Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia
Russian People’s Friendship University
The expression of evaluative polarity through types of impoliteness across the English, the Spanish and the Russian cultures.
In this paper we analyze the different ways in which interlocutors express and interpret evaluation by means of impolite acts. We take Kaul de Marlangeon’s (2008) typology of impolite acts for Spanish and Kaul de Marlangeon and Alba- Juez’s (forthcoming) development of the typology for English as points of departure, this time extending the analysis to the Russian language and culture. We focus on the way the evaluative function of language is realized through different types of impolite acts, and, taking into account previous studies on this linguistic function (e.g. Martin 2000, Hunston & Thompson 2003, Martin & White 2005, Bednarek 2008) and on the phenomenon of (im)politeness (Lakoff 1973; Brown and Levinson 1987; Leech 1983, 2007; Kaul de Marlangeon’s  1995 – 2003; Culpeper 1996; Culpeper, Bousfield & Wichmann’s 2003; Bousfield and Locher 2008) we make an attempt to throw light on the manner in which the evaluative function helps in the realization of other prominent sub-functions of language, such as expressing disagreement, blocking the flow of communication or organizing discourse, among others. In addition, and after testing the typology for Russian, we carry out an empirical analysis with the aim of establishing some similarities and/or differences among the three cultures with respect to the type of impoliteness and the actual language used by the speakers of the cultures under scrutiny in the realization of evaluative impolite acts. The corpora used for the analysis consists of examples of everyday communication and conversation in the three cultures, as well as the fictional language of some films and television shows. Thus the work has both a theoretical and an empirical dimension: On the one hand we test the applicability of Kaul de Marlangeon’s (2008) typology of impolite acts for Russian with a special focus on their evaluative polarity and on the sub-functions performed, and on the other hand we compare –through the analysis of the examples found in the corpora– the various realizations of the evaluative function both across the different types of impoliteness and the three cultures studied.
Norwegian School of Economics and Business Administration (NHH)
Naturlig, yeah right! – a pragmatic perspective on English-to-Norwegian borrowing of discourse markers
Contrastive studies of discourse markers generally focus on formal and functional cross-linguistic correspondences of individual items (Aijmer & Simon-Vandenbergen 2006), and most previous studies involve comparisons between semantically equivalent words such as English well and Italian bene (Bazzanella & Morra 2000) or etymological cognates such as German doch and Dutch toch (Foolen 2006), as well as assessments of how discourse markers are translated (Johansson 2006). To a lesser degree, the focus has been on the extent to which discourse markers in a language are results of borrowing of specific forms and/or discourse functions from other languages.
Due to its function as a global lingua franca, English exerts great influence on other languages. The current paper aims to explore recent borrowing of English discourse markers into Norwegian. Hence, it focuses on items that do not primarily contribute to the propositional meaning of utterances but which act as procedural constraints on the interpretation procedure and serve salient attitudinal, interactional or textual functions. Pertinent examples of recent imports are the irony marker yeah right, phrases like Get a life! used to signal the disapproval of a previous utterance, imported interjections like duh and sorry, and the emphatic yes! used to signal a highly positive evaluation. Observable imports may also include the borrowing of underlying structures of the type tingen/greia er at (the thing is that), used as a textual marker that signals a topical elaboration or specification. Although no overt source language realisation of this item has been observed, it is assumed that this structure might also be influenced by English (Andersen In press).
Basing the study on different spoken and written corpora of English and Norwegian (including social media like Twitter), the study aims to describe the inventory, discourse functions, procedural constraints and adaptations (translation, orthographic normalisation, function/meaning change) of such items.
References Aijmer, Karin and Simon-Vandenbergen, Anne-Marie (eds.) (2006). Pragmatic Markers in Contrast. Amsterdam: Elsevier. Andersen, Gisle (In press). A contrastive approach to vague nouns. In Günther Kaltenboeck (ed.), Vague language: To be published by Elsevier.
Bazzanella, Carla and Morra, Lucia (2000). Discourse markers and the indeterminacy of translation. In Iørn Korzen and Carla Marello (eds.), Argomenti per una linguistica della traduzione, On linguistic aspects of translation, Notes pour une linguistique de la traduction. 149–157. Alessandria: Edizioni dell’Orso.
Foolen, Ad (2006). Polysemy Patterns in Contrast: The Case of Dutch toch and German doch. In Karin Aijmer and Anne-Marie Simon-Vandenbergen (eds.), Pragmatic Markers in Contrast 59-72. Amsterdam: Elsevier. Johansson, Stig (2006). How Well can well be Translated? On the English Discourse Particle well and its Correspondences in Norwegian and German. In Karin Aijmer and Anne-Marie Simon-Vandenbergen (eds.), Pragmatic Markers in Contrast 115-138. Amsterdam: Elsevier.
Department of English Linguistics, University of Pécs, Pécs, Hungary
The Lexical Pragmatics of Adjectives of Appreciation in British, American, and Irish English: An Empirical, Corpus-based Study
This paper investigates the meaning facets of near synonymy (a lexical semantic and pragmatic issue – Murphy 2003) of adjectives in a particular lexical field: the expression of appreciation. In a historical perspective, it can be observed that in this lexical domain a significant shift of semantic- pragmatic prosody from negativity to the manifestation of expressed positivity has occurred in various stages of the development of present day English. The list of attributive adjectives studied includes eight lexical items: ‘amazing’, ‘excellent’, ‘fantastic’, ‘gorgeous’, ‘lovely’, ‘magnificent’, ‘splendid’, and ‘wonderful’. It is pointed out that this group certainly lacks an expressed prototype. The pragmatic force of the adjectival synonyms is measured and their meaning facets are identified via investigation of the following set of three relevant factors: (i) differences of gradation in expressing intensification; (ii) semantic-pragmatic aspects of collocational potential; (iii) conceptually andlexically based frame relatedness. It is observed in a variational semantic and pragmatic study that adjectives of appreciation reveal variational differences concerning their meaning facets (Cruse 2004)and their frame-based potential as well as the nature and type of their distance from one another in the given synonymic domain in regional varieties of English (British, American, and Irish). The investigation is corpus-based; data are gained from general corpora of these three regional varieties of English: the British National Corpus, the Corpus of Contemporary American English, the ICE-Ireland Corpus (and the SPICE-Ireland Corpus), and the Limerick Corpus of Irish English. Additionally, the results of testing native speakers (with 40 subjects selected from the three regional varieties of English) are presented with the aim to provide a control over the relevance of the corpus-based observations. Results of the empirical study reveal a higher grade of similarity between data gained from Irish and US English speaking informants and corpora than their British English variant.
University of Granada
Conceptualist Semantics and Relevance Theory
The question of contextual intrusions to the proposition expressed by an utterance has for long been a topic of heated debate. Regardless of its constant reference to as a contextualist account, Relevance Theory is more akin to minimalism, as its notion of logical form (i.e. encoded content) is comparable to the traditional argument behind minimal semantics (Wedgwood 2007, Carston 2009), and thus susceptible to the same sort of criticisms that minimalist semantic theories have received at least at the level of lexical meaning (Assimakopoulos 2008). In an attempt to ‘rescue’ the relevance- theoretic approach to semantic content, I will propose in my talk that the theory should revert from externalism to some version of conceptualist semantics (e.g. Jackendoff 2002). In more detail, I will suggest that the flexibility of semantic content within conceptualist semantics along with its internalist perspective, bind much better with the scope and aims of Relavance
Affiliation Abstract (max. 300 words)Theory than traditional semantic theories do. Furthermore, I will present a more psychologically-realistic account of lexical semantics, based on the premises of a radically underspecified encoded meaning and a rich pragmatic system, articulating in this way the cognitive relation between what can be dubbed the mental lexicon and the inferential system put forth by relevance theorists.
Assimakopoulos, S. (2008) Logical Structure and Relevance. PhD Thesis, University of Edinburgh. Carston, R. (2009) ‘Relevance Theory: Contextualism or Pragmaticism?’, in UCL Working Papers In Linguistics 21: 19-26.
Jackendoff, R. (2002) Foundations of Language: Brain, Meaning, Grammar, Evolution. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Wedgwood, D. (2007) ‘Shared Assumptions: Semantic Minimalism and Relevance Theory’, in Journal of Linguistics 43: 647-681.
Department of Hebrew Language, University of Haifa
Israel Empirical testing of RT’s comprehension procedure
Relevance Theory (RT) holds that in human communication, a speaker provides evidence of her intention to convey a certain meaning, which is inferred by the addressees on the basis of the evidence provided (Wilson and Sperber 2004:607). According to RT’s comprehension procedure describing this inference, in comprehending the speaker’s utterance, an addressee is to stop interpreting – along the path of least effort – as soon as his expectations of relevance are satisfied.
RT assumes that at this stage the addressee has reached the speaker’s intention; this “uniqueness” assumption expresses itself by the absence of any discussion, in Wilson and Sperber’s account of the comprehension procedure, of the possibility of two interpretations requiring equal effort (this can be demonstrated by applying the comprehension procedure to the text presenting it). This assumption deserves some discussion as more than one distinguished scholar seem to have denied it. I will consider the possibility to settle the question of the validity of RT’s uniqueness assumption by direct empirical test. What is needed, for this testing, is any text with two interpretations; if we know which of the two interpretations reconstructs the actual speaker’s intention, we can see whether reaching it takes, as RT comprehension procedure predicts, less effort than reaching the alternative interpretation. I will exemplify how the uniqueness assumption can be tested empirically by applying RT’s comprehension procedure to legal texts. I will analyze one case in which two judicial interpretations of a certain text (from the contract between the case’s sides) were presented in court. This case is suitable for empirical testing of the uniqueness assumption as there was no doubt which of the two judicial interpretations reconstructs the actual speaker’s intention. It is only to be shown, therefore, that as RT comprehension procedure assures us, reaching the interpretation reconstructing the speaker’s intention takes less effort than reaching the alternative interpretation.
Wilson, D. and Sperber D. (2004) Relevance Theory. In G. Ward and L. Horn (eds.) Handbook of Pragmatics. Oxford: Blackwell, 607-632.
University of Cyprus
Tell me what you hate, I will tell you who you are. (Intercultural aspects of pragmatics)
Extensive works in cross-linguistics and cross-cultural emotions carried out by Pavlenko (2005, 2008) have shown the complexity of working on the mapping of form to meaning in monolingual and bilingual communities. Our aim is todefine the cultural specificity of Cypriot Greek versus French when relating to emotional states. More precisely in this project we examine how the linguistic and cultural aspects of verbal behavior are intertwined, and how differently they are so interrelated in the French and Greek-Cypriot communities in relation to the expression of emotions. We work with written data obtained by written free associations to one specific concept and with oral data (15 videos of native speakers of Greek ad French). These data allow us to study the cultural conceptualization, including conceptual metaphor, behind linguistic expression in the context of second language learning and teaching. Our preliminary study (Baider and al. 2008 an 2009) based on free associations allowed to identify the mapping of linguistic forms to the cognitive feelings, i.e., to identify associative networks relative to “love” for both communities and to contrast as well the social behavior in both communities related to the relationships between two people (extensive work of the social aspects are found in Hadjipavlou 2004, 2007 and Cockburn 2004). Indeed, different associations made by native speakers of different languages can also be considered as markers of culture. These markers carried implicit social norms and values as much as national stereotypes. In mapping cross-cultural emotions we inevitably encounter the problem of conceptual equivalence. A word equivalent is not a conceptual equivalent as Panayiotou (2006) revealed in her work on shame in Greek and American English. As such, these social norms embedded in language could be explicated by means of what Wierzbicka called ‘cultural scripts’ in MSN (1996).
The domain of emotion (we will present the concepts of fear and hate) is an example of this complexity, put into light in Gladkova’s study (2010) for the English “sympathy”, “empathy” and “compassion” and the Russian “so’uvstvie”, “sostradanie”, and “sopere(ivanie”. The MSN framework linguistic associations will allow us to capture in a rigorous way the complexity of these partial equivalences, the boundaries and the overlapping of each translational concept between the two languages. Our previous research on “love” allowed us to map differences in cultural keywords, amounting to 30% of the responses.Cypriot- Greek speakers associate )#*+, (love) in its generic sense with -./0*1 (love in its romantic sense) and less often with 2345) (friendship), more rarely with +*671 (passion). In contrast, French speakers associate amour (love) firstly with passion and then with amitié (friendship). The differences define what we have called “intra-culturality” (Baider and Charalambidou 2008) which should be known to the speakers. This self-discovery stage is a necessary step to avoid misunderstanding and enhance better intercultural communication.
Christine Béal, Université Paul Valéry Montpellier 3
Kerry Mullan, RMIT Melbourne
Véronique Traverso, Université Lumière Lyon 2
Self-oriented humour during social visits in France and Australia
This study takes place within the framework of a larger joint project between the Universities of Montpellier 3, Lyon 2 and RMIT Melbourne on social interaction in French and Australian English. Two separate corpora of naturally occurring conversations during social visits were collected to explore conversational strategies from a comparative point of view. The corpora were designed to be comparable in terms of context and the participants’ identities. Conversational humour takes place in a context defined by a speaker, one or several addressees and a target. Self-oriented humour can be defined as humour in which the speaker takes himself/herself as the target. In the French and Australian corpora, variations can be observed both from the interactional and pragmatic points of view. Different types of criteria have therefore been combined in order to analyse self-oriented humour cross-culturally:
- Self-oriented humour can be deliberately self-initiated or it can be a form of response to specific speech-acts by another speaker in the previous turn. – Self-oriented humour can take the form of a self-deprecatory assessment or it can centre on playing with one’s self-image (by exaggerating or distortingattitudes, or portraying oneself in an incongruous or paradoxical situation). – Self-oriented humour can be occasioned by participants orienting towards face (one’s own or the addressee’s), in which case its main motivation is to achieve face-work, (i.e. self-mocking as an alternative to an explicit apology or to diffuse a criticism towards the addressee). However, it can also fulfil other pragmatic purposes, such as achieving playfulness and encouraging participants not to take themselves too seriously.
Based on these criteria, a number of similarities and differences will be demonstrated in the way French and Australian English speakers use self- oriented humour in conversational joking.
