The formal semantics of free perception in pictorial narratives
Abusch, Dorit; Rooth, Mats
This paper semantically analyzes “free perception” sequences in pictorial narratives such as comics, where one panel shows a character looking, and the next panel shows what they see. Pictorial contents are assumed to be viewpoint-centered propositions. A framework for the representation of pictorial narratives is used where indexing and embedding of certain panels is characterized by hidden operators. The resulting enriched pictorial narratives are interpreted in a dynamic framework. A possible worlds construction using action alternatives captures the epistemic effect of perceptual actions. Free perception sequences are implicitly anaphoric, as analyzed using cross-panel indexing. It is argued that some cases of free perception are truly intensional, and must involve embedding in the framework that is employed. Examples are drawn from comics and film. Appears in Proceedings of the 21st Amsterdam Colloquium, 2017.
Pictorial narrative, comics, possible worlds semantics, free indirect discourse, free perception
Previously Published As
Article in Proceedings of the 21st Amsterdam Colloquium, ILLC, University of Amsterdam