Dec 1, 1982
Journal of Pragmatics
Abstract Story grammarians have generally supposed that stories and sentences are similar sorts of objects, and that therefore, stories can be analyzed by grammars in a fashion analogous to that often done for sentences. However, stories and sentences can be shown to be members of thoroughly different categories that share few properties with one another. In particular, sentences are linguistic objects, whereas stories are demonstrably extra-linguistic in nature. The import of this distinction is that applying grammars to stories bears no analogy to applying grammars to sentences; moreover, the alleged benefits of such application, such as a derived constituent structure, can be shown to be illusory. In contrast to a grammatical approach, a theory of stories based on characterizing the possible contents of stories is likely to be more productive.