Definition of actant in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈaktənt/


1 Grammar A noun or noun phrase involved in the action expressed by a verb.
Example sentences
  • The first metafunction consists of an underlying semantic structure or logical form describing relations between actants fulfilling roles in a process (verb or predicate).
  • We use the term ‘valence’ to describe semantically an actant of the verb, i. e., to describe the semantic role of the actant.
  • Transitive verbs typically have actants that play thematic semantic roles.
2(In literary theory) a person, creature, or object playing any of a set of active roles in a narrative.
Example sentences
  • Successful actor-networks are built by enrolling the heterogeneous actants as active participants in a common project.
  • As Swapan Chakravorty has observed, the characters in A Chaste Maid in Cheapside are the result of a ‘shuffling [of] the old actants and indices’ of Middleton's earlier plays.
  • These four steps describe the interactions between three actants (abstract representations of characters and their functions): the Subject, the Object and the Sender.
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