By Stefano Cotrozzi
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Extra resources for Expect the Unexpected: Aspects of Pragmatic Foregrounding in Old Testament Narratives
14 He de¿nes foregrounding as the cumulative effect that emerges “whenever some item or construction appears in a text with unusual or noticeable frequency and apparently for 13. Halliday’s approach has been recently applied to New Testament Greek discourse by Martin-Asensio (2000). My contention is to show that Halliday’s functional grammar may be useful in the study of the New Testament. He applies Hopper and Thompson’s (1980) transitivity scale together with Halliday’s notion of transitivity and ergativity to some episodes of Acts.
It is worth noting that the idea of literature as deviation from everyday language put forth by the Formalists was not a new one. ) stated in his Poetics that “contrast with the standard, and divergence from the usual, will create an out-of-the-ordinary impression” (Poetics XXII). References to estrangement are also found in Lucian, Dio Chrysostom, Voltaire, Novalis (Stacy 1977), P. B. Shelley (Miall and Kuiken 1994), S. T. Coleridge and J. Cocteau (Erlich 1965, 179–80). 3. Shklovsky himself does not speak of foregrounding.
First, foregrounding is contextually dependent. Its speci¿c functions and effects cannot be determined without considering the context in which the foregrounded element is located. In his words: Since foregrounding produces extra structuring, since there is no invariant relationship between form and meaning, and since the interpretation of any linguistic sign must come about within the global framework of communication, with its dimensions of text, context, discourse type, historical circumstance, writer and reader positioning, then clearly foregrounding cannot be assigned a set of speci¿c, pre-determined, catalogued functions (or effects), but only a mid-level general function, that of drawing attention to the sign that is foregrounded.
Expect the Unexpected: Aspects of Pragmatic Foregrounding in Old Testament Narratives by Stefano Cotrozzi