Pavlenko Veronika Gennadievna
Stavropol State Pedagogical Institute
Candidate of Philological Science, senior lecturer at the chair of Foreign Languages

This article deals with the study of mental stage directions in line with the pragmatic theory. The research of mental stage directions will help to define their pragmatics in the English dialogical speech of plays. The stage directions of mental semantics are means of nonverbal communication. They implicit indirect and non-verbal expressions of thoughts, assessment. They also help to see the "deep" subtext, the interpersonal relations and an emotional state of the person. They facilitate the process of perception of the text and have a pragmatic information for a reader.

Keywords: mental, non-verbal communication, pragmatics, stage direction

Category: 10.00.00 Philology

Article reference:
Mental stage directions in the english dialogical speech of plays // Modern scientific researches and innovations. 2016. № 8 [Electronic journal]. URL:

View this article in Russian

INTRODUCTION. Now linguists are interested in the pragmalingvistics. According to I. V. Arnold: “Interest in studying of language continuously grows in pragmatical function, but it isn’t necessary to forget that the pragmalingvistics is in a formation stage, and functioning of language as major means of communication ” [1, S. 15].

The linguistics describes the language facts concerning activity of the person, its communication. The pragmatics allows to understand the real use of language units in their relation to communication process, i.e. to persons who use language, to a concrete extralinguistic situation, to the purposes and tasks of the concrete statement [2].

The term of the pragmatics means not only special area of knowledge, but also the certain qualities of the word and text connected with effect of their impact on the addressee. [1, S. 14-15].

The pragmatics of communication is often in the dialogical speech considered.  The ability to organize dialogue and to support conversation means ability of the person not only to communicate, but also the readiness to perceive other point of view, other culture [5].

AIM OF STUDY. To investigate mental stage directions in the plays.

DISCUSSION. A stage direction is the author’s description of some aspect of that play. As a rule, they create a pragmatical potential.  The author’s stage directions change the meaning. In most cases they express an emotional condition of the person and describe actions of heroes, their acts.

The tendency of using mental stage directions characterizing nonverbal indirect expressions of thoughts, condition of the character is practically always considered in the text of any play.  The examples of nonverbal communication are a thoughtful or pensive look, expressions of approval or disapproval.

The nonverbal expression of thought gives out a true condition of the character, transfers the reliable, more truthful picture of the events different from the declared information. The nonverbal expression transfers the thoughts and can strengthen or change meaning of words [3, S. 16].

It is known that two components interact in the play: author’s speech and direct speech. Therefore the stage directions connect an author’s narration and mental stage directions of characters. The connection of verbal and nonverbal systems is for real human communication results typical.

The mental stage directions transmit to readers all completeness of a psychological picture to action situations, and thank them the author’s position and intension is clearly looked through.

They play a large role in creation of subtext structures. They help to see the “deep” subtext contents connected with the hidden motives of their behavior behind direct contents of speeches of characters or their acts. The interpersonal relations are expressed by means of author’s stage directions.

The pragmatical function of the mental stage directions has deep structure of implicative expression[4].

They serve as means of expression of various thought processes of the person, namely express opinion.

The  mental stage directions were divided into groups:  verbs,  nouns and adverbs. The verbs of mental semantics: consider, think, ponder, reflect, muse. They express the intellectual processes of the person.

Example: [Blanche considers a moment; then she puts the phone down.] BLANCHE: “Give me a pencil. Where is a slip of paper? I’ve got to write it down first – the message, I mean…”[8]. The hero at first thinks a little, and then puts down phone reciever. The verb consider expresses the process of thinkin.

The nouns of mental semantics are: reflection, thought, consideration, doubt, meditation. Depending on the context, they can express both process of thinking and opinion.

Example:  AMANDA: “You smoke too much. A pack a day at fifteen cents a pack. How much would that amount to in a month? Thirty times fifteen is how much, Tom? Figure it out and you will be astounded at what you could save. Enough to give you a night-school course in accounting at Washington U! Just think what a wonderful thing that would be for you, Son!” TOM [TOM is unmoved by the thought]:” I’d rather smoke” [8].