Charaudeau, P., 2006, Des catégories pour l’humour ? Questions de communication 10, 19-41. Drew, Paul. 1987. Po-faced receipts of teases. Linguistics. 25. 219-253. Dynel, M., 2009 Beyond a joke: Types of conversational humour, Language and Linguistics Compass 3/5, 1284-1299.
Ervin-Tripp S. and Lampert M., 2009, The occasioning of self-disclosure humour, Pragmatics and beyond, vol 182, 3-27, Amsterdam : John Benjamins. Glenn, P. 2003. Laughing in interaction. Cambridge: CUP. Goddard, C. 2006 “Lift your game, Martina!”: deadpan jocular irony and the ethnopragmatics of Australian English in Goddard (ed), Ethnopragmatics: understanding discourse in cultural context. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter, 65-97. Goddard, C., 2009, Not taking yourself too seriously in Australian English : Semantic explications, cultural scripts, corpus evidence, Intercultural Pragmatics, Vol 6, Issue 1, 29-53. Haugh, M. in press, Jocular mockery, (dis)affiliation and face, Journal of Pragmatics 42 Haugh, M., under review, Humour and face in getting acquainted in Davies B. and Merrison A (eds), Situated politeness Jefferson, Gail, 1979. A Technique for Inviting Laughter and its Subsequent Acceptance/Declination. In: George Psathas (ed.): Everyday Language: Studies in Ethnomethodology, 79-96. New York: Irvington. Norrick, Neal R., 1993. Conversational Joking. Humor in Everyday Talk. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press. Norrick, Neal, 2003, Issues in conversational joking in Journal of Pragmatics
35, n°9. Norrick, Neal (ed.), 2003, Journal of Pragmatics 35, n°9, Special issue on the pragmatics of humor. Priego-Valverde, Béatrice, 2003, L’humour dans la conversation familière, Paris : L’Harmattan. Sacks, Harvey. 1974. “An Analysis of the Course of a Joke’s Telling in Conversation.” in Explorations in the Ethnography of Speaking, ed. R. Bauman and J.Sherzer. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, Pp. 337–353 Schegloff Emanuel A., 2001. Getting serious: Joke _ serious ‘no’. Journal of Pragmatics, vol. 33, n°12, pp. 1947-1955.
Mercedes Belinchón and José Manuel Igoa
Universidad Autónoma de Madrid
Elena Marulanda Páez and Félix Gómez
Pontificia Universidad Javeriana
Figurative Uses in Castilian and Colombian Spanish: Comprehension of Metaphors and Idioms in High-schol and University Students
Over the last four decades, there has been an increasing number of studies devoted to the cognitive processes involved in nonliteral uses of language such as metaphors, idioms and the like (e.g., Alonso-Quecuty & de Vega, 1985; Belinchón, Igoa & Flores, 1997; Marulanda & Igoa, 2007, 2008, 2009; Igoa & Marulanda, 2009). However, normative studies of figurative expressions matched in different variables are still unavailable to researchers in the field working with materials in Spanish. This obviously hinders the comparison between the uses and meanings associated to these kind of utterances in various dialects of Spanish. Accordingly, with the aim of pursuing previous investigations in Spanish (Marulanda e Igoa, 2007), this study presents two sets of figurative expressions, namely nominal metaphors of the type A is B,and idioms with the form V+NP, in Spanish. These expressions were assessed in a number of linguistic and nonlinguistic features by native speakers of Spanish of two different varieties (Castilian and Colombian Spanish), focusing on dialectal differences between them. Metaphors were tested for degree of familiarity (with conventional and non-conventional topics), and idioms were assessed for frequency of use of their literal and figurative meanings, and for familiarity. Judgments about the plausibility of literal and figurative uses of both kinds of statements were also collected. Participants were university and high-school students matched for age in both linguitic commuinities, and high-school teachers of both countries. Results are discussed in terms of the variables associated to each kind of utterances, and according to the differences observed between both linguistic communities.
Department of Russian Philology, University of Szeged
Hungary Encyclopedic information and contextual interpretation
In lexical pragmatics, words reach their full-fledged meanings through considerable pragmatic inference on the basis of corresponding contexts or context-independent pragmatic knowledge. The latter type of knowledge includes encyclopedic information, some pieces of which become integral parts of lexical-semantic representations (LSRs). Therefore, one has to allow for other forms of the representation of word meanings besides semantic components.
First, based on my previous research into the meaning of Russian and Hungarian verbs and nouns, the present paper aims to show that encyclopedic information encoded in words can be captured at least in four ways. 1. Prototypes and lexical stereotypes prescribing the corresponding manner and goal of the events are added to the relational part of LSRs, expressed in terms of semantic components. This group of lexical items is illustrated by verbs of cutting event: Russian rezat’ ‘cut with pressing’, rubit’ ‘cut with a blow’, stri’’ ‘cut with pressing/mow/shear’, and Hungarian vág ‘cut’, nyír ‘cut with pressing/mow/shear’, etc. 2. Prototypes are built into the relational part of LSRs. In this case, prototypes account for the appearance of directional phrases originally not taken by Russian and Hungarian verbs of cutting events or spatial configuration. Cf.: nateret’ syr na makarony ‘grate the cheese onto the macaroni’. 3. Prototypes constitute the main part of LSRs, e.g. natural kind terms. 4. There is knowledge about denotations of common and proper nouns not representable in prototypes, including connotations. Second, bearing this classification in mind, I thoroughly examine different manners in which encyclopedic knowledge and information from context interact during the contextual interpretation and yield actual pragmatic meanings. One can also realize that the fourth type of encyclopedic knowledge serves as a special kind of context. In other words, contexts are extendible through encyclopedic information in order to get relevant interpretations.
Africa International University, Nairobi
Intercultural Aspects of the Speech Act of Promising: A relevance theoretic approach
In this paper I would like to review the use of the Speech Act of promising in Western and African Culture which Egner treated in her 2006 article. She used mainly Speech Act Theory. I would like to treat the same phenomenon within Sperber and Wilson’s Relevance Theory (1986,1995). My claim will be that RT can deal with the issue in a more natural and explanatory way.
The main issue has to do with the fact that many African cultures use a promise without commitment. This is done for politeness reasons, since a refusal would be culturally unacceptable while Westerners would rather not promise to avoid being insincere and use apologies for not being able to do what might be expected. If a Westerner promises he usually means to be committed to the promise. That means that the speech act of promising is a genuine performative speech act in Western Culture which cannot be said for African Culture. Of course intercultural misunderstandings are to be expected if one is not aware of each other’s cultural assumptions.
Egner recognises that Africans can, however, sometimes use a speech act with commitment. This then, so she claims, is tied to a conversational structure that would reveal the sincerity. Although I agree with Egner that how a promise is used has to do with cultural premises, I see the way she ties the use of the speech act with commitment in African culture to a conversational structure as too narrow. Africans use commitment when it is relevant for their purposes even without special structure, and do not use it for the same reasons. It is by the relevance theoretic comprehension procedure that the addressee will interpret the promise as either containing or not containing commitment.
Pilar Garces Blitvich
University of North Carolina at Charlotte
Nuria Lorenzo Dus
Patricia Bou Franch
University of Valencia
Selective dissociation, code-switching and impoliteness: the construction of the Latino identity in an on-line, polylogal diasporic environment
This paper examines some key practices through which ‘Latino identity’ is constructed in an on-line, polylogal diasporic environment, namely comments (n = 1,500) posted on YouTube as a response to the ‘Obama Reggaeton’ video, which was released during the 2008 US democratic primaries. Specifically, we explore the use of code-switching and rudeness as indexes of, respectively, affiliation and disaffiliation (cf. Auer 2005; Cashman 2005; de Fina 2006; Garces-Conejos Blitvich 2009; Lambert Graham 2007) within such identity construction practices.
Although we adopt a social constructionist approach to identity analysis (Bucholtz and Hall 2005; de Fina 2007), our methodology is quite novel in that, following Van de Mieroop (2007), we combine both qualitative and quantitative methods. Also novel is the merging of insights from social identity theory (Taifel 1978) and im-politeness models (Culpeper 2008; Lorenzo-Dus et al 2009) in order to provide a sound description of the way in which individuals do identity work as members of social groups and to pinpoint the function that rudeness plays to that end.
Our findings highlight the role of code-switching and impoliteness in individuals’ practices of selective dissociation within two broad forms of Latinoidentity positioning: bilingual versus monolingual speaker (either Spanish or English) and US-born versus immigrant. These findings confirm previous ethnographic research on Latino identity construction in US communities which has associated Spanish-English bilingualism with a positive social identity and, specifically, a means through which native-born Latinos seek to selectively dissociate themselves from immigrants, and the stereotypes that white America associates with them (Garcia-Bedolla 2003).
Universidad de Navarra
Pragmatic aspects of job interviews: an intercultural issue?
Job interviews are an oral communicative genre in which pragmatic factors play a decisive role (Thomas, 1984; Sancho, 2001). Success or failure may be conditioned by pragmatic factors rather than the cognitive difficulty of the questions. There is a tension throughout the interview between adherence togeneral conversational principles. The need to speak well of oneself has to be reconciled with Leech’s modesty maxim. On the other hand, the need to explain enough to give an impression of one’s suitability for the post has to be reconciled to Grice’s relevance maxim: the candidate faces a hard choice between concision and explicitness, since taciturnity may be interpreted as evidence of poor language skills or an uncooperative attitude, while speaking too much may create a negative impression.
In the case of job interviews conducted in an L2, such as the increasingly common job interviews in English for European applicants for professional positions, the interviewee’s difficulties are exacerbated. Linguistic problems may simply impede candidates’ performance. However, intercultural pragmatic issues may surface, such as the extent to which self-praise is regarded as acceptable, the degree of directness or respect which is felt to be appropriate, or the type and quantity of information which is supposed to be provided.
In this paper, twenty simulated job interviews held in English are analysed. The students were all Spanish-speaking Master’s students at a Spanish university, while the interviewer was from the United States. Instances of pragmatic failure are first identified and classified in terms of the maxims developed by Grice and Leech, and then discussed in the light of Spencer-Oatey’s intercultural pragmatic principles (2000) and the analysis of cultural dimensions proposed by Hall (1976) and Hofstede (2001). Finally, some strategies for preparing candidates for job interviews in English are proposed.
University of Lausanne
Television Talk-Shows as a Means to Pervasive Globalization
Within the framework of discourse analysis, one will focus on the discursive properties of a culturally anchored TV genre: the Trash talk show. At present, such broadcasts are exploited as a means to pervasive globalization, that is as a matter of profitable business.
The Trash talk shows are very popular especially in the USA and Western Europe. They are characterized as a media genre best revealed by discourse strategies:
• Entertainment as an end : apparently organized as debates, trash talk shows are aimed at the performing of the audience. Therefore argumentation is mitigated to benefit an emotional show;
• Sensitive topics : the topics under discussion are anchored in the private sphere of individuals (especially love affairs and sex life) implying schematic oppositions (male/female attitudes and identities);
• Non expert participants: Trash talk shows involve lay people for whom telling
A Discourse Analytical Approach to Intercultural Media Communication:their every day life’s experience constitutes the main resource to construct polemical identities.
Considering the foregoing, trash talk shows are culturally sensitive. Nevertheless, one observes that a successful show is often anchored in distinct media cultures. In other words, they globally benefit a kind of acclimatization: the most evident physical, social and cultural properties are transferred from one context (for example, the USA) to another (for example France) and then modified to fit other cultural expectations.
The data under analysis are two brief excerpts from two recent popular talk shows: “The Jerry Springer Show” (USA) and “Ça va se savoir” (Belgium). Obviously, the latter show is an almost perfect imitation of the former with regards to some evident changes (for example, the obese participants that are systematically appearing in the American Show become more or less attractive middle-class European females and males). The analysis focuses on the discursive dimension of the transfer operated from one cultural context to another.
María Luisa Carrió Pastor
Universidad Politécnica de Valencia
Verb Tense Variations in Domain Specific English
Through language, speakers transmit their own perception of reality and they use it to persuade, influence or manipulate their audience. Speakers’ choices of rhetorical strategies, their arrangement of linguistic elements, and their use of specific lexical items may reflect how they perceive the world and how they wish to transmit information. At the same time, language use reflects social, linguistic, cultural, educational or professional conventions.
Globalisation is a fact that we cannot ignore, with the development of technology, international communication has been increasing, so that now, we are able to work closely with people from other continents. Language evidences the cultural influences of the mother tongue of its users, and this creates different ways to express the same discourse or more specifically, the same genre. Nowadays, the English language is the most used to communicate scientific findings as the most indexed journals ask for articles in English and so this causes that authors from different cultural backgrounds use it to communicate. The massive use of English language in some genres, as for example, the scientific-technical, is causing variations or changes in languageuse. Cultural, social and linguistic backgrounds may impact on a language and produce intercultural misunderstandings. In this paper, scientific-technical papers written in English by Spanish researchers with advanced language proficiency were contrasted in order to detect the most common writing variations in verb tenses due to mother tongue influence. Our objective was to determine if these variations influenced in the misunderstanding of scientific-technical texts or were not relevant, but should be considered when writing an article by a non-native speaker of English.
The results showed that there are differences in the use of verb tenses produced by writers with different linguistic and cultural antecedents, although they share the knowledge of the specialist content and the academic way of expressing their thoughts. The variations are focused mainly in the use of the future tense. We concluded that an international language should integrate the different ways to express the same concepts as variations do not alter communication. Nevertheless, readers and writers should be conscious of cultural differences when they read or produce international research articles, in order understand concepts correctly.
Salasiah Che Lah and Hiba Qusay Abdul Sattar
Universiti Sains Malaysia
Iraqi and Malaysians’ acceptance and refusal to invitations: an intercultural perspective
A speech act is an action performed by means of language. We perform speech acts when we offer an apology, greeting, request, complaint, invitation, compliment, or refusal. Empirical studies on speech acts show that the same speech act is very likely to be realized quite differently across different cultures. This paper examines intercultural communication of the speech act of accepting and refusing an invitation in English between Iraqi and Malaysian postgraduates at the Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM). This study aims to find out the preferred semantic formulas or the appropriate strategies used in accepting and refusing an invitation. For this study, 60 university students were asked to respond to different situations in which they carry out the speech act of acceptance and refusal to invitation. The data, collected by means of a Discourse Completion Test (DCT), were analyzed in terms of semantic formulas (frequency, sequences and content) and were categorized according to the refusal taxonomy by Beebe et al (1990). It is hoped that the findings have implications for comparative cross-cultural and intercultural communication studies.
