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Abstract

This research studies a group of Chinese university students of English as a Foreign Language (EFL) to analyse the macro- and microstructure of their emails and their pragmatic competence. In order to study the features and context adequacy of their email communication, a corpus of 200 emails written by 100 second-year students (sophomores) and 100 fourth-year students (seniors) was analysed to identify the uses and preferences concerning subject lines and opening and closing moves and to investigate the uses and functions of strategies related to disagreement in their communication to a faculty member. Findings show that both Chinese groups lacked standardisation in relation to the use of subject line and opening and closing moves. Data also proved that Chinese EFL emails were inappropriate due to insufficient mitigation, lack of acknowledgment of the imposition involved and lack of status-congruent language.

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In: International Review of Pragmatics
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In: International Review of Pragmatics

Abstract

Given that humour greatly impacts customer satisfaction and loyalty, this paper explores the dialogical forms of humour occurring in evening service encounters. It reports on a study focusing on interactions between baristas and customers. The latter belong to two groups: university students in their late teens and twenties, and regulars over forty years old. The establishments selected for the study are small cafes and small tapas bars in Seville. The study is based on unobtrusive observation and field notes, as humour authenticity depends on naturalness and spontaneity. Although the interlocutors engaged in the encounters made use of dialogical forms of humour in order to achieve similar interactional goals, the results of the study reveal variation in terms of the quantity and categories of comical tokens. A series of individual and external factors explain this variation.

In: International Review of Pragmatics

Abstract

The paper discusses the concept of offensiveness, both explicit and implicit, in film dialogical discourse based on three parts of a romantic comedy. The differences between explicitness and implicitness on the one hand, and between implicitness and (in)directness on the other are presented in the theoretical part. Indirectness and implicitness are treated in the study as independent concepts that instantiate covert meaning. On the other hand, explicitness and implicitness are viewed as gradual concepts that allow some overlap; thus, direct implicitness and indirect explicitness emerge as possible options. Furthermore, the category of offensiveness is presented as a broad category, a superordinate term that subsumes offensive language, typically realised through explicitly offensive words, such as swearwords, and (non)offence, encoded by rhetorical devices. Offensive language can have the function of offending the target addressee, i.e., to cause offence, or to build, inter alia, a jocular, intimate or friendly atmosphere. Offensiveness can thus embrace propositions that lead to offence or convey other, non-offensive meanings. Examples of both offensive language (explicit/direct forms) and subtypes of offence (figurative forms), as well as a combination of both (e.g., figurative forms such as ironic comments that contain swearwords), are gleaned from the corpus of three parts of the eponymous romantic comedy. The analysis has shown that figurative forms are often conflated (to create metaphorical irony, ironic hyperbole, and the like), the implicit forms of offensiveness occur almost as frequently as explicit forms and are distributed equally across gender, varying forms of offensiveness play the whole gamut of functions, disparagement being only one of them.

In: International Review of Pragmatics
In: International Review of Pragmatics

Abstract

From the communicative-cognitive point of view, it is necessary to look at dialogic discourse as an active phase of the transition of language skills to speech skills. In this regard, discourse is considered as the articular form of consciousness consisting of a set of knowledge that motivates the speech activity of the interviewees. This empirical study draws on recent developments in dialogic approaches to learning and teaching and explores the relationship between the dialogic discourse pattern and improvement of the students’ participation and learning in an online EFL context. Developments in the dialogic teaching from two perspectives, namely didactic and psychological are reviewed and necessary preconditions and rules for the teachers to have a dialogical discourse pattern as an approach to classroom interaction are considered. It is assumed that when clearly defined, rules for a dialogic discourse pattern can lead to the development of students’ overall performance and mainly speaking skills.

In: International Review of Pragmatics

Abstract

The main focus of the paper is to analyse selected English and Polish online comments on the Russia-Ukraine war (2022) from the perspective of dialogical discourse and define to what extent the exchanges satisfy the criteria of different types of dialogism with regard to their self- or other-referential character, i.e., inwards- or ingroup- directed, and what other circumstances are decisive in the determination of the exchange profiles. The materials are derived from selected Twitter comments referring to the war in Ukraine and its refugees, which dominate large segments of today’s online discourse. The research methodology employed is an interactional discourse analysis, which assumes that meanings are dynamic and created in interaction, and shaped by the cognitive and social potential of the participants, and their ideological preferences. The outcomes of the analysis indicate a complex character of the exchanges from a dialogical typology dilemma perspective and shed some light on the speakers’ argumentation. The analysis also shows a lower radicalization axis than in comparable samples referring to earlier refugee crisis scenarios in the years 2016–2020.

In: International Review of Pragmatics

Abstract

The objective behind this paper is to outline an integrated cognitive-social-pragmatic approach to the re-emergence of far-right cultic politics along with the role of social media in enhancing the dialogic impact of contemporary discourses of hostility. We start from the assumption that while deixis and speech acts enable attribution of status functions and deontic powers, and thus legitimation on the level of discourse (which is key in construction of the self vis-à-vis others), cyberspace, with the semiotic affordances it offers, creates a conducive environment for expanding the dialogue between cult figures and their audiences across time, space and genres. In this way the Internet and online discursive practices enhance the impact and visibility of messages legitimizing aggression, simultaneously playing an important role in cult formation. As a case in point, we will analyse Enoch Powell’s “Rivers of Blood” speech and its recontextualizations 50 years later.

In: International Review of Pragmatics

Abstract

Two communication types of the Chinese [búshì … ma] patterning can be found in earlier studies in which Type 1 is understood as a yes-no question (default form) and Type 2 a rhetorical question carrying a negative semantic prosody, both types taking place in a “2-party” dialogue. This research has further identified an emergent “construction” (Croft, 2001) that figures also as a rhetorical question (Type 3) except in a “3-party” conversation setting. This Type 3 is found to serve a primary communicative purpose, that is, for “positive interpersonal bonding.” Other findings discussed include: (a) that [búshìma] has defaulted from Type 1 to Type 2 in today’s Mandarin Chinese, (b) that there exist subjectivity-based variations in interpreting the thematic agents of a Type 2 expression, (c) that Type 3 expressions have emerged on the grounds of “intersubjectivity,” and (d) that while both Types 2 and 3 are rhetorical questions, they indeed require very different sets of pragmatic competence for implementing an intended illocutionary force. The study looks particularly at how Type 2 and Type 3 [búshì … ma] constructions differentiate themselves from each other and how the [búshì … ma] patterning reflects linguistic economy and efficiency in real-life language use through grammaticalization (grammatical constructionalization).

In: International Review of Pragmatics

Abstract

Discursive interaction involves the co-construction of meaning between interlocutor/s and intended audience, a process which involves both explicit and implicit meanings (Kecskes 2016). However, since language is at best an imprecise tool for describing reality, even so-called explicit meanings are found to require effort to disambiguate, and true precision may not be attainable, despite sincerity on the part of the speaker/s. These aspects are especially relevant in considering public discourse on the environment, which represents a macro topic whose component discursive features are frequently big words in the sense originally identified by George Orwell (2013), i.e. nature, pollution, fossil fuels, conservation, green energy, global warming, climate change, etc. That is to say, their use signals the presence of ideologies (Fairclough 2003), deontologies (Roderick 2013), presuppositions (Levinson 1983) and naturalisations (Barthes 1957) which imply the use of meanings that are seldom self-evident, though they are presented as such. This paper explores interactions in the public domain about the current environmental crisis, showing how a pragmatic perspective that focuses on situated understandings of shared dialogue can illuminate these issues.

In: International Review of Pragmatics