1. Kysun
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    Kysun New Member

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    Is there a word specially designed to describe adjectives describing speech...?

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by Kysun, Jun 17, 2009.

    Just curious, really. I get a feeling that there should be a word like that out there somewhere, but so far no such luck finding it. So the question is: is there a word that is specifically desgined to describe adjectives that are used to describe a way of speech (like 'said', 'shouted', 'exclaimed').

    Ahaha.

    Please forgive my ignorance if this is a stupid question.
     
  2. CharlieVer
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    CharlieVer New Member Contributor

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    The words for speech are called "verbs."

    Said, shouted and exclaimed are all verbs.

    Words that describe verbs are adverbs.

    Said softly. Shouted insistently. Exclaimed emphatically.

    Verb adverb. Verb adverb. Verb adverb.
     
  3. garmar69
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    garmar69 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Well, adjectives only modify nouns and pronouns so I doubt it. In speech it would probably be an adverb you're referring to, but I'm not completely sure what you're getting at.

    Edit: Nevermind. Charlie posted while I was writing.
     
  4. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    A particular term to refer to verbs which deal with the concept of speech? Not that I am aware of. There are many terms which deal with particular groups of verbs, the groupings of which are for various reasons and trains of logic.

    Here is a decent article in wiki which does give a chart of verb types. Verbs.
     
  5. seta
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    seta Contributing Member

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    http://www.examples-help.org.uk/parts-of-speech/adjectives.htm

    Here's a list of adjectives. I have found this same list across several language web sites.

    Seems that "speech adjectives" would likely fall under "Quality Adjectives" - but really you can use any adjective to describe speech.

    "Admiral Ackbar has a gravelly voice" - gravelly usually describing small rocks

    "she said in a sultry voice" - sultry being more abstract and personality oriented

    rasping, gurgling - all of these could actually be considered personifications since the voice is a thing, not a person.
     
  6. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    what you're getting at may be the fact that those verbs are used for 'dialog tags'... and in doing so, one should avoid adding adverbs as much as possible...
     
  7. ManhattanMss
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    ManhattanMss Contributing Member

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    Your examples ("said," "shouted," "exclaimed") are verbs that writers use to emphasize a particular way of speaking a line. Other than "said," these ways of expressing something can easily become quite tedious to a reader. Especially so if the writer has clearly attempted to vary the dialogue tags just for the sake of not using the word "said." (I see two or three on a page, and I start to snooze as a reader.)

    Things like "Eek," she screamed. "Good grief," he replied. "I'm off to the store," she shouted. "Get out of here," he exclaimed. "Why don't you go play in the sandbox," she suggested.

    I read a story recently where the writer never used a single dialogue tag twice. I'd give her an A+ for using her thesaurus or maybe a "book of dialogue tags," but she wouldn't get high marks from me for the story, which I didn't remember by the time I finished reading it. I found myself reading ONLY to see what verb she'd use in the next dialogue tag.

    There are many, many far better alternative ways to "show" the reader who's speaking and how a piece of dialogue should be understood.

    A sudden jolt of electricity shot through the wire, and she shrieked. J was fed up with the whole mess. "Good Grief," he said under his breath.

    "I'm off to the store," she said.

    "Get out of here!" His face was red, and he turned and stomped out of the room.

    "Why don't you go play in the sandbox?" she said. His eyes opened wide like he'd been given an idea that hadn't occurred to him.

    The word "said" is used primarily because it very simply indicates who's speaking and doesn't serve to interfere with anything. It can even be used instead of "asked," although "asked" is also unobtrusive, if it isn't overused. But all those other verbs writers use (he whispered, she chuckled, he hinted, she called, he screamed, she stuttered, he offered, she surmised, and on and on ad nauseum) are really just opportunities to write a more interesting story, instead.
     
  8. tbeverley
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    tbeverley Senior Member

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    There is a word for them. There is a word for adjectives that modify the typical dialogue verbs. However, I can't remember the name. :p I'd think it is likely buried somewhere in a 300 page grammar book of which I don't know the name. But, I know there's a word somewhere out there.
     
  9. ManhattanMss
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    ManhattanMss Contributing Member

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    Words that modify verbs are called adverbs (adjectives modify nouns). Other than that, the "dialogue tag" includes the verb and its modifiers. I don't know what else you'd call it, really.
     
  10. tbeverley
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    tbeverley Senior Member

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    I started my grammar studies with an old book from the library that was written in the 1900s, so the word I'm thinking of may have come from there and gone out of use. However, perhaps only at one time in the distant past, there was a specific word that meant the same thing as "dialogue tag." I just can't remember the word. Maybe because it no longer exists. :p
     
  11. ManhattanMss
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    ManhattanMss Contributing Member

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    Well, I'm really curious now:). I even went hunting for something of that sort. If you think of it, I'd love to know what it is. In screenwriting, they sometimes speak of wrylines (which can be used to describe a parenthetical comment that shows how the character is delivering the lines of speech). That's probably not it, but that's as close as I can think of.
     
  12. tbeverley
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    tbeverley Senior Member

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    I don't think I could remember it. It was 12 years ago that I read the book. It was in a tiny library in a one-street town, the book being an old hardcover with yellow pages that looked as if it could crumble. I've always had a fascination for grammar, so I tended to read every grammar book in the library, and this was a marathon reading session that involved several of these old books. But, yeah, once upon a time.... I suppose the word has vanished because of the general rule of thumb nowadays that explanatory adverbs should not be used in dialogue.

    Perhaps it was a short-lived technical word, such as "googling." I know the books I was reading at the time detailed popular methods of writing in the 20s or 30s, as some of them contained tips on writing advertising slogans for old fashion magazines. Interesting subject really: the old styles of writing that have gone into disuse and the old grammar books that suggested them.

    I'd like to own those books now.
     
  13. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    you may be referring to 'attribution' which is the fancy name for a dialog tag...
     
  14. tbeverley
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    tbeverley Senior Member

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    Yup, I believe that's the word.
     
  15. Sound of Silence
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    Sound of Silence Member

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    Some know tags such as she said, shouted etc as the 'reporting clause'.

    'I saw her,' (reported clause) she said (reporting clause).
     
  16. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    I must say I haven't encountered reporting/reported clause before.
     
  17. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    neither have i... nor do i think it makes any sense...
     
  18. Sound of Silence
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    Sound of Silence Member

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    It's a British classification. :) Think of journalism, how everything's 'reported'. You have the reporter (she said), and what she reports (a man killed a boy)

    You can have it in

    Direct speech: 'He killed a boy,' she said.
    Indirect speech: she said he killed a boy
    free indirect speech: he killed a boy (just reported clause with reporting clause removed)
    and also the same for thought patterns (FIT's, DT's, IT's etc)


    (Hope it's ok to put this link up, if not, sorry)

    http://www.diclib.com/cgi-bin/d1.cgi?l=en&base=collinscobuild&page=showid&id=29012
     

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