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Pragmatics Analysis Based on the Novel “The Signalman and The Ghost at the Trail” by Charles Dickens

   1.   This is the first person point of view novel that represented as “ I ” (next, mentioned as I ) and the signalman. It was evening, there is no other man. The signalman just looked at the tunnel and I called him, but the man didn’t concern to I. Until I shouted him again

I                       : “Hello ! Hello!”
The signalman :           -                       ( He looked at I )

  • ·         This is direct speech act. Because this is the utterance that is used for calling some one and it pronounced directly. It’s like when we call someone by his/her name – directly.
  • ·         From the calling someone, “Hello!” is directive that speaker tries to make the hearer do something. In this case, I wanted the signalman to have concern to I because the man is looked strange. He was just busy with his signal.
  • ·         Perlocutionary Act : The man was surprised and tried to find where the sound was coming from. Finally, he found I on the cutting.

22.  After the man looked at I. I shouted at the man.

I                       : “I want to talk to you, is there a path into this cutting?”
The signalman :           -                       (the man looked up at I, but he didn’t reply)

Suddenly, a train came and the man did his job to make signal. After the train passed, the man stopped his job and pointed to left side. Then, I looked to the left. About three hundred feet away, there was a path.
  • ·         I talked to the man with question form that really indicated I ask to the man, where a path is located. It is direct speech act.
  • ·         What I said shows us that I asked the man to show him where a path was located because I wanted to know. This is the form of directive that the sentence indicates as  a commanding.
  • ·         Perlocutionary Act : The man pointed to the location of a path.

33.  The signalman had showed the path and I who was still on the cutting knew where the path is located.

I           : “Thank you!”

  • ·         “Thank you” can we know as expressive utterance directly after someone have been helped. So, it must be direct speech acts.
  • ·         This is an expressive utterance. The speaker expresses an attitude to the man after the man help I to find a path.
  • ·         It contains performative because it contain felicity condition :
             a) Preparatory Condition   : It was pronounced by the man who got helping.
             b) Condition of Execution : There was something had been helped.
             c) Sincerity Condition       : I said it seriously even he shouted it.

4.4.  I tried to talk with the signalman but the signalman was still silent, didn’t reply. There were many ways to get talking with the man. Then,

I                       : “I will tell you about my self. I worked in an office for thirty years. Now,
   I have retired from my work. I don’t do any work now.”
The signalman :                       -                       (the man didn’t reply)

  • ·         This is an indirect speech act. There was no relation between the situation that the desolate place and I’s working. I used this sentence to catch the signalman’s attention. I hope the signalman would have attention to him.
  • ·         Again, it is a directive because I wanted the signalman to do something. That is to talk each other.

 *This analysis had been presented when I was in Bachelor Degree, exactly the 5th semester.


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The writer has attention towards Linguistics. It makes him focus on Linguistic research since he was in Bachelor Degree. He is now studying in Master of Linguistics. He is a researcher staff and Literature Division in "Balai Penelitian dan Kajian Sosial". He always watches and participates in many events, then writes them in this blog. He also develops his talent in music with Solo Jazz Society, a Jazz community in Solo, Indonesia. So, enjoy....!! Thanks

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