Boyd Davis and Mary Smith
University of North Carolina- Charlotte
Cross-cultural socialization into a common profession: ways nurses in Taiwan and the U.S. narrate professional identity
Acquiring the pragmatic skills of language use in varying situations is a process described for novice lawyers and medical students (Hobbs 2004). Novice nurses begin to acquire pragmatic skills in professional socialization in early training experiences and again through interaction and observation when they enter the workplace. The frequent mismatch between ways of speaking and critical thinking demonstrations in training as opposed to real-world experience identifies register-based needs: the new nurse has to identify functions for patterns of speaking to and about patients, peers and supervisors, without necessarily sharing the same interactional styles (Li 2000). Fifty novice nurses and several expert nurses in Taiwan joined an English- language seminar to see how reflective narratives help develop professionalism and promote cultural competency. With partial oral translation into Mandarin, they analyzed components in ‘Nurse Mary’s story,’ an expert American nurse’s English narrative of her earliest experiences. Then, they interviewed each other in Mandarin for brief recounts of important early experiences, and translated their interviews. These interview-tales focused on how and from whom they learned about nursing on the job. Later, two additional groups of novices, 40 Chinese and 40 U.S. nursing students, reviewed the bilingual stories, and wrote reflections identifying how those stories evidenced professional values. While both sets of reflective reviews identified caring for patients as a primary value, each framed that value slightly differently, identifying culturally different ways in speaking about the profession and the development of clinical judgment, and illustrating how the Chinese nurses were negotiating intercultural practices.
Hobbs, P. 2004. The role of progress notes. J. Pragmatics 36:1579-1607. Li, D. 2000. The pragmatics of making requests. Canadian Modern Language Review 57: 58-87 Shi, X. 2010. Intercultural language socialization. J. Pragmatics doi:10.1016/jpragma.2010.02.005
Beatriz De Paiva
University of Essex
Understanding requests in interaction: Theoretical keys in ILP
The interconnections between interlanguage pragmatics, cross-cultural and
contrastive pragmatics has had an impact on more comprehensive approaches to theory and method and has constrained more comprehensive perspectives when it comes to data analysis. This paper starts with (1) a critique of control and noticing models in information-processing and pragmatic theoretical approaches in ILP. It will argue that the principle of relevance can also offer insights into the relationship between input (linguistic environment) andsecond language learning of pragmatic abilities. The paper builds on Sperber and Wilson’s concepts of manifestness and cognitive environments. One hypothesis deriving from the RT distinction between strong and weak communication is that non-native speakers in interaction with native speakers could deliberately opt for weak communication to reduce the risk of a communication which may be precise, but inappropriate. This will be discussed (2) in the context of the analysis of results of a study of requests in Brazilian Portuguese as a second language. The focus will be on the perception of the input (‘noticing’, ‘manifestness’) and the production of routinized material (pragmatic markers) in requestive situations by learners across proficiency levels. Findings showed that for more advanced learners, the use of interpersonal markers such as attention getters (alerters) was found to require increased contextual/pragmatic processing. There seems to be a stage of advanced proficiency where the use of resources requires greater hearer effort. This suggests a stage in pragmatic development where learners have an acute awareness of the ‘untranslatability’ of pragmatic codes from their L1s to the target language. The paper will conclude (3) suggesting that pragmatic processing did not tend to conform to the effort/effect trade-off as conceived by Sperber and Wilson. It would therefore appear that for SLA settings relevance can be said to be a more gradually emergent manifestation. These findings seek to close the gap between empirical studies and the theories proposed for the development of pragmatic abilities.
Anne Marie Devlin
University College, Cork, Ireland
The complex interplay of proficiency level, submersion and identity on the acquisition of sociopragragmatic variation – the case of asking for advice
The paper falls into the category of social context and language acquisition. It explores the complex, dynamic socio-cognitive ecosystem underlying the acquisition of sociopragmatic variation patterns in highly advanced non-nativespeakers of English. This innovative project is a cross-linguistic, cross- sectional study of twenty non-native speaking teachers of English who have spent varying amounts of time in target language countries and examines the complex interplay of proficiency level; intensity and diversity of contact with the L2 ; and learner identity with the aim of establishing the impact of such variables on the acquisition of sociopragmatic variation. In order to establish the link, research was three-fold: completion of a language contact profile (LCP) questionnaire collection of performance data gained from role-plays participation in group ethnographic interviews The LCP provided information not only on the length of time spent in the target language country, but also the intensity and diversity of contact both at home and abroad. This information was correlated with the results of the role- plays whose innovative nature led to the use of natural, spontaneous speech acts across a range of social situations. The results were then triangulated with the ethnographic interviews which provided information on the attitudes to variation patterns in the L2. The project represents a development of work carried out in the field of study abroad by researchers such as Dewaele, Regan and Howard and links it with Socio-Cultural Theory. Initial findings lead to the conclusion that neither study abroad nor proficiency level is sufficient: results point to the need for exposure to a multiplicity of discourse domains and the resultant opportunities to develop a multiplicity of identities. However, the latter may be affected by how the learner identifies with the target language and the target language culture.
Mercedes Díez Prados
Universidad de Alcalá de Henares
Ana Belén Cabrejas Peñuelas
Universidad de Valencia
The evaluative function of cohesive devices in political texts
This paper explores the evaluative potential of cohesive devices in three political texts that echo one another by intertextual links in Beaugrande and Dressler’s (1981) sense: Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address (1863), Luther King’s I have a Dream (1963) and Obama’s Inaugural Address (2009). We use the results from a study on the number and types of cohesive devices found in these three texts (Cabrejas and Díez in preparation) in order to assess how they exert an evaluative function, with the final aim of moving the audience in favor of their political messages.
On the one hand, cohesive devices have been analyzed according to a model suggested in Díez (2001), which merges Halliday and Hasan’s (1976, 1989) and De Beaugrande and Dressler’s (1981) typologies of devices, and includes further adaptations to mitigate some problems found in Halliday and Hasan’s model (Cabrejas 2005). On the other, evaluation in the present paper is addressed by means of applying the methodology proposed in Appraisal Theory. The former phenomenon (i.e. cohesion) is associated with the textual metafunction of language (Halliday 1994) and the latter (i.e. appraisal) with the interpersonal one (Martin 2000).
Since, as Martin and White (2005: 1) point out, the three modes of meaning that Systemic Functional Grammar distinguishes (i.e. textual, ideational and interpersonal) “operate simultaneously in all utterances”, we here delve into the interface between these textual and interpersonal discursive devices, whose final pragmatic function is to convince the audience of the author’s stance. Thompson and Zhou (2000: 125) highlight the cohesive function of disjuntcs and Martin’s analysis (2000: 143) is rooted in evaluative lexis, therefore, both grammatical and lexical cohesion are prone to imbuing language with an evaluative flavour.
Cabrejas Peñuelas, A. B. (2005) A Comparison of the Revising Processes of Spanish Speakers and English Native Writers: Similarities and Differences. Universidad de Valencia: Unpublished Doctoral Dissertation.
De Beaugrande, R. & W. Dressler (1981) Introduction to Text Linguistics. London: Longman.
Díez Prados, M. (2001) ‘Hacia una integración de enfoques para el estudio del discurso’. Estudios de Filología Moderna 2: 71-85.
Halliday, M.A.K. (1994) An Introduction to Functional Grammar. 2nd Edition. London: Edward Arnold.
Halliday, M. A. K. and Hasan, R.. 1976. Cohesion in English. London: Longman.
Halliday, M. A. K. and Hasan, R.. 1989. Language, Context, and Text: Aspects of Language in a Social-Semiotic Perspective. 2nd Edition. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Martin, J. R. (2000). ‘Beyond Exchange: APPRAISAL Systems in English’. In Hunston, S. and Thompson, G. (eds.), Evaluation in Text. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 142-175.
Martin, J.R. and White, P.R.R. (2005). The Language of Evaluation. Appraisal in English. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.
Thompson, G. and Zhou, J. (2000) Evaluation and organization in text: The structuring role of evaluative disjuncts’. In Hunston, S. and Thompson, G. (eds.), Evaluation in Text. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 121-141.
Masaryk University, Brno, Czech Republic
Pragmatic functions of some linguistic devices realizing interpersonal meanings in political speeches
In political discourse, politicians exploit the constitutive-of-reality potential of discourse (Wodak 1996) to (re-)construct and negotiate their identities and social roles, and to (re-)define their interpersonal relations with other political actors and the general public. Thus when delivering a speech, politicians try to impose on the audience an interpretative perception of the semantic unity and purposefulness of their discourse which reflects their communicative intentions with regard to the situational, socio-cultural and pragmatic context in which the interaction takes place.
This investigation is concerned with the construction of identities and interpersonal relations in a relatively neglected genre of political discourse – opening addresses delivered by Directors-General of UNESCO at international conferences. The author argues that the genre-specific distribution of linguistic devices realising interpersonal meanings in addresses enables the speaker to assert his/her institutional identity and to guide the audience towards an intended perception of coherence, defined as a dynamic context- dependent, comprehension-based, interpretative notion (Bublitz 1999, Seidlhofer and Widdowson 1999). However, since in the intercultural context of intergovernmental organisations English is used as a lingua franca, the speakers have also to use disambiguating devices reflecting the greater risk of disturbed coherence (Bublitz and Lenk 1999) stemming from the restricted range of background knowledge shared by the participants in thecommunication. While exploring the communicative purpose and the rhetorical structure of addresses, the analysis relates the rhetorical moves of the genre to pragmatic functions of some linguistic devices realising interpersonal meanings, e.g. forms of address, deictic pronouns, modal expressions. The findings of the analysis show that these devices contribute to the perception of coherence by indicating discourse structure and by conveying a continuous appeal to the audience related to claiming common ground and shared ideology, and a consistent subjective evaluation of social actors, their actions and relations.
University of Łódz
Being cooperatively (im)polite: Grice’s model in the context of (im)politeness theories
Grice’s (1989a , 1989b, 1989c) model of cooperation forms the bedrock of core pragmatic politeness theories (Lakoff 1973, 1977, 1989; Leech 1983, 2003, 2005; Brown and Levinson 1978, 1987) and the complementary impoliteness framework (Culpeper 1996, 2005; Culpeper et al. 2003; Harris 2001; Mills 2005; Bousfield 2008a, 2008b; Bousfield and Locher 2008). The presentation aims to tease out the problematic interdependence between the Gricean model of communication, based on speaker meaning as well as the Cooperative Principle (together with its subordinate maxims), and theories of politeness and impoliteness which draw on it. It will be argued that authors’ claims tend to be anchored in misinterpretations of the Gricean account, such as considering the Gricean model of cooperation as social sharing, rather than rationality. Another misconception is tantamount to regarding implicitness (which (im)politeness theoreticians call “indirectness”) anchored in maxim flouts as being inherently correlated with politeness.
Rightly, recent developments in politeness and impoliteness theories (e.g. Arundale 1999, 2010; Watts 2003, 2005; Locher and Watts 2005; Locher 2004, 2006; Bousfield 2008a, 2008b; Bousfield and Locher 2008) place emphasis on the interactional nature of the two phenomena, yet retain the tenet of the speaker’s intentionality, central to the Gricean account of conversation. In other words, an act of (intentional) politeness or impoliteness is viewed as rendered verbally by the speaker and understood by the hearer, prototypically (albeit not always) in accordance with the speaker’s intent. On the other hand, the frameworks do allow for phenomena transcending the intention-based picture of communication, as manifested by (unintentional) rudeness (Culpeper 1996, Bousfield 2008).
Texas A&M University
Pragmatic Transfer and Individual Differences
The objective of his study was to investigate the pragmatic transfer patterns of L2 use and impact of learner subjectivity on pragmatic language choice. By describing and comparing Korean learners of English speech behavior to baseline data provided by native speakers of American English, this study attempted to (1) identify pragmatic transfer by second language learners of English; (2) account for how previous knowledge of sociocultural behavior from native language maps onto second language communication attempts; and also (3) investigate individual subjective motives that influence whether to emulate or resist L2 pragmatic norms, as a result, leading to pragmatic transfer.
Data were collected by using a Discourse Completion Task. Informal interviews were also administered to Korean ESL learners. Findings showed that great differences existed between American English and Korean speakers in the speech act of requesting in terms of the frequency, selection, and content of semantic formulas. The study revealed that Korean learners of English were utilizing their native pragmatic knowledge in their realization of requests in English. Transfer of sociolinguistic rules was especially evident in their supportive moves, such as the order of Grounder + Request, Promise of Reward, Opener/Preparator, and Apology as closing. The interview with ESL learners revealed that they were conscious of differing rules for requesting but opted to communicate in a style similar to their native culture, as a marker of cultural identity. It was evident that not all learnersperceived their ultimate goal of learning to be native-like proficiency. Rather learners viewed speaking in a second language as another means of self- expression.
Thus, the learners’ pragmatic use and the perspectives on L2 pragmatic norms in this study call for increased sensitivity to learners’ perceptions, motivation, and the role of identity in their pragmatic use and development.