The author shows thoughts of the person in this context. Negative statements of the hero made her thinking on harm of smoking. The noun thought indicates the mental process of the person.

The adverbs of mental semantics are: dreamily, dubiously, reflectively, thoughtfully, meditatively, musefully.

The adverb doubtfully emphasizes a condition of thoughtfulness of the character, mistrust, doubt. The question strengthens an emotional spirit of the hero.

Example: STELLA [kissing Blanche impulsively]: “It will happen!” BLANCHE [doubtfully]: “It will? STELLA: “It will! “[8].

Example:BLANCHE [dubiously]: “Wonderful, honey. I don’t like a bed that gives much. But there’s no door between the two rooms, and Stanley – will it be decent?” [7].

These adverbs transfer a mental condition of the person also nonverbally. The nonverbal mental stage directions transfer a mental condition.

Example: [He straightens at last and crosses to the inside door. At the door he turns and looks back as if he had some desperate question he couldn't put into words. Then he nods reflectively and says in a hoarse voiced]” Yes, all liars, all liars, all lying dying liars!” [6]. The exclamatory sentences strengthen an emotional state in the direct speech of the person.

The adverbs express opinion – a supposition, doubts, and non- verbally they transfer thoughtfulness of the character.

Example: BLANCHE [she pauses reflectively for a moment]: “I shouldn’t have called him” [7]. The adverb reflectively expresses nonverbal internal state of the hero.

These adverbs are also used with verbs of mental activity. These are the verbs of an epistemic modality: think, suppose, know, etc.

Example: “SERAFINA (retreating, doubtfully): Oh, you talk a sweet mouth. I think you talk a sweet mouth to fool a woman” [8].

Example: BLANCHE: Stella? Stella going to have a baby? [dreamily] of I didn’t know she was going to have a baby! [8].

Example: “Jim [doubtfully]: You know I have an idea I’ve seen you before. I had that idea soon as you opened the door. It seemed almost like I was about to remember your name” [8].

The use of adverbs with modal verbs and modal words have the semantics of assumption.

Example: HANNAH [nodding reflectively]: I suspected as much. Mr Shannon, in your touring party, do you think there might be anyone interested in my water colors? Or in my character sketches? SHANNON: I doubt it. I doubt that they’re corny enough to please my ladies. Oh-oh! [7].

The author’s mental stage directions can express internal state of mind of the person: fear, uncertainty, doubt.

Example: BLANCHE [snatching up a hairbrush]: Oh, I feel so good after my long, hot bath, I feel so good and cool and – rested! STELLA [sadly and doubtfully from the kitchen]: Do you, Blanche? [8].

CONCLUSION. The analysis of functioning of mental stage directions in the English dialogical speech of plays allowed to understand their pragmatics. We came to conclusion, the author’s mental stage directions depend on context.

  1. Arnold I. V. Stylistics. Modern English: Textbook. for colleges and universities. 7-e Izd. M.: Flinta: Nauka, 2005. 384 p.
  2. Ospanova Zh. M. literary Structure of the Dialogic text in the Russian language: grammatical and functional aspects // proceedings of the graduate student.dissertations. – Almaty, 2002. – 118 p
  3. Pavlenko V. G. Epistemic adverbs non-verbally-communicative content. Materials of the international practical conference: “Eastern partnership”. Series: Philological Sciences. Volume 3, Poland, 2014. S. 16-23
  4. Pavlenko V. G. Peculiarities of the structural and semantic organization of the mental values remarks in dramatic works. Materials of international scientific-practical conference. Series: Philology № 19, Prague, 2014. S. 43-48
  5. Shilina E. N. Language as a cultural code of the people | Language and culture. App. 2013. No. 2. p. 54-56.
  6. Williams T. Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. Publisher: Penguin (2009) 130×195, 144 p.
  7. Williams, T. The Night of the Iguana New Directions Publishing, 2009, 208 p.
  8. Williams T., Sweet Bird of Yourth. A Streetcar named desire. The Glass Menagerie [Text] / T. Williams. – 1983. – 313 p.

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One comment to “Mental stage directions in the english dialogical speech of plays”

  1. 29.09.2016 at 22:38

    Здравствуйте,скажите когда выйдет статья в РИНЦ?

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