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Abstract

Both ‘sign’ and ‘symbol’ are words with a long and polysemic history in Western culture. Moreover, the 120-year history of the modern semiotics movement has failed to provide a highly needed definition of these most basic terms, thus resulting in ambiguity of the definition of the discipline itself. This paper proposes defining ‘sign/symbol’ as ‘a sensuous entity to be regarded as carrying meaning’. Furthermore, the terminological chaos that arises between ‘sign’ and ‘symbol’, which originated in Western languages, has caused chaos for translators in selecting the appropriate Chinese term from the options Fuhao and Xiangzheng, since a phonetic rendition is hardly possible in Chinese. On this basis, the paper attempts to define ‘semiotics’ as ‘the formal study of meaning-making’. In this understanding, semiotics covers not only signification but also communication and interpretation of meaning.

Open Access
In: Signs and Media

Abstract

Crises of reputation are rarely studied from the linguistic point of view, which results in several research gaps. Therefore, in this study three selected crisis cases have been analyzed as asynchronous online polylogues—Internet debates performed by stakeholders in different sources from the moment of publication. In this approach corpus analysis has been combined with the theory of computer-mediated communication, speech acts and a semantic study of emotions. One of the findings was that certain common patterns of subtopics, emotion expressions and communicative actions are noticeable in the user-generated content across different crisis cases. Contrary to some NLP studies, emotions expressed by stakeholders in a crisis situation refer not to the major topic, but to its subtopics, which impacts the construction of text-mining models. Unlike in pre-social media studies, sarcasm and not anger is the major emotion expressed textually in reaction to a crisis of reputation.

Full Access
In: International Review of Pragmatics
Free access
In: International Review of Pragmatics
Free access
In: International Review of Pragmatics
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Abstract

The objective of this paper is to examine how Chinese learners of EFL frame their complaints on English language learning (ELL) to understand their sense of entitlement to complain. Two basic complaint-frames are identified—complaint proper (Cp), which communicates entitlement in blaming and asking for correction of what is intrinsically correctable, and lament (Lt), which conveys the lack thereof by simply ‘lamenting’ something that cannot be solved. Though Cp and Lt appear, therefore, tied to specific concern-kinds, the inherently addressable and unaddressable, respectively, their actual use depends on the perception of the complaint-concern and the relative power of the complainant. When Cp is selected, subordinate status may require diminished expression of entitlement. This is not achieved by mitigating face-threat. Rather, it is necessary to modify the complaint-framing by selecting more, rather than less, Lt-defining features. Applied to complaints on ELL, in the Chinese context, it is found that this inherently Cp-appropriate, patently addressable problem is only, and always, used with mitigation and/or ‘Lt-ization’ to convey deference and/or disentitlement. In the vast majority, students address limitations in program implementation—in authentic language use, and the opportunity for individual thought, creativity and self-determination—in complaints that suggest disaffection and disenfranchisement.

Open Access
In: International Review of Pragmatics

Abstract

This article explores three famous American newspapers as an attempt to find out how Iranian women are depicted in these three American newspapers. Three national newspapers (The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, and The Washington Post) were consulted as authority to gain information about Iranian women. Two hundred and thirteen headlines about Iranian women were identified in these three newspapers published over a period of 10 years. Through qualitative corpus analysis, we noticed that Iranian women are represented with regard to five generic categories (patterns): Ethics and Dress Coding (EDC); Political Activism (PA); Political System (PS); Social Condition and Trends (SCT); and Praising Comments (PC). The patterns identified in these three newspapers regarding Iranian women indicate that material culture (physical aspect of culture) is highlighted by the American press when referring to Iranian women. The article also concludes that these three newspaper agencies manifest a pseudo-logical representation of Iranian women, which fails to acknowledge the dynamic life of Iranian women, and ignores local identities at the expense of globalization.

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In: International Review of Pragmatics

Abstract

Developmental Dyslexia (DD) is a life-long deficit in reading and spelling with unclear causes. DD negatively impacts many language skills. Relatively little is known about whether skills of pragmatic competence are compromised in individuals with DD. Here, we assess DD symptomatology in a group of native German dyslexic adults. We first test for the presence of DD subtypes along the dimensions of phonological awareness and naming speed, two key deficits in DD. We then assess pragmatic competence in adults with DD compared to control participants without DD. We found that a subclassification of DD according to phonological awareness and naming speed only partially applies and that dyslexic participants show a lower pragmatic competence than control participants.

Full Access
In: International Review of Pragmatics
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Abstract

This study investigated whether and how the gender of the judges in the TV talent competitions affects the pragmatics of the compliments in their evaluative comments addressed to the contest participants. The explicitness of the compliments, the distribution of positive semantic carriers and intensifiers, the personal focus of the compliments, and the supportive discursive moves in the male and female judges’ complimenting speech events were qualitatively analysed and statistically compared. Results, however, do not support the general belief that women’s complimenting style is more socioemotional than men’s. The function of the compliments that the judges would like to accentuate in the formal institutional setting appears to have a greater impact on their linguistic performances than their gender role. The male and female judges’ complimenting styles seem to be strategic manoeuvres to create their preferred social image in the public media discourse.

Full Access
In: International Review of Pragmatics

Abstract

The article discusses Bhāviveka’s Prajñāpradīpavṛtti and Avalokitavrata’s Prajñāpradīpaṭīkā commentaries on the “not without a cause” (nāpy ahetutaḥ) alternative of Nāgārjuna’s Mūlamadhyamakakārikā 1.1ab, from which it emerges that at least two distinct theories of causality can be attributed to the Lokāyata school. The first one is a physicalist theory that confines all causal relations within the sphere of material elements and is assimilated to accidentalism. The second one is a naturalist theory that attributes causal power to inner nature (svabhāva). The paper discusses the theoretical differences between these two approaches, considers Bhāviveka’s and Avalokitavrata’s counter-arguments and concludes that some of the conjectures that modern scholars have put forward on the relation between svabhāvavāda, accidentalism and Lokāyata should be revised.

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In: Indo-Iranian Journal
Free access
In: Indo-Iranian Journal