Ingrid Lossius Falkum
Division of Psychology and Language Sciences University College London
Polysemy: A View from Relevance Theory
This paper investigates the phenomenon of polysemy: a single word with two or multiple related senses (e.g. catch the rabbit/order the rabbit; lose a wallet/lose a
relative; a handsome man/a handsome gift). I develop a pragmatic account of polysemy within the framework of relevance theory (Sperber & Wilson 1986/1995; Carston 2002). The claim is that polysemy arises as a consequence of our capacity to infer the meanings/thoughts that speakers intend to communicate on the basis of the linguistic expressions they are
Affiliation Abstract (max. 300 words)using, contextual information and relevance-based interpretive constraints. Although decoded linguistic meaning provides the hearer with crucial evidence for the speaker- intended meaning, it is argued that its role in the generation of polysemy is less central than is commonly thought within lexical semantic approaches. While polysemy is largely unproblematic from the perspective of communication, it poses a range of theoretical and descriptive problems, described as the polysemy paradox. In particular, the problems concern (i) the definition and delimitation of the phenomenon, (ii) the lexical representation of words exhibiting polysemy, and (iii) the cognitive-communicative motivation for its proliferation in natural languages. I show that a full-blown pragmatic account is well suited to tackle these challenges: polysemy is (generally) the outcome of a pragmatic inferential process that operates on underspecified lexical representations, and is motivated by the ability of humans to predict and infer the mental states of others on the basis of behavioural evidence, applied to the domain of verbal communication. I then discuss the nature of the pragmatic processes involved in polysemy construction, including conceptual narrowing, metaphor and metonymy. In view of the variety of these processes, I conclude that polysemy is not a natural kind but rather describes different ways in which linguistic underdeterminacy may play out at the level of lexical meaning.
Indiana University, USA
The Pragmatics of Service Encounters in Mexico and the United States
Research on service encounters has examined the structure of social interaction in different settings, in various languages, and with different discourse-analytic units (Aston, 1995; Callahan, 2008; Merritt, 1976; Orechionni, 2006; Placencia, 2008; Ventola, 1987). Service encountersrepresent one type of institutional interaction that is goal oriented, interactive, and is determined by the asymmetric position of the participants in a public setting (Aston, 1988; Drew & Heritage, 1992). The current study adopts a discourse analytic perspective and examines the sequential structure of service encounters occurring at a delicatessen setting in two countries, the United States (Mid West) and Mexico (Yucatán). The 400 natural service encounters (200 in Mexico and 200 in the United States) were recorded in each setting supplemented by field notes. Results showed similarities and differences in the sequential organization of the opening and request-response sequences. Openings predominated in the American data, and were less frequent in the Mexican data. The American interactions between the customer and the server were characterized as transactional speech (exchange of information), while the Mexicans showed a preference for interactional speech (friendly and solidarity) that characterizes Italian bookshop encounters (Aston, 1988). The initial sequence included the presence of the customer which served as a ‘summons’ (first pair part) followed by the clerk’s second pair part ‘may I help who’s next?’. Although opening requests were realized with different illocutionary verbs (e.g., I’d like…; I want…; I need…; give me..; I’m gonna have…) and elliptical requests (verbless), the most frequent form in the American data included the conventionalized expression ‘can/could I get/have’…:, while a direct request predominated in the Mexican data (‘déme or quiero’ [give me or ‘I want’]). Overall, the request-response sequence was comprised of a series of sequences of actions that made up the entire transaction (e.g., (greeting), request-response, repetition-response, clarification-response, repair sequences, closing).
Lucía Fernández Amaya
Universidad Pablo de Olavide
Simultaneous speech in English and Spanish closings
The aim of this talk is to introduce the results of a contrastive analysis of simultaneous speech in telephone conversation closings in English and Spanish. This constrast is justified by diffferent studies that have shown that, not only the use of simultaneous speech, but its interpretation may vary from one culture to another (Makri-Tsilipakou, 1994; Pavlidou 1998). The corpus for this research is made by 23 telephone closings in American English and Peninsular Spanish. After the analysis it can be observed that there are more cases of simultaneous speech in the Spanish closings than in the English ones. According to Brown and Levinson (1978, 1987), simultaneous speech threatens the interlocutor’s face: “… turn-taking violations (interrupting, ignoring selection of other speakers, not responding to prior turns) are all FTAs in themselves, as are violations of opening and closing procedures” (1987: 232- 233). However, Makri-Tsilipakou (1994) explains that this idea is derived from the white American turn-taking system, and it could change if different cultures are taken into account. I totally agree with this author, and this may be the case in the present study. Therefore, Spanish cases of simultaneous speech may be interpreted as positive politeness, since the hearer is so interested in what the speaker is saying that cannot wait to intervene. So, as can be seen, the results from this study lead to conclusions explainable not only from a conversation analysis point of view but from a pragmatic one, more specifically from politeness theory.
Brown, P. & Levinson, S. (1978) “Universals of Language Usage: Politeness Phenomena”, en E. Goody (ed) Questions and Politeness, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 56-324. —–. (1987) Politeness: Some Universals in Language Use, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Makri-Tsilipakou, M. (1994) “Interruption Revisited: Affiliative vs. Disaffiliative Intervention”, Journal of Pragmatics 21, 401-426.
Università degli Studi di Pavia (Italy)
A model of interpersonal stance: formality, power, social distance and respect.
Recent research on stance-taking in discourse has uncovered interesting interactional and pragmatic aspects of communication, such as the attitudinal positioning of speakers towards reality, the subjective evaluation of propositions, and the mechanisms of alignment and negotiation of points of view among individuals (cf. Englebretson 2007; Jaffe 2009). Scant attention, however, has been devoted to the interpersonal component of stance-taking in interaction, i.e. the expression of interpersonal meanings and attitudes associated with participants’ social roles, personal relationships and identities. The aim of this paper is to provide a model of interpersonal stance able tocapture the close interconnection between situational context, social categories and discourse, along four socio-semiotic dimensions of interaction: formality, power, social distance, and respect. The four dimensions are conceptualized by making reference to the main components of situation, i.e. setting of interaction, purpose of activity, and participants’ personal and positional identities (cf. Brown/Fraser 1979). The model accounts for some contextual parameters that regulate the dynamic management of rapport, such as the spatial organization of activities, participants’ institutional roles, social status and personal identities (i.e. personality, attitudes). A model based on situational categories seems to be particularly useful in the investigation of intercultural aspects of pragmatics in English Lingua Franca interactions involving individuals from different lingua-cultural backgrounds, as it adopts a context-based perspective rather then a culture-based one. Excerpts of naturally occurring academic interactions in English Lingua Franca are analysed to identify some of the linguistic strategies (e.g. terms of address and honorifics, personal pronouns, modal auxiliaries) employed by participants in the expression of interpersonal stance.
References Englebretson, R. (2007) (ed.) Stancetaking in Discourse. Amsterdam: Benjamins. Jaffe, A. (2009) (ed.) Stance: Sociolinguistic perspectives. Oxford: OUP. Brown, P./Fraser, C. (1979) ‘Speech as a marker of situation’. In Scherer, K./Giles, H. (eds.) Social markers in speech. Cambridge: CUP. 33-62.
Constantine the Philosopher University in Nitra
“What” student is successful in application of speech acts relevance in ever-changing situations of intercultural communication?
Spontaneity, success and coherence of intercultural communication are nowadays researched from the point of view of different pragmatic theories. Although, not always is there enough attention paid to individual (person oriented) characteristics of the communicating people. These characteristics, as well as the context and social specifics of communication, influence communication behaviour in a foreign language discourse.
In our paper, we focused on exploration of individual characteristics that condition comprehension, interpretation and creation of speech acts in mother tongue as well as in foreign language and also designate the level of interlanguage at Slovak students of foreign languages. In the realized research, we examined intelligence-language and teaching preconditions of students, like teaching styles, strategies, ability of assessment, assertiveness and self- evaluation and their influence on comprehension and creation of chosen speech acts in a foreign language. Our attention was caught mostly by the relevance of student interactions and content contingency of produced speech acts in chosen situations of foreign language discourse. Situations, chosen by ourselves, represent cultural and pragmatic-linguistic differences between Anglo-Saxon, Spanish, Slavonic, Slovak culture and languages. We found outthat the choice of language means, that the respondents have chosen to realize the speech acts of a desired kind, is influenced also by individual and social factors of student’s personality, because especially those determine the functioning of cognitive schemes in understanding and knowing the language. The conclusion of our contribution is devoted to synthesizing of gained research results and finding answers to following questions: How to update knowledge that is required for interpretation of native speaker’s pronouncement in a certain kind situation? How to correctly apply relevant speech acts and in what measure should students recognize their individual language and personal prerequisites and how to work with them?
Thorstein Fretheim, Norwegian University of Science and Technology
Nana Aba Appiah Amfo, University of Ghana
The form and reference of pronominal subjects and nominal predicates in English, Norwegian and Akan copula sentences
The pronominal form (personal/non-personal) of English and Norwegian copula sentence subjects depends only partly on whether the referent is an object or an attribute of the denotatum of the predicate nominal. In Akan (Niger-Congo), which copula to use depends on semantic features of the predicate complement, much less on whether the subject pronoun represents an individual or a property. In Norwegian, a non-personal subject pronoun (sg.n.) is permitted whenever the predicate takes the form of an NP, and mandatory when the predicate nominal is used referentially. We compare the existing syntactic patterns for equative and ascriptive copula sentences with a pronominal subject in English, Norwegian and Akan (exemplified in (1)- (2)).
(1) Who’s the president? *He’s / That’s / It’s Bennett.
(2) Norwegian: *Han / Det er Bennett. that/it
Akan: -ne Bennett he-cop (-ne requires a referentially used complement; referent.)
- represents a human
or: –y- Bennett it-cop (-y- signals that the complement expresses a property of the subject referent, and the prefix — signals that the referent is non-human – but not so here!)
(2) Who’s Bennett? He’s / That’s the president.
Norwegian: *Han / Det er presidenten. he that is president-DEF
Akan: -ne Omanpanyin. he-cop President
The distribution of personal and non-personal pronouns differs widely between the three languages. We discuss the relative importance of the subject pronoun itself, the rest of the
sentence, and context, as determinants of the type of subject referent: object or attribute. Finally cases of borrowing/transfer in Akan and Norwegian will be discussed. Akan –y-
in (1) is argued to be due to a transfer and borrowing of English ‘It’s…’, and negative transfer typically causes Norwegian L2 speakers of English to say “That is the rules” instead of “Those are the rules,” and “It’s my daughters” in response to “Who are those girls?”.
Arizona State University
Gender Pragmatic Variation when Responding to a Request to Promise?
While there is ongoing interest in exploring regional pragmatic variation in Spanish, little work has been done on gender pragmatic variation. Using data collected in open role-play interactions and using Spencer-Oatey’s (2005) rapport-management model, this paper expands research on the preferred communicative patterns of Peruvian Spanish speakers by examining the similarities/differences between males and females when responding to a request for a promise, in a situation exhibiting no power differential or social distance between interlocutors.
Results show that instead of the anticipated male-female difference (Holmes 1995; Lozano 1995), both male and female subjects exhibited a rapport- maintenance orientation, using strategies that respected the involvement, empathy and respect components of the association principle, but also threatened, albeit to a lesser extent, the empathy component of the association principle, and the autonomy-control component of the equity principle. It is this balance between support and threat that characterized both male and female participants indistinguishably. Furthermore, both males and females enhanced and undermined the interlocutor’s identity and respectability face, exhibiting no gender differences, and in doing so, enhanced their own. It is argued here that these violations might be permitted behavior within the context of this situation in a culture that favors interdependent self-construals (Marcus and Kitayama 1991), as shown by the interlocutor’s responses who did not complain, but instead devoted her participation to obtaining the interlocutor’s compliance at all costs.
Holmes. Women (1995): Men and Politeness. London: Longman. Lozano, Irene (1995): Lenguaje femenino, lenguaje masculino. Madrid: Minerva Ediciones, 1995Marcus, Hazel and Shinobu Kitayama (1991): “Culture and the Seelf: Implications for Cognition, Emotion and Motivation.” Psychological Review, vol. 98 (2): 224- 253.
Spencer-Oatey, Helen (2005): “(Im)Politeness, face and perceptions of rapport: Unpackaging their bases and interrelationships”, In: Journal of Politeness Research 1, 95-119.
Institute for Logic Cognition, Language and Information (University of the Basque Country)
“What is Said” in Ironic Communication?
The traditional pragmatic accounts avoid using the term “saying” when explaining irony. This is not a mere coincidence –behind that avoidance strategy a fundamental characteristic of irony lies hidden: ironic utterances cannot be easily reported with common verbs such as “saying”, “asserting” or the like. That’s what we call irony’s “what is said issue”: it really seems that nothing is said in irony.I shall mention the main alternatives offered up to now to solve this issue: Grice (1967/1989) states that the ironic speaker makes as if to say; Sperber & Wilson (1981) claim that she makes an echoic mention; and Clark & Gerrig (1984) hold that she pretends to say. If considered separately, each of these approaches has some major limitation, which makes us reject it as a valid option for facing the issue. But, if we look at them as a whole, we shall realize that they take a very similar approach to tackling the issue we are now concerned with: instead of clearing up the concept of saying in ironic utterances, they merely offer a substitute for “ironically saying”.
I shall then propose an alternative theory to explain irony, following the pathway opened up by Korta & Perry (2006a, 2006b, 2007a, 2007b, 2007c) in their Critical Pragmatics. In fact, we must realize that the problem of what is said does not belong exclusively to ironic utterances, but comes from the existing confusion within general pragmatics. We shall see that the critical pragmatic approach clears up this general mess, and so can help us solve irony’s specific problem. Summing up, I shall maintain that this way of approaching irony allows us to dismantle the “what is said issue”, while offering a suitable explanation for ironic communication.
Mignette Marcos Garvida
Affiliation Department of French and Spanish Languages and Literatures, Ryerson University
“Conyo Talk”: Identity, difference, and power in Filipino society
“Conyo talk” is a Filipino linguistic and cultural phenomenon that purportedly identifies and differentiates people of ‘power’ from the common masses. It is a type of discourse that arose from the impact of Spanish and American colonization. This paper will examine how anonymous participants in popular public blog sites embody the discourse while discussing “what is conyo ba?”. I am analyzing how the participants, as conyo speakers, position themselves, and ask what the socio-cultural implications of these representations are. This study will be based on ethno-methodologically inclined discourse analysis (Tate, 2007) and I will demonstrate the existence of hybridity in the Philippine society in which the participants instinctively or deliberately interpret discourses and position themselves in order to construct or establish their own identities. In conclusion, I will discuss the implications for intercultural pragmatics and the constraining, facilitating or subjectification effects of conyo talk on Filipino society.
