Identity Construction and Speech Acts in Ernaux’s The Years: A Corpus-based Feminist Stylistic Analysis

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Annie Ernaux, Corpus, Feminist Stylistics, Identity Construction, Speech Acts


The present study explores the construction of the female identity in The Years, in comparison with the original French text Les Années, which is one of the novels written by the French author; Annie Ernaux, who was awarded the Nobel Prize in 2022. The study also investigates the relationship between identity construction in the selected novel and the occurrences and frequencies of the different types of speech acts used by the protagonist. As a result, it highlights how the structure of the utterances said by the female protagonist and the types of speech acts with an illocutionary force contributes to the comprehensive portrayal of the female character.The qualitative and quantitative textual analysis employs a triangulation of a number of analytical tools and theoretical frameworks, such as feminist stylistics, pragmatics, and social psychology, with a corpus-based approach. The underlying theories used in the present study are the Speech Act Theory (1962,1979), the Positioning Theory (1990) integrating with Mills’ (1995) framework of feminist stylistics. Findings demonstrate that two types of speech acts are frequently used and distributed in the selected novel; that is, expressive and directive in order to highlight the fact that the narrator intends to express her directions, compliments, and complaints about events and actions. Different positions are assigned to both the narrator and the protagonist in order to manifest the different identities constructed.


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Author Biography

Rehab Hassan Mahmoud, College of Language and Communication Arab Academy for Science, Technology & Maritime Transport

Rehab H. Mahmoud has a Ph.D. in Applied Linguistics from Arab Academy for Science, Technology & Maritime Transport and Alexandria University. She is a lecturer in the Languages Department at College of Language and Communication at the Arab Academy for Science, Technology & Maritime Transport. She has published a number of research papers in the field of applied linguistics including stylistics and political discourse analysis.


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How to Cite

Hassan Mahmoud, R. (2023). Identity Construction and Speech Acts in Ernaux’s The Years: A Corpus-based Feminist Stylistic Analysis. Journal of Ethnic and Cultural Studies, 10(5), 172–188.
Received 2023-07-08
Accepted 2023-08-29
Published 2023-12-19