Syntactic Analysis of Sentence Adverbials Observed in the Victorian Novel Jane Eyre

Author: Eva Leláková

Keywords: content disjuncts, Jane Eyre, literary linguistics, the language of fiction, sentence adverbials, syntactic analysis


The sentence structure complexity and clause positioning (Staveley, 2013) represent the striking features of the writing style of the 19-th century British fiction writers. The present syntactic study brings detailed quantitative and qualitative syntactic analyses of peripheral sentence elements, sentence (stance) adverbials, occurring in the Victorian novel Jane Eyre (1847), and offers their classification into style and content disjuncts. As the latter ones are generally employed by fiction in the novels’ dialogues and main characters’ reflections (Biber, 1999), the research questions focus predominantly on their function and frequency of use. Content disjuncts help to express the possibility or the doubt of the utterance and explain the outcome of the actions and events happening in the story. The research outcomes have confirmed that content disjuncts considerably contribute to understanding the writing style of Charlotte Brontë. This phenomenon can be further studied and developed in the syntactic analyses of other remarkable 19th century novels and novelists. The research results will find their application not only in the theory and practice of syntax but also in the process of teaching/learning English as a foreign language.