University of New England (Australia)
Social categories and styles of communication: a Russian perspective
On the basis of Russian language and culture this paper argues that predominant cultural styles of communication should be considered in relation to dominating social categories. Russian styles of interaction are oftencharacterised as polar. Generally, it is noted that one’s close people are treated with warmth and overt display of emotions, while strangers are treated with reservation and lack of emotions. Yet, it is also known that suddenly the ice can break and ‘outsiders’ get warm and genuine treatment similar to ‘insiders’. The underlying reasons explaining when this change can happen often remain a mystery for cultural outsiders (Richmond 2003, Pesmen 2000, Larina 2009). This paper argues that dominating Russian styles of interaction are consistent with the polarity of social categories such as ‘svoi’ (our/similar people), ‘nashi’ (our people), ‘rodnye’ (kin), ‘blizkie’ (close people), on the one hand, and ‘chuzhie’ (distant people) and ‘postoronnie’ (outsiders), on the other hand. This study attempts to unravel the meanings of these highly language- and culture-specific terms on the basis of a detailed semantic analysis of corpus data (Russian National Corpus). It provides definitions of these terms in universal human concepts as they are identified in the Natural Semantic Metalanguage (NSM) (Goddard and Wierzbicka 2002). The use of simple universal concepts makes the definitions translatable into any language and accessible to cultural insiders and outsiders alike. These definitions explain underlying principles of social categorisation in Russian culture.
The paper also proposes cultural scripts (that is, cultural norms consistent with linguistic data and worded in universal human concepts) which spell out Russian norms of interaction dependent on these social categories. The paper demonstrates how these differing styles of interaction apply to the domain of emotion display in Russian culture (Gladkova 2010, Wierzbicka 2009).
Department of English Philology, Herzen University, St.Petersburg,Russia
Conflict and Tolerance in Communication
Conflicts raging in private life and intolerance permeating all strata of society are among unpleasant hallmarks of our world. The paper deals with the nature of “conflict communication” and the category of tolerance alongside pragmalinguistic means and procedures of describing them. Main causes of conflict communication are as follows: – inadequate understanding vocabulary used in discussion may provoke no other mode of interaction except conflict; – choice of subject matter used in controlled conflict both to manipulate the interlocutor’s belligerent behavior, to predict and, if necessary, to forestall any negative reaction; – disagreement over the subject of discussion (implicit or explicit confrontation of opinion); – disagreement over evaluation of the subject and its social impact. Among the most typical objectives and strategies used in conflict communication are: -downplaying the “positive image” of the opponent by damaging their good reputation and authority and undermining trust in them; -invective strategy intended to destroy one’s personal dignity by derision and verbal abuse. It would target biological (racial, ethnic, physical, physiological, sexual orientation, etc.), intellectual characteristics and social status of the opponent; -coercion – threats, bans, commands (aggressive insistence). On the contrary, successful cooperation on the basis of the “maxims of discourse” cannot be achieved unless such principles of tolerance as ethically correct use of language, proper response to improper language of the opponent, and desire to level off unpleasant effects, etc. are observed. Among the most effective strategies are: avoid highly-emotional speech, use vague and equivocal language, express regret when criticizing, criticize by way of giving recommendations and suggestions using markers of diffidence, doubt and readiness to cooperate. Such special devices as tag and rhetorical questions, analogies, references to authority, etc. also serve the purpose of cooperation.
Paula Gozalo Gómez
Universidad Autónoma de Madrid
Discourse Marker “Bueno” in the learning of Spanish as a Second Language
Pragmatics has been considered one of the least researched areas in Spanish second language acquisition and teaching, not only for the complexity of the discipline but also for the attention received by other levels such as lexicon or grammar (Alba-Salas y Salaberry 2007). However, available studies show that pragmatics aspects are a problematic area for learners and it is obvious that proficiency in it implies an advanced competence in L2. This work is framed in a perspective which considers explicit teaching of pragmatics necessary, even at the earliest levels of instruction. Within this teaching, conversational marker bueno, a subtype of discourse marker, has received a lot of attention, given its high frequency in the authentic input to which the learner should be exposed.
Authors of pedagogic material have tried to include these kinds of elements in spontaneous oral interactions, however we still lack a variety of specific didactic proposals to facilitate the learning of these units in the classroom. The aim of this work is to provide an analysis of the discourse marker bueno, one of the most frequent in oral discourse, which will allow us to carry out a series of didactic proposals with spontaneous speech corpus-based samples.
Carmen Gregori Signes and María Alcantud Díaz
Universitat de València
Spanglish: learning English through cartoons
Spanglish is a reality which has been present for a long time both in real and academic contexts. In real life, Spanglish is used almost in an unmarked way in societies where both English and Spanish co-exist naturally, e.g. Texas (USA) where the series I analyze here Handy Manny/Manny Manitas is set. The program includes several examples of translations/code-switching (Myers- Scotton 1993, 2002; Kecser 2006) in English/Spanish (L2) in each episode. This article presents the results of the analysis of 25 episodes of Handy Manny with a view to assessing critically how both languages are used, in what contexts and with what function. The analysis includes both a quantitative and a qualitative evaluation of the presence of L2, in comparison with L1. The article is organized in several parts. First, we look at the number of words in each episode to grade quantitatively the presence of L2. Secondly, we offer a quantitative account of code-switching in a) intra-sentential contexts (e.g. “¿Quien ha perdido esa coin tan especial?”) as well as b) intersentential contexts (e.g. “Oh my!” embedded in a chunk of Spanish discourse ). Thirdly, the examples of consecutive translation will be also accounted for, paying special attention to the order in which languages appear so as to find out possible emerging patterns in the way both languages are used (e.g. do they say “well done/bien hecho” or the other way round). We then proceed to evaluate the quantitative results qualitatively, taking into account at all times the addressee as well as the situation in which both languages alternate. Our intention is to clarify the pragmatic function patterns that emerge from the alternance between L1 and L2. From the corpus analysed three aspects deserve attention from a pragmatic perspective: a) permanent items (e.g. the two songs that appear in the series, the names of the characters etc.); b) interactional contextualized vocabulary (i.e. those words or phrases that are topically related to each episode in particular); and c) interpersonal emphatic pragmatic expressions whose function is to regulate the interpersonal relationship between the characters (e.g. “it’s perfect!”, “I’m grateful!”) (Holmes 1992) or with the audience both internal or external (e.g. hence the use of consecutive translation). We finally evaluate these elements in relation to their potential as language teaching material, since language learning seems to be one of the production and marketing objectives of the series.
Universidad de Alicante
Intercultural business pragmatics: The case of the business letter
According to “Effects on the European economy of shortages of foreign languages skills in enterprise”, a study commissioned by the Directorate General for Education and Culture of the European Commission in December 2005 and undertaken by the UK National Centre for Languages, in collaboration with an international team of researchers, European small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) experience intercultural as well as language barriers when operating across borders and, what is more, a significant amount of business is being lost to European enterprise as a result of these barriers.
Drawing on the main premise that it is the pragmatics of a language that reflects the ongoing culture more openly (Wierzbicka 1992: 375), this paper explores the effects of intercultural unawareness in international business communication in which English is used as the lingua franca. Fantini in his article “About intercultural communicative competence: A construct” defines intercultural communicative competence as “(…) the complex of abilities needed to perform effectively and appropriately when interacting with others who are linguistically and culturally different from oneself” (2005: 1). By contrast, intercultural unawareness may pose serious problems for people in international business and inevitably lead to misperception, miscommunication, misunderstanding, and even loss of business turnover, as shown in recent European market surveys.
This discussion is based on the empirical research that was carried out among a selected sample of Spanish SMEs faced with the challenge of international trade in the Valencia Community. For these SMEs, writing an effective and appropriate business letter of introduction may be considered to be the first step towards making a good start in international business communication. However, more often than not, the problem arises when a business letter of introduction fails to take into account the dissimilar rhetorical discourse patterns, sociopragmatic conventions and pragmalinguistic patterns of behaviour “introducing a company” may involve in a different lingua-culture,
and limits itself to simply encoding the message in the English language as a global language of communication. The case of a Spanish company’s business letter of introduction will serve to illustrate the adverse effects overlooking cultural adaptation and accommodation to the target audience may have for the company’s market expansion expectations. The methodological approach employed in this discussion is based upon a pragmatic model designed for the analysis of intercultural business communication between Spaniards and Britons within the framework of the COMINTER-SIMULNEG research project (HUM2006-12989) (Guillén Nieto 2009: 37-50), and tests the hypothetical correlation between culture-specific orientations and language-specific behaviour that was put forward for both the Spanish and English lingua- cultures.
Key words: intercultural business communication, intercultural barriers, intercultural communicative competence, the business letter of introduction, lingua-culture, culture-specific orientations, language-specific behaviour
University College London
Reflexive and referential contents and the notion of proposition expressed in pragmatic theory
Korta & Perry (2006, 2007, 2008) criticize the notion of proposition expressed, or ‘what is said’, used by contextualists/pragmaticists (Carston, Recanati, Sperber & Wilson) on the grounds that, often, it does not serve as input to the hearer’s inference to implicatures – one of the functions that these theories seem to require of the proposition expressed:
‘the assumption that for the generation of implicatures it is necessary to have … the (enriched) explicature … or the contextually-shaped what-is-said … is a mistake; one can reason about the likely intentions of a speaker on the basis of a very utterance-bound description of what he has said’ (Korta & Perry 2007: 103)
Instead, they argue that (implicatures aside) any utterance has a plurality of contents: alongside the ‘official content’, which they take to correspond to proposition expressed, are a number of other propositions of varying degrees of reflexivity or descriptiveness, including one determined solely by linguistic meaning.
In this paper I aim to assess the content pluralism approach, in particular its points of agreement/disagreement with relevance theory pragmatics. One of its implications is that it appears to motivate positing additional levels of propositional content intermediate between linguistic meaning and proposition expressed, somewhat similar to minimal propositions a la Borg or Cappelen & Lepore. I clarify the notions of proposition expressed/what is said being deployed and argue that such apparently intermediate propositions are the propositions expressed, in any sense relevant to communication. Other issues to be considered include, first, whether the radical content pluralism advocated by K&P is necessary in addition to the recognition that utterance content may be any of a variety of different kinds of contents, and, second, the rejection of the idea that a sentence’s linguistic meaning is subpropositional.
Fernanda Henriques Dias
Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro
Bilingualism and Identity: keeping the national identity abroad
Taking into account the concept of “bilingualism” as the coexistence of two or more languages in a certain context and “bilinguality” as the individual manifestation of bilingualism (SALGADO, 2008) I propose to analyze processes of foreign language learning associated with the experience of living in a new cultural site. Considering that the bilinguality of a subject is in constant transformation (GARCIA, 2002; MEJÍA, 2009; SALGADO, 2008) and that the way we put our bilinguality into use is directly linked to the identity representations we want to focus on (FLORY & SOUZA, 2009; CUNHA et al, 2007; BAYNHAM, 2005) I analyze the way exchange students portray their identity through narratives. By analyzing the interviews carried out with young people from different countries who go to Brazil to spend one year there, in small cities, in order to learn Brazilian language and culture we can notice the way they present or reject their identities as foreigners (DE FINA 2003, 2006; BUCHOLTZ e SKAPOULLI, 2009) and how they choose to present their bilinguality through code switching. For some of them, bilingualism is shown as a way of living a hybrid identity trying not to go against their own countries and their identities as foreigners but also trying not to be rude with the society in which they are spending their time. For others, monolingualism is chosen as a way of showing their identities as foreigners as well as a way of showing how much knowledge they have of the foreign language of the country they are living in. By analyzing the small narratives (GEORGAKOPOULOU 2007; BAMBERG 2006) told by these exchange students this presentation points out the relationship betweenbilinguality and biculturalism, which is extremely important to act in any society.
Key-words: bilingualism, bilinguality, identity representations
Universidad Autónoma de Madrid
Universidad Rey Juan Carlos
Pragmatic inferencing and the interactions between multimodal metaphors and metonymies in advertising discourse
Although metaphor is a central area of research in linguistics, the relation between metaphor and metonymy has only recently received attention by scholars. Similarly, the relation between metaphor and metonymy in multimodal discourse is still virtually an unexplored area in discourse- pragmatic studies. Our main claim in the present paper is that pragmatic inferencing plays a crucial role in the interaction between metonymy and metaphor, and, consequently, in the creation of meaning, in advertising discourse. Drawing on previous research carried out on Conceptual Metaphor Theory (Lakoff and Johnson 1980, Gibbs 1994), metonymy (Ruiz de Mendoza Ibañez and Díez Velasco 2003), multimodal metaphor and metonymy (Forceville 1996, 2002, Forceville and Uriós Aparici 2009) and discourse and pragmatic studies of metaphor (Mey 2006, Semino 2008), we explore the relations between metaphor and metonymy in a selection of printed advertisements on ICTs and identify the pragmatic processes which contribute to the establishment of links between metonymic chains and between metonymies and metaphors. We adopt Ruiz de Mendoza and Díez Velasco’s (2003) approach to the analysis of metonymy and its application to the analysis of multimodal discourse (Uriós-Aparisi 2009), and thus analyse the distribution of visual and verbal features across target and source domains in both metonymies and metaphors. Our study reveals that while source elementstend to be represented visually, target elements, typically the name of the brand or the advertised product, are expressed verbally or are not expressed at all and thus require a process of pragmatic inferencing. Furthermore, the relations between metonymic chains and metaphors take place by means of a process in which metonymy plays a facilitating and motivating role in order to allow the activation of ontological metaphors. These ontological metaphors, in turn, underlie more complex metaphorical relations which are processed pragmatically.
