation. Crystal observes that women have been found to ask more questions, make more use of positive and encouraging “noises” (such as mhm), use a wider intonational range and more marked rhythmical stress, and make greater use of the pronouns you and we By contrast, men are much likely to interrupt (more than three times as much, in some studies), to dispute what has been said, to introduce more new topics into the conversation, and to make more declarations of fact or opinion. (ibid.) As can be seen, some of Crystal’s observations are in line with findings by some of the aforementioned researchers. Definitely, Crystal recognizes that there are conversational differences in the speech of males and that of females.
Let us also address the issue of swear words in the speech of the two genders. In the words of Włodarczyk-Stachurska (2011a, p. 491), “almost universally, today men feel freer to use swear words, while women were – until quite recently – merely limited to such exclamations as sugar and shoot”.
What this means is that men nowadays swear much more often than in the past. It is also observed that there is a trend in women to use taboo language which was not the case some time ago. WłodarczykStachurska (2011a) also quotes Mulac and Lundell (1986) as well as Mehl and Pennebaker (2003) who observe that men tend to use longer words, use more articles and make more references to locations.
Above we have briefly presented the most prominent differences between the language of men and women in English. This outline of gendered speech will serve as a background to our subsequent analysis. Since there appears to be a consensus with regard to the fact that the speech of males and females differs, we will check whether the causative get is used similarly or differently by men and women in the two of Fitzgerald’s novels. This will be done by examining the dialogued occurrences found in the novels. Before we do that, the group of English periphrastic causatives will be sketchily addressed.
Periphrastic causative verbs in English Causativity is one of the most controversial and often discussed issues in philosophy, philosophy of language and linguistics. Discussion over the analysis of English causative constructions has occupied a prominent space in modern linguistic theory. Lakoff (1970), Babcock (1972), Cruse (1972), Baron (1974), Shibatani (1976), Olszewska (1986), Levin and Rappaport Hovav (1994) and Stalmaszczyk (1997) include causation as a basic notion in syntactic and semantic analysis. In English, the causative relation can be realised in a number of surface structure expressions, which are typically divided into two groups: lexical causatives (causative verbs) and syntactic structures. In the latter group, one finds periphrastic constructions with causative verbs: causative cause, have, get, let and make.
Baron (1974, p. 308) says that seven different types of complements occur with periphrastic causative verbs in Modern English, that is, the infinitive, present participle, finite clause, noun, adjective, past participle and locative. However, not every periphrastic may be used with every complement.
Periphrastic causatives fall into two groups as far as their infinitival complementation is concerned:
verbs taking to-infinitive and verbs occurring with bare infinitives as their complements. Because of its permissive/causative meaning, let occupies a special position among English periphrastic causatives.
The most prominent causative verbs taking bare infinitive complements are make and let. Both of them
have near-paraphrases taking full infinitives (for a detailed discussion over the periphrastic causative cause, make, have, get and let see Baron, 1974, p. 308; and Olszewska, 1986, p. 63).
Social motivation in the use of causative get Now, we seem to be prepared to start our material investigation of how get-related causative constructions happen to be distributed in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Beautiful and Damned and Tender Is the Night. Our basic expectation is that we can find some motivation for the get-constructions, motivation being extra-linguistic in its nature. What we mean is that our research question goes beyond structural and formal considerations. In other words, we believe that the motifs for triggering the use of causative get are of social, rather than structural, nature. Generally, we opt for the kind of sociolinguistics which presents language not as system of arbitrary systemic relations, but as a record of human conceptualization and experience. What this means in practice results in justifying (motivating) linguistic forms and structures (here: periphrastic causative get) not by a purely linguistic syntagmatic relations, but by extra-linguistic considerations, such as gender of the interlocutors.
The two aforesaid novels will serve as our material basis. Our analysis will focus only on the dialogued passages occurring in the novels, as this will ensure that the causative constructions are produced by one of the two genders and will be directed to representatives of one or two genders. By using the two novels as our material basis, the aim of our research is not to analyse the actual utterances produced by men and women, as those found in various corpora, but to see how the causative get is operated by Fitzgerald and whether his characters, males and females use the verb differently. Our major goal is to investigate whether the gender of the interlocutors influence in any way the occurrence of the causative get.
Analysis Data under examination Our data have been derived from the two novels by F. Scott Fitzgerald: The Beautiful and Damned and Tender is the Night and they comprise 20 occurrences of the periphrastic causative get.2 As far as the former novel is concerned, among the get occurrences analysed, one finds 9 get occurrences. With regard to the latter novel, our scrutiny refers to 11 cases of get. The specific examples are presented in the Appendix, Tables 2-3 (Table 2 in the Appendix refers to the causative get found in the former novel, whereas Tables 3 in the Appendix refers to the causative get found in the latter one).
