Actantial model

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In structural semantics, the actantial model, also called the actantial narrative schema, is a tool used to analyze the action that takes place in a story, whether real or fictional.[1][2] It was developed in 1966 by semiotician Algirdas Julien Greimas.[3][4]

The model considers an action as divided into six facets, called actants.[1] Those actants are a combined framework inspired mainly between Vladimir Propp's and Étienne Souriau's actantial theories.[5]

Greimas took the term actant from linguist Lucien Tesnière, which coined in his discussion of the grammar of noun phrases.[6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Herbert 2006 Tools, Ch.5, Origins and function
  2. ^ Herbert 2006 Actantial
  3. ^ Greimas, Algirdas Julien [1966] Structural Semantics: An Attempt at a Method
  4. ^ Greimas (1973).
  5. ^ Venancio, Rafael Duarte Oliveira, Narrative between Action and Transformation: A. J. Greimas' Narratological Models (December 3, 2016). Available at SSRN:
  6. ^ David Herman, Manfred Jahn, Marie-Laure Ryan (2005) Routledge encyclopedia of narrative theory, p. 574


  • Greimas, Algirdas Julien. 1973. "Actants, Actors, and Figures." On Meaning: Selected Writings in Semiotic Theory. Trans. Paul J. Perron and Frank H, Collins. Theory and History of Literature, 38. Minneapolis: U of Minnesota P, 1987. 106-120.
  • Herbert, Louis[permanent dead link] (2006) Tools for Text and Image Analysis: An Introduction to Applied Semiotics, online eboook, published by Texto !
  • Herbert, Louis (2006) The Actantial Model, in Louis Hébert (dir.), Signo [online], Rimouski (Quebec),

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]