REFERENCES Forceville, C. 1996. Pictorial metaphor in advertising. London: Routledge. Forceville, C. 2006. Non-verbal and multimodal metaphor in a cognitivist framework: Agenda for research. In Kristiansen, G. et al. (Eds.) Cognitive linguistics: Current Applications and Future Perspectives. Berlin and New York: Mouton de Gruyter,379-402. Forceville, C. and Urios-Aparisi, E. (eds). 2009. Multimodal Metaphor. Berlin/New York: Mouton de Gruyter. Gibbs, R. (1994) The Poetics of Mind. Figurative Thought, Language and Understanding. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Lakoff, G. and Johnson, M. 1980. Metaphors We Live By. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Mey, J. (2006) Metaphors and activity. DELTA: Documentação de Estudos em Lingüística Teórica e Aplicada. Vol 22. http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0102 44502006000300005&lng=en&nrm=iso (accessed 25/11/08) Ruiz de Mendoza Ibañez, F. J. and Díez Velasco, O. I. 2003. Patterns of conceptual interaction. In R. Dirven and R. Pörings (Eds.) Metaphor and Metonymy in Comparison and Contrast. Berlin and New York: Mouton de Gruyter, 489-532. Semino, E. (2008) Metaphor in Discourse. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
key words: pragmatic inferencing, multimodal discourse, metonymy, metaphor, advertising
University of Athens, English Department
Pragmatic competence: an index of linguistic proficiency
This paper examines how pragmatic competence may be used as an indicator of linguistic proficiency in a way that allows for a reliable assessment of academic learners’ language ability. Pragmatic competence is defined as (a) the ability to identify linguistic markers and explicit meaning (Language Awareness), (b) the ability to retrieve relevant pragmatic effects (Pragmatic Awareness), and (c) the ability to explicate the unidirectional link between (a) and (b), namely how linguistic features guide the reader into the intendedinterpretation, and how retrieved interpretations may reinvent linguistically encoded meaning (Metapragmatic Awareness). Evidence from statistical analysis of 273 exam script results from Academic Discourse (1st semester course) reveals a positive correlation between the ‘summarizing’ and the ‘genre conversion’ (popular to academic) tasks, and a positive correlation between the ‘outline’ and the ‘data description’ tasks. An inverse correlation is revealed between the ‘summarizing’ and ‘outline’ tasks, and between the ‘genre conversion’ and the ‘data description’ tasks. The findings indicate that successful performance in mechanistic, form-focused tasks (outline, description of data) is not an indication of linguistic proficiency, whereas low/high performance in genuine pragmatic tasks (genre conversion), drawing on abilities (a), (b) and (c) above, is an indication of low/high linguistic proficiency respectively, as manifested in creative language tasks (‘summarizing’, ‘synthesis’) too. It is suggested that a holistic pragmatic assessment tool subsumes and includes a ‘language’ assessment tool, therefore the former can be used as a reliable index not only of pragmatic competence, but of academic learners’ overall language proficiency too.
Francisco Miguel Ivorra Pérez
Departamento de Filología Inglesa de la Universidad de Alicante
Equality or Deference? An intercultural communication approach to Spanish and U.S. Business Websites
Keywords: intercultural communication, cultural dimension, business website, communicative strategies
The purpose of this paper is to study the way in which the power distance (Hofstede, 1980) cultural dimension influence on the communicative strategies used by U.S. and Spanish manufacturers to transmit information in their business websites. Considering the results obtained by Hofstede (1980), we will try to achieve the following two specific aims: (a) to analyse the value placed by Spanish and U.S citizens towards this cultural dimension and how it is reflected on the communicative strategies used in their business websites to convey information about their companies and products and (b) to examine the degree of cultural adaptation of Spanish and U.S. business websites towards this world dimension and determine what kind of communicative strategies should be considered appropriate to improve the communication established between both countries through their business websites.
A selected sample of 100 business websites from the toy sector was chosen for the analysis (50 from Spanish companies and 50 from U.S. companies). Then, a quantitative analysis, in percentage, was carried out to examine the degree of equality or deference communicative strategies that are displayed in each one of the websites selected.
Due to the interdisciplinarity of the study, we take into account tools from different disciplines, such as: (a) social anthropology (Hofstede, 1980); (b) language for specific purposes with especial attention to the language of a professional digital genre like the business website (Posteguillo, 2002; Boardman, 2004; Askehave y Nielsen, 2005); and (c) pragmatics linguistics (the Relevance Principle of Sperber and Wilson, 1986 and the Linguistic Politeness Principle of Scollon and Scollon, 1995).
The paradigm of cultural dimensions designed by Hofstede (1980) offers the linguist new lines of interdisciplinary research around the influence of culture on the language of business websites and allows further study on the achievement of intercultural competence in the business world.
Askehave, I., & Nielsen, A. (2005). “Digital genres: a challenge to traditional genre theory”. Information Technology & People, 18(2): 120-141. Boardman, M. (2004). The Language of Web Sites. Routledge, NY. Hofstede, G. (1980). Culture’s consequences: intercultural differences in work related values. Thousand Oaks, C.A: Sage Publications, Inc.
Posteguillo Gómez, S. (2002). “Netlinguistics and English for Internet Purposes (EIP)”. Ibérica 4: 21-38. Scollon, R. & Scollon, S. W. (1995) Intercultural Communication: a discourse approach. Oxford, UK & Cambridge, USA.
Sperber, D., & Wilson, D. (1986). Relevance: communication and cognition. Oxford: Blackwell.
University of Copenhagen
Intercultural Pragmatics at Job Interviews with Immigrants in Denmark
Previous studies (Jørgensen & Quist 2001, Kirilova 2006) show that the majority of Danes tend to be prejudiced by the general negative social and political view on ethnic minorities in Denmark, particularly immigrants with a background in the Middle East, Africa, and Asia. Danish with a foreign accent has been stigmatized as a non-prestigious variant of Danish and there are highly normative attitudes towards Danish with a foreign accent. These attitudes hinder the nonprestigious minority groups in getting a prestigious job in Denmark. Job interviews are rather demanding as it comes to language and an unfortunate hurdle for the non- native speakers of Danish. In the talk I will focus primarily on how various pragmatic aspects challenge the communication in Danish as the target language of the job interview. I will show examples of pragmatic strategies used by the applicants to negotiate meaning and solve misunderstandings. I approach the data via the methods of interactional sociolinguistics (IS) as I find intercultural pragmatics very suitable forstudying through IS tools. I will argue that mastering of the pragmatics of the target language is one of the most important strategies for success at the job interview thus leaving the mastering of phonetics and grammar behind. I will discuss the term fluency in terms of intercultural pragmatics as a key factor to the applicants’ successful presentation at the interview. Alongside with the pragmatic aspects, I will also present examples of membership categorizations and mutually constructed prejudices that are formed through misunderstandings in the intercultural pragmatics. Data consist of 41 audio recorded job interviews for 10 positions at the municipality of Copenhagen, and 6 evaluative interviews where the job committees discuss the applicants’ qualifications and language competence with respect to the job.
A reconsideration of Conventional Implicature and its implications for speech act theory
In this presentation I will reconsider Grice’s notion of conventional implicature and Blakemore’s (2000, 2002) assumption of the unambiguous indication to procedural computations encoded in certain connectives. Blakemore (2000), responding to Bach (1999), claims that the distinction between procedural and conceptual meaning is necessary because, apart from conceptual representation that are the input to inferential computations, there are also procedures that aid this inferential computation. Connectives have been considered as encoding mostly procedural meaning in as much as they guide the inferential procedure in deriving relevance between propositions.
While I would agree with the basic argument, I would have to restate that not all connectives encode unambiguous indications or meanings in order to guide the inferential computation. As I noticed and claimed a long time ago (Koutoupis-Kitis 1982, Kitis 1984), there are connectives which are ambiguous between an inferential or argumentative use and an explanatory or causal one. Not only are these connectives ambiguous as to their interpretability, but they also infect the truth-conditionality of their conjuncts. So not only can they not be considered to aid the interpretability of their conjoined propositions, but also the propositions conjoined cannot be isolated as far as their truth- conditions are concerned from the interpretation of the connectives. I will further analyse the function of those connectives that traditionally have been considered to generate conventional implicatures and their connection to speech acts performed by their utterance. I will suggest that Grice’s later (1989) views of the function of such connectives are to be interpreted at theinterpersonal level, leaving intact the representational level of semantics. However, I will propose that all levels of the function and meaning of these connectives (cf Sweetser 1990) can be viewed holistically and explained in a unified manner and that their basic, but broadened semantic meaning, is the basis of all their functions at all the levels of language and discourse.
Postdoctoral Fellow, Foundation for Intercultural and Interreligious Research and Dialogue, Geneva.
About mental categorization and frame metonymies as tools to enhance intercultural pragmatics
Our major challenge in this fast moving world lies in understanding Others, succeeding in intercultural bridging, and being understood. To achieve that objective, one should better apprehend the elaborate mechanism of meaning construction. For an outsider, objects and events can seem unrelated and meaningless. He will not even be aware that he is in an “active zone” of meaning; whereas, the insider will derive meanings. This ability helps the insider to learn from experience (Rosch 1999). At the root of discernment lie two fundamental cognitive processes. The first is the capacity to classify events, signs, concepts or emotions: the mental categorization; the second concerns the relation that exists between these elements, often a relation of contiguity: the frame metonymy. This paper is an extract of my dissertation on “strategies of covert discourse” where I exposed various mechanisms of “covert discourse” chosen by a person wishing to express his ideas or knowledge,without exposing himself to criticism or to the displeasure from authority figures, while still being able to speak out. The possible substitution between words in the same frame metonymy is at the core of a sense of freedom of a speaker. This shows that metonymy is “probably even more basic to language and cognition” than metaphors (Barcelona 2003). My approach relies on research in semiology, cognitive science, linguistics and anthropology. I operate within and at the crossroads of these fields.
This paper will present theoretical fundamentals of these two cognitive processes and, by using tools from interactionist linguistics, analyze how they apply to real examples. My interest in these theories lies in their encounter, because, together, they clarify how cognitive processes function; thus enabling us to better master pragmatics on an intercultural level.
University of Cambridge
Intercultural competence revisited: theory and pedagogy
The paper discusses some questions of intercultural pragmatics and possible ways of their didacticisation. Language learners, particularly those at more advanced stages of language proficiency, when attempting to decode the message and get its proper contextual meaning, need to develop the right level of sophistication not only in their linguistic and communicative competences, but also in the pragmatic and intercultural competences. Such competences should sensitise the learners to the discoursal and pragmatic layers of meaning – which can be very deeply culturally embedded. Here we propose a potentially useful teaching and learning technique, illustrating how some of the basic concepts of the Theory of Cultural Scripts (Wierzbicka 2006) can be introduced into the foreign language classroom.
The paper thereby pleads for a further extension of the lexis-grammar continuum, suggesting that modern language pedagogy should take an integrative approach and include insights from pragmatic and intercultural theoretical ramifications into its methodological apparatus in order to explain language in its naturally occurring socio-cultural context. The proposedtriangulation model would thus observe language as a phenomenon encompassing not only lexico-grammatical components, but highlighting the importance of pragmatic insights in the production and comprehension of meaning.
Key words: pragmatic competence, intercultural competence, the Theory of Cultural Scripts, language pedagogy.
Laura Maguire and Jesús Romero Trillo
Departamento Filología Inglesa, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid
Understanding figurative and literal language
The present study deals with the role of context and the creation of common ground by EFL learners. The importance of context understood as the circumstances that can affect linguistic variation has been a subject of study for decades now. More recent approaches like that of Giora’s Graded Salience Hypothesis (GSH) (1997) have explained the extent to which context plays a key role when trying to interpret meaning. Recanati pointed out that “any piece of contextual information may turn out to be relevant” (Recanati, 2002:107). There is a middle position, and it is that of Kecskes (Kecskes, 2004, 2006, 2008; Kecskes & Fenghui, 2009) that presents context in a broader sense, not only context understood as the circumstances that might affect meaning, but also other dialectics of context: the Dynamic Model of Meaning. Our aim is to describe the role that context plays, within the frame of the Dynamic Model of Meaning on the creation of common ground when the interlocutors are EFL learners in classroom contexts. To achieve this, we will use an EFL learner’s spoken corpus to provide real life examples of infants’ discourse.
Giora, R. 1997. “Understanding figurative and literal language: The graded salience hypothesis”. Cognitive Linguistics 7, 183–206.
Kecskes, I. 2004. “Lexical merging, conceptual blending and cultural crossing”. Intercultural Pragmatics 1 (1), 1–21.
Kecskes, I. 2006. “On my mind: thoughts about salience, context and figurative language from a second language perspective”. Second Language Research, 22(2), 219-237. Kecskes, I. 2008. “Dueling contexts: A dynamic model of meaning”. Journal of Pragmatics. Vol. 40, 385-406.
Kecskes, I., & Fenghui, Z. 2009. “Activating, seeking, and creating common ground: A socio-cognitive approach”. Pragmatics & Cognition, 17(2), 331-355. Recanati, F. 2002. “Does Communication Rest on Inference?”. Mind & Language, Vol. 17 Nos 1 and 2 February/April 2002, 105–126.
José Mateo and Francisco Yus
University of Alicante
Towards an Intercultural Pragmatic Taxonomy of Insults
In this paper, we present a taxonomy of insults using relevance theory (Sperber
and Wilson, 1986, 2nd edition 1995) as the main theoretic framework. On the one hand, we stress the cognitive operations involved in both the production and interpretation of insults in different contextual settings. On the other hand, we focus on the role that the interlocutors’ cultural backgrounds canhave on the (un)insulting interpretive outcome. In order to account for the pragmatic qualities of insults, it is necessary to take into account four contextually relevant attributes that shed light on the social relevance of insults as a communicative phenomenon: (a) the conventional or innovative quality of the insult; (b) the underlying intention, which can be either to offend, to praise, or to establish a social bond; (c) the (in)correct outcome of the interpretation of the insult; and (d) the addressee’s reaction or lack of it. The interrelation of these four variables generates a twenty-four- case taxonomy of possible situations in which insults can be uttered. We claim that any insult will necessarily fit into one of these twenty-four cases. But, as we said above, although we work within a cognitive approach, we reckon that inter-cultural constraints will inevitably affect the inclusion of insults in one case or another of the taxonomy. In our opinion, this taxonomy has a universal application, although we reckon that its scope and application may vary due to cultural constraints. For instance, some cultures stress the use of insults with an intention to foster a social bond, while others consider insults only as a purely negative and offending communicative strategy. Similarly, within one culture, the same word or phrase can be insulting in one context and praising in another.
Universidad Autonoma Metropolitana, Mexico
Zoo-pragmatics: performative acts among animals?
