In the Cambridge Grammar of the English Language; Huddleston and Pullum 2002, they make the following qualifying comment:
... reported speech covers the reporting of spoken and written text but also that of unpoken thought. (p. 1023 - bold H&P's)
We can immediately see from this excerpt that reported speech is being used as a technical term to represent a particular linguistic phenomenon, not as a literal interpretation of the two words 'reported' and 'speech'. This is demonstrated by the fact that reported speech is given by these authors to include not only written text, but also unspoken thoughts.
In comments on this thread: https://english.stackexchange.com/questions/205730/what-exactly-is-reported-speech-does-it-really-exist-and-how-do-you-recognise it is proposed by various commentators that to be reported speech, there must first be some speech or thought to be reported. Reported speech, it is claimed, is a report 'of what someone else said' (italics original).
However in their section on indirect reported speech (p.1024), two of the first examples of indirect reported speech given by CaGEL are:
- Did she say if I'll be invited?
- Will I be invited, did she say?
Now the answer to both of these example questions (which are the same question framed in two different ways), may well be: "No, she didn't". One thing, for certain, is that the person producing the 'reported speech' here has no knowledge of the original spoken text at all. In fact, they don't even know if there even was such a text in the first place. There may very well have been none.
So, on the basis of the views given by the commentators on the linked-to thread, which do not seem altogether unreasonable (with the caveat that the views are not unreasonable if based on either established practice or authoritative sources), this should not be classed as reported speech. There is no known original speech being reported.
My question is, are the two examples above, examples of reported speech? If so, what are the specific criteria for reported speech which are satisfied by the two examples. I have not been able to find any such criteria in CaGEL. If these are not examples of reported speech, which criteria of reported speech do they fail to meet? - and what authoritative sources can be referred to, to back up this point of view?
Apparently, such problems are easily resolved by recourse to readily available resources, but I have not been very successful. Any help or genuine insights, therefore, would be greatly appreciated!