Data distribution In The Beautiful and Damned, get is used 9 times; 8 occurrences appear in the dialogued passages (Table 2 in the Appendix), whereas in Tender Is the Night, the verb is used 11 times; 9 cases of the verb are found in the dialogued passages (Table 3 in the Appendix). Therefore, in total, the causative get is used 20 times in both novels: 3 times in the narrated passages and 17 times in the dialogued ones. With regard to the dialogued occurrences, get is used by a male character 13 times and is addressed 10 times to another male character, and 3 times to a female character. Female characters use causative get 4 times: 4 times to male characters and once to a female character; this is so, because one of the We should stress the fact that our analysis refers only to those constructions where the causer and the causative 2 verb are accompanied by the object of causative action (causee) and the complement of the causative verb, and as in the examples: Air’ll get the rotten nicotine out of your lungs (Fitzgerald, 1922, p. 30). Therefore, examples with one or more of the above-mentioned elements missing have been disregarded. Moreover, it should be stressed that some of the analysed verbs may receive causative or non-causative interpretation, as in the example: This is just a change—the situation is a father’s problem with his son—the father can’t get the son up here (Fitzgerald, 1934, p.
355). Then “getting the son up here” could be interpreted as “bringing the son here” or “causing someone to bring the son here”.
occurrences is addressed both to male and female characters. So, the above-mentioned observations
may be summarised by means of the following symbols:
Moreover, our analysis with regard to the causative get (Tables 2-3 in the Appendix) reveals certain
generalizations as found in the dialogued passages of both novels:
Causative get is used 13 times by male characters, whereas it is used 5 times by females ones.
Therefore, male characters use causative get 2.6 times more frequently than female ones.
Causative get is used 10 times by a male character addressing another male character, whereas it is used 3 times by a male character addressing a female character. Therefore, male characters use causative get 3.33 times more frequently when addressing other male characters than female characters.
(3) get F/M (4) ~ F/F (1) 4x Causative get is used 4 times by a female character addressing a male character, whereas it is used once by a female character addressing another female character. Therefore, female characters use causative get 4 times more frequently when addressing male characters than female characters.
So, our expectation is, at least at this stage, that, pragmatically, we can talk about something like “masculine” get, which is that as a causative verb, get is a characteristic of men’s talk as well as the expected form while female characters address male ones. Let us go into specific contexts to see whether or not this could be so. As a check-up on our prediction, we will examine all the getoccurrences in both novels in terms of the speaker-hearer power relation, speaker’s mood as well as the speaker’s attitude expressed. By doing so we would like to investigate whether masculinity associated with causative get in the two novels by Fitzgerald can be associated with some other traits.
As evidenced in Table 1, which presents the specific characterisation of the causative get-contexts, there does not seem to be any particular pattern in either the speaker’s mood or the speaker’s attitude expressed that would trigger the use of causative get. The speaker’s mood can be anything from relaxed and confident through good and jovial to excited and irritated, whereas the speaker’s attitude expressed towards what is being talked about has an equally vast range, from negative through neutral to positive.
In other words, the mood exemplified by the speaker can be as desirable as jovial and as low as depressed. A similar observation can be dropped in regard to the attitude that the speaker expresses towards the subject matter of a given dialogue: the attitude can be as much mocking or disapproving as favourable and approving, with neutrality possible as well. At the same time, as we see in the Table above, no correlations between the type of the speaker’s mood and the type of the speaker’s attitude expressed towards what is being talked about have been found.
However, when it comes to the speaker-hearer power relation, the speaker’s superiority seems to definitely outnumber the inferiority cases. This would mean that the causative get can more readily be found when the speaker assumes power position rather than when the speaker exemplifies the inferior position. As one can observe, what is important is that the superiority in most cases equals masculinity.
Our numbering here corresponds to the order of the get examples in Table 2 and 3 in the Appendix. The specific 3 examples are, then, referred to by the table and the occurrence number.
4 The above-mentioned symbols should be understood as follows: (M) – male, (F) – female, (MF) – male and female,
This would be in line with what Tannen (1990) claims, namely, that men’s speech often reflects their power. For the reasons stated above, we propose that in the case of causative get, the masculinity of the speakers can, as a rule, be viewed in a strong and direct connection with their superiority; similarly, their superiority cannot be considered without associating it with masculinity.