If, as Thomas Sebeok claimed, “semiotics covers the whole oikoumene, our entire planetary biosphere” we should be able to find various levels of communication beyond the purely linguistic, verbal scope. In fact, semiosic processes have been found among the simplest living creatures, namely unicellular beings like bacteria, to the most complex social organisms. Thus, in every communicative course of action, we may trace the 3 classical dimensions proposed by Morris: the syntactic in the particular form and not another of organizing the elements of communication (as in the structure of molecules in an ant’s pheromone), the semantic in the orientation towards a particular meaning (a monkey’s or bird’s alarm call), and the pragmatic in the context, use and interpretative target. Accordingly, pragmatic analyses can be extended not only across various cultural communities but, as I will argue, it is promising to apply its analytic tools also to the communication among non human species. Searle proposed a taxonomy of illocutionary acts into expressives, representatives or assertives, directives, commissives and declarations. In this paper I will discuss some instances in which these categories could be applied to animal communication and examine the possibility of tracing illocutionary acts beyond an anthropocentric and glottocentric approach.
Works cited Morris, Charles. 1938. Foundations of the Theory of Signs. In O. Neurath, R. Carnap & C. Morris (eds.) Toward an International Encyclopedia of Unified Science. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Searle, John. 1976. “A classification of illocutionary acts” Language in Society 5: 1-23. Sebeok A, Thomas . 1977. Perfussion of Signs . Bloomington: Indiana University Press.
Department of Modern Philology, University of Catania
Detecting goals in pragmatic processing
Starting with Grice (1989), orientation toward goals has always been considered a crucial component of pragmatic processing. Speaking appears to be a goal-directed activity, and also in comprehension sensitivity to goals is judged to be an essential part of the process. An important issue that only recently has been addressed is which mechanisms could be responsible for our sensitivity to others’ goals. One possible answer consists in adopting a more or less explicitly modularist approach, where goal- directedness is understood through specialized mentalistic processes based on the attribution of beliefs, desires and intentions (e.g., Sperber and Wilson 2002). One point which is often overlooked is that, even if that were the case, we would need an explanation of how pieces of behavior are categorized asintentional. In other words, which features are responsible for the fact that a certain behavior is judged to be intentional (be that knowledge hardwired or not)? Here I will address this issue by analyzing two major features through which we might assess goal-directedness: the cognitive allocation of a positive value, and the rational congruency between actions and goals – in line with Gergely and Csibra’s (2003) suggestion of a rationality principle. I will emphasize the relationships between these two features. Besides, I intend to examine how this proposal is related to the seminal pragmatic approach drawn by Levinson (1992): in particular, in this approach subjects are credited with the ability to form representations of social communicative events which are goal-directed and whose parts are related to each other and with the general goal thanks to a principle of rationality.
Gergely, G. and Csibra, C. 2003. Teleological reasoning in infancy: the naive theory of rational action. Trends in Cognitive Sciences 7: 287 – 292. Grice, P. 1989. Studies in the Way of Words. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
Levinson, S. 1992. Activity types and language. In P. Drew and J. Heritage (eds.), Talk at Work (Studies in Interactional Sociolinguistics 8), 66-100. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Sperber, D. and Wilson, D. 2002. Pragmatics, modularity and mind-reading. Mind & Language 17: 3 – 23.
University of South Australia
Dealing with EIL and authenticity: A deductive approach to pedagogical pragmatics
One of the most significant and enduring features of the communicative approach to language teaching is the recognition it gives to the pivotal role played by context in the appropriate expression and interpretation of meaning. Ever since the publication in 1972 of Hymes’ seminal paper on communicative competence, context and the closely related notions of appropriateness and authenticity have held great sway within the language teaching profession and remain, to this day, key factors in the design and delivery of courses and materials. Although Hymes’ reference to ‘the appropriate’ was superseded in 1980 by Canale and Swain’s notion of ‘sociolinguistic competence’, and in 1990 by Bachman’s ‘pragmatic competence’, these scholars – and others – each highlighted the importance of context in communication. Despite the fact that well developed pragmatic competence is key to our ability to communicate in an effective and socially sanctioned fashion, and thus to demonstrating a full communicative competence, evidence suggests that even fairly advanced learners’ communicative acts regularly exhibit pragmatic deficits, and that native speakers are less tolerant of these than of grammatical errors. This paper considers how, in seeking to develop learners’ pragmatic competence, pedagogical pragmatics faces a particular challenge when the target language is a lingua franca and there is no obvious way of determining what is pragmatically authentic and thus a suitable model for learning. It is proposed that the tension between the ‘pragmatic diversity’ implied by a lingua franca, on the one hand, and the need to furnish students with a practical knowledge of pragmatics on the other, can be partially resolved via an awareness-raising technique expounded in the presentation. The technique draws on Grice’s Cooperative Principle and exemplifies a deductive approach to the teaching of pragmatics which, it will be argued, is most effective when combined with the more widely adopted inductive approach.
Eniko Németh T.
University of Szeged, Department of General Linguistics
Lexical-semantic properties and contextual factors in the use of verbs of work with implicit subjects in Hungarian
Since Hungarian is a pro-drop language, there is a wide range of implicit subjects in Hungarian which can be analyzed as zero anaphors. In Hungarian, lexical-semantic properties of verbs usually do not influence their occurrence with implicit subjects. However, there are verb classes such as weather verbs and verbs of work which can occur with implicit subjects not because of the pro-drop property of Hungarian, but, instead, on the basis of the interaction between their lexical-semantic representation and contextual information. In the present paper I intend to examine thoroughly how lexical-semantic and contextual factors license the occurrence of verbs of work (vet ‘sow’, arat ‘harvest’, szánt ‘plow’, takarít ‘clean’, operál ‘operate’, gyógyít ‘cure’, ápol ‘nurse’, szerel ‘mend, repair’, kézbesít ‘deliver’ and tanít ‘teach’ etc.) with implicit subjects in Hungarian. Their occurrence with implicit subjects can be explained in two alternative ways. First, their lexical-semantic representation put a selection restriction on the type of the subject, which can license the use of these verbs without an explicit subject with a generic reading. The type of the subject must be the particular person with the profession in question. When we use these verbs with implicit subjects in utterance contexts, it is the actions themselves that are in the focus of attention, the agents syntactically realizable as subjects are available only as background information in selection restrictions. Second, the implicit subjects may be licensed by the interaction between the encyclopedic information stored under the conceptual addresses of these verbs and the other lexemes in utterances. However, in both cases the lexical-semantic representations by themselves cannot provide the necessary information to identify the implicit subjects, an interaction between thelexical-semantic representations and the context must be assumed.
María de la O Hernández López
Pablo de Olavide University
Rapport Management in Institutional Settings: Remarks, Limitations and Further developments
Using Spencer-Oatey’s Rapport Management framework (2000, 2005, 2008), this paper analyzes how interpersonal communication is dynamically developed in 80 Spanish and British interactions recorded in institutional contexts. In particular, this study explores the different conceptualizations interlocutors have in relation to Spencer-Oatey’s (2000, 2008) bases of rapport (face, rights and obligations, interactional goals) depending on the culture in which they are embedded and on how they are revealed in oral interaction in professional/ institutional settings. Taking into account the results specified in this study and related previous research found in the literature, a series of remarks and limitations have been explored in order to point at refining Rapport Management as a comprehensive model of communication.
Despite the proven robustness of this framework (cf. Campbell, 2005; Campbell and White, 2007; Campbell et al. 2008; Fant, 2007; García, 2009a, 2009b; Hernández López, 2008, 2009, 2010; Kam-Chung Chang et al. (2004), among others), some limitations have revealed that further developments of this theory are in need of discussion and analysis. In the same way that ‘face’ has been fully explored since the appearance of Brown and Levinson’s (1978, 1987) Politeness Theory, the interlocutors’ perceptions in relation to rights and obligations and interactional goals still remain under-explored. Therefore, 1) should the three motivational concerns for rapport (i.e., face, social expectations and interactional goals) be considered at the same level of analysis? 2) How do contextual variables such as power interfere with these concerns? 3) Should the concern ‘interactional goal’ be further developed and classified? Are the rapport orientations (maintenance-threat-enhancement) an accurate and clear-cut taxonomy? This paper, then, aims at analyzing real data and at attempting to answer these questions, which are undoubtedly in need of further investigation.
Requests in Intercultural Communication: Insights from Interlanguage Pragmatics and Conversation Analysis
The present paper presents the results of two studies of non-native requests and compares the contributions they make to the understanding of intercultural communication. The first study uses the methods of interlanguage pragmatics and is based on three sets of experimental data: requests produced by native speakers of the target language English, requests produced by speakers of German, Polish andRussian in their native languages, and interlanguage requests produced by speakers of these languages in English. The study is based on a total of 550 written responses to a request scenario, namely 100 requests in each of the native languages and 50 requests in each of the interlanguages.
The analysis focuses on the level of directness and request perspective and shows that while the learners are less direct when requesting in English, they show a preference for the request-perspective typical of their native languages.
The second study follows the method of CA and provides a detailed sequential analysis of two short conversations between a native speaker and a Polish speaker of English featuring a request produced by the non-native speaker. The data used in this study consist of video-recordings, which allow for studying prosodic, kinesic and non-verbal aspects of requests. The two fragments include the native speaker’s reaction to the non-native request, and features like silences, unsuccessful repair sequences and incomplete adjacency pairs indicating a lack of alignment between the speakers.
CA studies provide insights into production and perception of non-native requests and the difficulties the non-native speaker experiences in bringing across the intended illocutionary force of the request. However, they do not allow for generalisations concerning culture-specific politeness norms and the learner’s achievement in adhering to them, as does the simplified speech-act based approach of interlanguage pragmatic studies.
Aristotle University of Thessaloniki
Collective subjects: the contribution of the Modern Greek subject pronoun -:-51 (‘we’)
The purpose of the present paper is to examine the contribution of the Modern Greek subject pronoun -:-51 (‘we’) to the construction of collective subjects. Since Greek, like e.g. Italian and Spanish, is a null-subject language, the verb- form suffices for the indication of the syntactic subject, rendering the appearance of the personal pronoun referentially redundant. Previous studies on subject pronouns, working with naturalistic data (cf. e.g. Duranti (1984) for Italian, Davidson (1996) for Spanish, Hacohen & Schegloff (2006) for Hebrew), have attested such pronouns pragmatic meanings that go beyond what has traditionally been described as emphatic and/or contrastive functions; but none of these studies discusses explicitly the first person plural pronoun.
In the current study, examination of over 30 tape-recorded and fully transcribed informal conversations between familiars, yielded that the use of -:-51 is rather marked, as it occurs in less than 10% of the cases in which the first person plural appears in subject position. Moreover, it showed that -:-51 always retains a collective reference, which is not the case for the f3rst person plural in general (cf. Mühlhäusler & Harré 1990). Taking into account the position of utterances with -:-51 in the sequential structure of conversation, it is argued that an important function of this pronoun consists in marking a referential shift to a group or collectivity, in order to (re)draw its boundaries and ascribe/negotiate responsiblilities. Finally, it is discussed to what extent previous approaches to the pragmatic meaning of subject pronouns (e.g. as adding «pragmatic weight» to the utterance (Davidson 1996) or flouting the Gricean maxim of quantity, thus generating implicatures, (Stewart 2003)) can adequately account for the findings of the present study.
Barry Pennock-Speck and Begoña Clavel Arroitia
Universitat de València-IULMA
Can students acquire intercultural pragmatic skills or do we have to teach them?
The soon to be implemented degree in English at the Universitat de València requires students to learn/acquire general competences such as the ability: to work in groups, to express their ideas to both specialists and non-specialist, and apply IT skills in the field of research and teaching, to mention just three. They are also expected to learn/acquire discipline-specific competences such as being able to: analyse texts from a linguistic and literary perspective, recognize different varieties of English and so on. Moreover they are supposed to learn/acquire specific content such as a knowledge of English vocabulary, grammar, phonology, pragmatics, language acquisition, etc. Here we will focus on the general competence of being able to review other people’s work while showing respect and deference. In this article we will describe how the students were given the opportunity to exercise said competence within the first-cycle subject English Sociolinguistics. In this module students were asked to critically assess class presentations carried out by their classmates. This peer reviewing took the form of a written assessment by each group that was later sent to all of the other groups. One of the students felt that her work had been criticized too harshly. We therefore decided to analyse the politeness strategies employed to mitigate possible face-threatening acts that may have been instantiated through their critiques. Our initial hypothesis was that this might have been due to the mismatch between the students’ native pragmatics and that of the foreign language and culture, that is, English. Failure to successfully negotiate potential face-threatening acts in intercultural contexts like the one above has been dealt with extensively in the literature for different speech acts: Blum-Kulka (1987, 1989), Blum-Kulka & Olshtaihn, (1989), Olshtain & Weinbach (1993), Kohl (2006) Sabaté i Dalmau & Curell i Gotor (2007), Sun Park & Guan (2009), Alcaraz & Zambrano (2003) to mention just a few. We will discuss the possibility of the teachability and learnability of pragmatic skills in instructional environments (Schmidt, 1996; Bou-Franch, 2001; Bou- Franch & Garcés-Conejos, 2003; Garcés-Conejos & Bou-Franch, 2004; Rose, 2005). We will also discuss whether students’ awareness of FTAs and how to avoid them can be best achieved through explicit teaching or by being given the opportunity to acquire this competence through trial and error and teacher
Universiy of Geneva
Metaphor as truth-conditional criteria
What’s left of truth-conditional criteria? Metaphor is still truth-conditional! This paper argues that three important tests—embedding, indirect reports, and truth-valued responses—that are commonly employed for truth-conditional content are unsatisfactory: they are passed not only by metaphor, but by further figures that are clearly implicatures—namely, irony and ironic metaphor. If this casts doubt on the hypothesis that metaphor is truth- conditional, I argue that three further arguments for metaphor’s contribution to truth- conditions hold good. The net result is, I hope, a better understanding of the truth-conditional criteria at issue, and of metaphors’ import in contrast to irony and ironic metaphor.
