Cognitive Linguistic Analysis of Detachment Signs in Mother-daughter Conversation: A Case Study of The Bluest Eye

Bingqing Jiang, Farzaneh Haratyan


Linguistic meaning is attached to the mental structure and is implicated by social processes. This paper is concerned with how the conversational language in terms of lexical choices, syntax, semantics, and pragmatics amidst socio-cultural discourses can be a semiotic indicator to mental function, thinking style, cognitive structures, and schemata hidden behind the layers of language use. Halliday’s SFL tools of transitivity and modality is applied here for the cognitive linguistic analysis. Lexico-grammatical or syntagmatic features of a conversation can convey mental configurations for there is a relationship between the textual structure and the thinking processes of the characters in the novel. This study adds insights to widening the notion of literature by incorporating the knowledge about the pervasive connections between linguistic organization, mental function, and eventually social structure in terms of mother-daughter detachment portrayed in Morrison’s The Bluest Eye which is saturated with conversations that signal actual occurring utterances in real world.


Cognitive Linguistic Analysis, Detachment Signs, Mother-daughter Conversation, The Bluest Eye

Full Text:



Abbey, S., & O'Reilly, A. (1998). Redefining motherhood: Changing identities and patterns. Sumach Press.

Carter, R. (1989). Language, discourse and literature: an introductory reader in discourse stylistics. Psychology Press.

Chodorow, N. (2001). Family structure and feminine personality. Feminism in the study of religion: a reader, 81.

Chodorow, Nancy. (2012). Gender and Sexuality (Vol. 53): Routledge.

Collins, P.H. (2000). Black feminist thought: Knowledge, consciousness, and the politics of empowerment: Psychology Press.

Collins, P.H. (2009). Black Feminism, Knowledge, and Power. Gender inequality: feminist theories and politics, 200

.Collins, P.H. (2009). The Practice and the Theory. The Women's Review of Books, 5-6.

Coupland, N., & Jaworski, A. (2009). The new sociolinguistics reader: Palgrave Macmillan.

Fowler, Carol A, & Hodges, Bert H. (2011). Dynamics and languaging: toward an ecology of language. Ecological Psychology, 23(3), 147-156.

Fowler, R. (1977). Linguistics and the Novel: Methuen London.

Fowler, R. (1982). How to see through language: perspective in fiction. Poetics Amsterdam, 11(3), 213-234.

Fowler, R., Hodge, B., Kress, G., & Trew, T. (1979). Language and social control: London: Routledge.

Halliday, M.A.K. (1970). Language structure and language function. New horizons in linguistics, 1, 140-165.

Halliday, M.A.K. (1971). Linguistic function and literary style: An inquiry into the language of William Golding's The Inheritors. Paper presented at the Literary style: A symposium.

Halliday, M.A.K. (1985). 1994. An introduction to functional grammar, 1-32.

alliday, MAK. (2009). Methods, Techniques, Problems. Continuum Companion to Systemic Functional Linguistics. London, 59-86.

Haratyan, Farzaneh. (2008). What the African American Novelist, Tony Morrison, depicts in her novels. Paper presented at the 6th International TELSI Conference Guilan, Iran.

Haratyan, Farzaneh. (2009). “Identity consciousness in Andrea Levi’s novel Small Island,â€. Paper presented at the Consciousness, Theatre, Literature, and the Arts, England. 2009/dp/1443816493

Haratyan, Farzaneh. (2011). Face Work and Politeness Strategies to settle Conflicts of Power Relations in Discourse. KLIUC Lancom conference proceeding, October 19-20, Putrajaya, Malaysia.

Haratyan, Farzaneh. (2011). Halliday’s SFL and Social Meaning. CHHSS conference proceeding, IPEDR, Cairo, Egypt.

Irigaray, L. (1991). Women-Mothers, the silent substratum of the social order. The Irigaray Reader, 47-52.

Irigaray, L., & Wenzel, H.V. (1981). And the one doesn't stir without the other. Signs, 7(1), 60-67.

Kress, G., & Trew, T. (1978). Transformations and discourse: A study in conceptual change. Journal of Literary Semantics, 7(1), 29-48.

Kress, GR, & Trew, AA. (1978). Ideological transformation of discourse; or how the Sunday Times got its message across. Journal of Pragmatics, 2(4), 311-329.

Morrison, T. (1970). The bluest eye: A novel: Holt, Rinehart and Winston.

Morrison, T. (1971). What the black woman thinks about women’s lib. New York Times Magazine, 22, 14-15.

Morrison, T. (2009). The Bluest Eye (1970). Classic Books, 21.Morrison, T. (2009). The Nobel lecture in literature, 1993: Knopf New York.

Morrison, T. (2011). Nobel Prize in Literature. http://nobelprize. org/nobel_prizes/literature/laureates/1993/morrison-lecture. html. Acesso em, 30, 107-124.

O'Reilly, A. (1996). In Search of My Mother's Garden, I Found My Own: Mother-Love, Healing, and Identity in Toni Morrison's Jazz. African American Review, 30(3), 367-379.

O'Reilly, A. (2004). From motherhood to mothering: the legacy of Adrienne Rich's Of woman born: SUNY Press.

O'Reilly, A. (2010). Encyclopedia of motherhood (Vol. 1): Sage Publications, Incorporated.

Sinclair, J.M.H. (1966). Indescribable English. Inaugural lecture, University of Birmingham.(Abstract in Sinclair, J. and RM Coulthard. 1975. Towards an Analysis of Discourse. Oxford: Oxford University Press, p. 151.).

Tannen, D. (2012). 8 Turn-Taking and Intercultural Discourse and Communication. The Handbook of Intercultural Discourse and Communication, 29, 135.

Tator, C., & Henry, F. (2006). Racial Profiling in Canada: Challenging the Myth of" a Few Bad Apples": University of Toronto Press.

Toolan, M., Carter, R., & Simpson, P. (1989). Language, Discourse, and Literature.

Widdowson, H.G. (1972). The teaching of English as communication. ELT journal, 27(1), 15-19.


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2020 Journal of Applied Linguistics and Language Research