Modes of Wording Direct into Indirect Speech in Intercultural Communication

  • Olga A. ObdalovaEmail author
  • Ludmila Yu. Minakova
  • Aleksandra V. Soboleva
  • Evgeniya V. Tikhonova
Conference paper
Part of the Advances in Intelligent Systems and Computing book series (AISC, volume 907)


This paper aims to determine the modes of wording indirect reporting of authentic direct utterances by Russian learners of English. We claim that since the process of transferring someone else’s speech involves implication and inferences of the speaker and the hearer correspondingly, when conveying the meaning of the speaker’s authentic message in the form of indirect speech the personal context of the utterance plays a vital role. The experiment to check the hypothesis that direct speech requires not only grammatical and lexical transformations but also a complex pragmatic enrichment was organized. The reporting verbs used by the participants of the experiment to convey the speaker’s intention and the presentation of the speaker’s identity were analyzed. The study proved that when conveying the speaker’s authentic speech meaning in the form of indirect speech the listeners need to shift from the reporting speaker’s perspective to the reported speaker’s perspective to comply with an actual communicative meaning of the utterance. Thus, a foreign language context of communication imposes additional linguistic, extra linguistic, and pragmatic difficulties on the process of English language learners’ interpreting of the utterance which is cognitively demanding and needs to be persistently developed.


Direct speech Reported speech Cognitive processes Person identification Reporting verbs 



We would like to thank Istvan Kecskes, Professor of Linguistics and Education at the State University of New York, Albany, the President of the American Pragmatics Association and Editor-in-Chief of the journals Intercultural Pragmatics (De Gruyter) and the Mouton Series in Pragmatics for his supervision, advice and guidance from a very early stage of this research.


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Tomsk State UniversityTomskRussian Federation
  2. 2.Tomsk Scientific Center SB of RASTomskRussian Federation

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