Abstract:In semantics, there exists constraint in the collocation of a sentence’s components. Sense relation of the collocation is conventional and is decided by the selectional restriction. However, in many works of the modernist and post-modernist writers, the employment of the stream-of-consciousness technique has brought to light much evidence that language in literary works can violate the selectional restriction, and the lexical collocations in the descriptive sentences, too, can go against the semantic convention. This paper is aimed at analyzing the ways how modernists or post-modernists violate the semantic conventions in the adoption of the stream-of-consciousness technique, as well as the literary significance brought by such a semantic breakthrough.
Key Words: selectional restriction, semantic convention, collocation, the stream of consciousness
When Edward Sapir illustrates the relations between language and literature, he states that the language is not a mere system of communication, rather, it is an invisible coat worn on our spirit, and it predetermined the expression of all spiritual symbols. We would call it literature when the expression is very interesting. That is to say, the literature is the language which is written in an attractive way. It should be the true reflect of the writer’s inner opinion (359). To meet all those requirements, writers should be innovative in using language. As the stream-of-consciousness works rise abruptly in the modern world literary, Joyce, Woolf, Folklore, and other writers stand out. They abandoned the traditional writing style and focused on the psychological activities taking place in the characters’ mind. Important character traits of persons in literature are revealed through an exploration of what is going on in their mind (Li, Zhang 147).