Proofreading Service - Pain in the English
Proofreading Service - Pain in the English

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Proofreading Service - Pain in the English
Proofreading Service - Pain in the English

Your Pain Is Our Pleasure

24-Hour Proofreading Service—We proofread your Google Docs or Microsoft Word files. We hate grammatical errors with passion. Learn More

Indirect Speech?

I was quite comfortable with the concept of direct and indirect speech that had been drummed into my head by a succession of teachers at the schools I attended in the 50s and 60s.

However the term “indirect speech”, like so many other facets of the English language, has now apparently undergone a change.

At least that is what one noted linguist would have us believe.

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Whilst I agree that the term "indirect speech" has almost always been used in writing to refer to "reported speech", it has on occasion been used to refer to oblique or circuitous ways of addressing a topic. For instance, in some tome on Quakerism from 1808:

http://books.google.co.nz/books?id=bNQ3AAAAYAAJ&pg=PA16&dq=%22indirect+speech%22&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiC6JPy37XNAhWEi5QKHbBkB844ChDoAQhBMAk#v=onepage&q=%22indirect%20speech%22&f=false

and in Judson's Burmese-English dictionary 1893 "this speech is indirect and circuitous":

http://books.google.co.nz/books?id=LSEYAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA258&dq=%22speech+is+indirect%22&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjo36aQ37XNAhULFpQKHQ_HD_gQ6AEIHDAA#v=onepage&q=%22speech%20is%20indirect%22&f=false

The question for you would be if the term "indirect speech" is not to be used for these types of polite roundabout ways of addressing a topic, what other terminology could be used?

jayles the unwoven Jun-20-2016

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We could call it "oblique speech", or even "roundabout speech", or we could use a derivative of euphemism, metaphor, or allegory.
I am sure there a a number of terms that could be used to avoid the inevitable confusion caused by the use of the term "indirect speech" in this context.
.
Perhaps a simpler solution would be to refer

user106928 Jun-25-2016

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Oops.
Forgive the extra line in my previous post.
A thought that died at birth.

:)

user106928 Jun-25-2016

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