There are two major questions in recent debates about metaphors’ import: onedescriptive, the other explanatory. The descriptive question concerns whether metaphor contributes to truth- conditional content or is a mere implicature. If the answer is that metaphor is truth-conditional, then the explanatory question is whether that content is generated through (‘free’) pragmatic mechanisms, or whether it is determined syntactically/semantically via parameters that are represented in the logical form of the utterance that trigger the contextual supplementation and determine its contribution. There are four parties to the dispute. (1) Semantic Minimalists predict that metaphorical content builds on ‘minimal’ semantic content, the speaker either asserting that semantic content, or implicating a further content. (2) (Post- )Griceans take metaphorical content to be implicated from what speakers make as if to say. (3) Contextualists hold that metaphorical content affects the intuitive truth- conditions, and varies over contexts as a matter of what metaphorical properties are intended. They explain this variation entirely via free local pragmatic mechanisms.
Masaryk University, Brno, Czech Republic
The role of causal and contrastive discourse markers in achieving pragmatic competence
Causal and contrastive relations between successive or more distant segments of discourse perform an important role when building coherence relations (Taboada 2006) in academic discourse, including written discourse produced by non-native speakers of English. Since these relations rank among the most complex of all semantic relations that may hold between parts of a discourse (Kortmann 1991), an appropriate knowledge of discourse markers expressing cause and contrast/concession becomes an inseparable part of learners’ knowledge, in particular at advanced levels such as university level. Accordingly, it is assumed that selected discourse markers as means of text organization play a crucial role in achieving communicative competence in the learning of any foreign language including English, notably in achieving grammatical competence within linguistic competences and discourse competence within pragmatic competences (Trim 2006).
By signalling how the writer intends the current basic message that follows to relate to the previous discourse (Fraser 1990, 1999), these language phenomena contribute to discourse coherence, which is understood here as a matter of coherent interpretation on the part of the current reader(s) and thus viewed as a dynamic, context-dependent, hearer/reader-oriented and comprehension-based notion (Bublitz 1997).
The author investigates a corpus of diploma theses written by students of English with the aim of finding out whether the use of discourse markers expressing causal and contrastive relations used by non-native speakers in order to form coherent academic discourse differs from the writing habits of experienced native users of English (e.g. Biber et al. 1999). In addition, she aims to show differences in the preferences of writers of diploma theses by field of study (linguistics, literature and culture, and ELT methodology).
María Dolores Ramírez Verdugo
Universidad Autónoma de Madrid
Prosodic Analysis of British English and Peninsular Spanish Commercials: Findings on Pragmatic and Intercultural Issues
Advertising could be defined as a form of communication intended to persuade an audience to take some action. Commercials usually transmit a purposeful message to a silet audience who perceives and reacts to the multimodal and intertwined meaning of words, visuals, music, etc. From an intercultural perspective, it would be interesting to study both the form and content of some commercials addressed to both international and culture specific audiences. This field of research, we believe, can contribute to a better understanding of universal and cross-cultural principles of communication. To attain this aim, this paper presents a cross-linguistic study of the most frequent prosodic patterns present in a bilingual corpus of TV advertisements and their most significant pragmatic and communication variations. Advert samples were taken from a corpus of 400 British and Spanish TV commercials and were grouped into broad semantic categories such as health, food, beverages, financial institutions, household products and car industry, etc. A first broad analysis was conducted using the British tone model (Halliday 1994; Brazil, 1997; Cruttenden, 1997) and was complemented with the ToBI (Tone and Break Indices) system for transcription of intonation (Beckman and Ayers 1994; Ladd, 1996; Gussenhoven, 2004). A comparative study of the two languages provides an interesting picture of prosodic similarities anddifferences (cf. Bolinger, 1978; Best, 1995; Hirst et al., 1998; Gutierrez-Díez, 1981, 1983, 1995, 2001; Monroy, 2005, 2008; Ramírez-Verdugo, 2005; Ramírez-Verdugo and Romero-Trillo, 2005). The interaction between pragmatic and prosodic patterns leads to novel intercultural interpretation of the powerful use of that interplay in TV advertising both in Spanish and English (cf. Bänziger and Scherer, 2005; Cook, 2001). The research model presented here could be extended to the analysis of other languages and communicative encounters which might derive into interesting cross-cultural knowledge and understanding.
Wei Ren, Chih-Ying Lin & Helen Woodfield
University of Bristol Graduate School of Education
Variational Pragmatics in Chinese: Some Insights from an Empirical Study
Variational pragmatics (VP), as a new sub-field of intercultural pragmatics, investigates intra-lingual pragmatic variations between or across the varieties of the same language (Barron & Schneider, 2009). However, few VP studies have examined different varieties of Chinese. The present study attempted toexplore how two groups of Chinese speakers, Taiwan and Mainland Chinese, performed two speech acts, compliments and refusals. Specifically, this study aimed to examine the effect of region on their use of compliment and refusal strategies. The participants included a group of 60 Taiwan Chinese and 60 Mainland Chinese university students. There were an equal number of male and female respondents in each group. A discourse completion task (DCT) was designed in which there were 20 situations in total (8 compliments, 8 refusals, and 4 requests). For compliments, the results indicated that both groups of the respondents preferred explicit compliments. Furthermore, there were several similarities and differences in the distribution of implicit compliment strategies. The analysis of refusals indicated inter-group differences in the distribution of various strategies, while statistical tests showed only a few were significant.
Barron, A. (2005). Variational pragmatics in the foreign language classroom. System, 33, 519-536. Barron, A., & Schneider, K. P. (2009). Variational pragmatics: Studying the impact of social factors on language use in interaction. Intercultural Pragmatics, 6(4), 425-442.
Clyne, M. (2006). Some thoughts on pragmatics, sociolinguistic variation, and intercultural communication. Intercultural Pragmatics, 3(1), 95-105. Schneider, K. P., & Barron, A. (2008). Variational pragmatics: a focus on regional varieties in pluricentric languages.
Silvia Riesco Bernier
Universidad Autónoma de Madrid
Listen carefully! Pragmatics and prosody in EFL teacher talk
Submitted via page IP address Your Name Email Affiliation Abstract (max. 300 words)This article investigates the pragmatics of intonation in teacher talk in a pre- school spoken corpus of EFL (UAM-Corpus). First, a descriptive analysis (Halliday 1967; Halliday 1970) presents the prosodic realisations of native vs. non-native EFL teachers’ discourse. Second, the investigation unveils the multifunctionality of intonation within and across both pedagogical contexts (native and non-native teachers) to evaluate the relationship between the communicative functions displayed in the classroom and the prosodic choices. And third, the study suggests some pedagogical implications in language teaching considering the qualitative and statistical findings: there is a correlation between the display of a communicative function and its prosodic realisation in both contexts but both groups of teachers exploit intonation differently.
Keywords: prosody, tone, communicative functions, EFL classroom
Esther Romero and Belén Soria
Universidad de Granada
Testing anomaly in novel metaphor
Our aim is to argue for contextual abnormality as part of the metaphor
identification criteria. Many cognitive metaphor theorists (e.g. Gibbs 1994) have rejected this position and their most persuasive attack, based on empirical evidence from reaction time experiments, is their argument against any version of anomaly. This argument always incorporates the premise that there is identity of reaction times in interpreting literal and metaphorical uses of language. We question this premise and its conclusion. On the one hand,reaction time experiments do not always support reaction times identity for metaphorical and literal interpretations (Giora 1997). Thus, the experimental results of reaction time experiments, being inconsistent, are not evidence for anything. On the other, if there were reasons to admit just the experiments supporting reaction times identity, we could reject the anomaly as categorial falsity, but not any conception of anomaly since the part of their argument against any type of anomaly counts with several unargued assumptions. The inconsistent results of the reaction time experiments together with our rejection of some unargued assumptions permit us to rescue virtually any theoretical conception about anomaly. Although it is not easy in pragmatics to find crucial experimental evidence that clearly confirms one claim and disconfirms another (Sperber and Novek 2004), at least in the topic we are considering not all is lost. Contextual abnormality could be preserved taking into account more recent neurological empirical studies on metaphor processing designed specifically to test hypotheses related with anomaly. According to them, there is anomaly in novel metaphor, marked in the brain with a larger amount of bilateral frontal and temporal cortex, and this anomaly appears in metaphor without two propositional stages in its interpretation (Tatter et al. 2002, Ahrens et al. 2007). Thus, explicature is the kind of propositional content to characterize metaphor.
José Santaemilia Ruiz and Sergio Maruenda Bataller
Universitat de Valencia
Discourse Prosody and semantic constellations in (de)ligitimising naming practices in newspaper discourse.
The present study is part of the work of the group GENTEXT (Género y (des)igualdad sexual en las sociedades española y británica contemporáneas: Documentación y análisis discursivo de textos socio-ideológicos) under a Research Project financed by the Ministerio de Ciencia e Innovación [FFI2008- 04534/FILO]. Over the last few years, several laws in Western European countries have given homosexual couples different degrees of legal recognition. In the UK, for example, the Civil Partnership Act (2004) recognised same-sex ‘civil unions’, while in Spain the 2005 amendment of the Civil Code granted full marriage rights to gay couples. These legal measures, along with social movements for sexual equality, evince the existence of a new discursive reality where meaning is recursively and strategically negotiated in the light of intervening ideological stances and enacted social roles being constantly redefined. Besides, we analyze the discourse prosody and semantic constellations surrounding naming practices applied to same-sex couples and the (counter-)discourses that (de)ligitimise conceptual representations in the media (Baker 2008; Stubbs 2001).
In this paper we combine critical discourse analysis and lexical pragmatics to analyse key semantic sets regarding naming practices for ‘actors’ (e.g. gay couples, homosexual couples, partner, etc) and ‘relationships’ (e.g. matrimonio homosexual, matrimonio gay, pareja de hecho, homosexual couples, civil partnership, same-sex partnerships, etc) drawn from a comparable (ad hoc) corpus of news articles of two Spanish (El País, El Mundo) and two British newspapers (The Guardian, The Times), each pair showing
Abstract (max. 300 words)progressive vs conservative ideological stances. Data is then contrasted according to such variables as number of articles, focus (i.e. if the topic is addressed directly or the terms are marginally used), and frequency of the semantic sets under analysis. The results show that semantic instability stems from a fierce ‘discursive’ battle to lay down highly ideological terms.
Carmen Santamaría Garcia
Universidad de Alcalá
A compelling need to evaluate: social networks as tools for the expression of affect, judgement and appreciation
In this paper I will focus on the discourse function of evaluation and on how this function is realized for the expression of affect, judgement and appreciation in messages sent to different social networks. I will draw on Hunston & Thompson’s (2003) framework and Martin & White’s (2005) appraisal theory to analyse examples from messages circulating in English and Spanish languages through social networks in USA, UK and Spain and will show some cultural differences and similarities in the realization of evaluation indicating a common ever-growing compelling need to evaluate. Evaluation is used as “the broad cover term for the expression of the speaker or writer’s attitude or stance towards, viewpoint on, or feelings about the entities or propositions that he or she is talking about”, Hunston & Thompson (2003: 5). Hence, evaluation intervenes, among other things, in the realization of other prominent sub-functions of language, such as expressing opinion, maintaining relations or organizing the discourse (Thompson & Hunston, 2003). The systemic functional tradition of appraisal theory will be combined with Brown and Levinson’s (1987) politeness theory, which can help to account for various aspects of the evaluative function of language.
Carmen de Jesus Santos
Faculty of Social and Human Sciences of New University of Lisbon
From First Republic to «Estado Novo»: pragmatic structures of closing in the official and administrative portuguese correspondence in XX th century
Past sixteen years of social and economic disorders in Portugal, in the period of the First Republic, it is appears a new period, the «Estado Novo» (the new political government), from 1926 to April 25th, 1974. It was an epoch of adictatorial regime, mostly governed by António de Oliveira Salazar. This work pretends to show us the evolution of the pragmatic structures of closing in the official and administrative portuguese correspondence during seventy- four years extremely marked by the social rules of each kind of government. Therefore, the main purpose of this paper is to verify if these pragmatic structures of closing work or not like clues of social status of entities in evidence in the correspondence and which «discursive processes» define those structures. Our corpus is constituted by one hundred formal letters from the Municipal Archive of Lisbon and the methodology to be used it is inspired by the French School of Discourse Analysis (Cf. Maingueneau 1998, Vion 2006) and Pragmatics (Cf. Kerbrat-Orecchioni 1990, Traverso 1999). In our perspective, every enunciation is bound in a constitutive interactivity, performed by the various interlocutors, be them either real or virtual. And it presupposes a co- enunciative instance to which the enunciator builds its own discourse, incorporating it, manipulating it, trying to anticipate reactions. That incorporation, manipulation and anticipation prove the huge importance of the use of pragmatic skills of interlocutors presented in the epistolary discourse. Thus, all discursive enunciation presents itself with a well defined finality in its organization and, at the same time, it incorporates in its trajectory, through the use of linguistic elements, an interpretation guide, made by clues included through the discursive path itself (Cf. Menéndez 2006).
Carolina Scali Abritta
Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Rio de Janeiro
The unspoken rules: the relation management in the Brazilian culture in a context of conciliation hearings.
Since Goffman (1967) the cultural relativism has always been relevant to face studies. However, differences seem to exist in the investigative treatment given to these studies (Arundale, 2006, 2009).
In this work, through interpretativist and qualitative analysis, culture is seen as web of meanings (Geertz, 1978) and thus it is verified how this web is interactionally co-constructed during a conciliation hearing. It is also investigated how this network of meanings come up in the speech data analyzed, pointing to knowledge schemas (Schutz, 1979) which participants would bring with them to the interactional setting. This can be observed in one of the participants’ (the complainant’s) face construction.
It is noticed the emergence of two faces connected to cultural questions concerning individualism and collectivism (Velho, 2002) or, in Dumont’s words (1970), the dimensions of the individual and the person.
When presenting the self, the complainant claims for the individual or the citizen face, showing that he is oriented by rules or laws (Conley and O’Bar, 1990). However, as face appears not only in masks, but also in mirrors offered by alterity, there are moments when the face of a favored person, in opposition to that one claimed of an individual with rights, is given to the complainant by the other participants.
The mask of citizen and the projection of the favored person’s image on the mirror confirm some anthropological theories about Brazil (DaMatta, 1980, 1986, 1997; Barbosa, 2006), because they reaffirm the fact that this is a relational society, that is, a society in which equality is provided by law and it can even be claimed by citizens, although, on institutional practices, interpersonal relations are meant to be built in order to find a solution through favor and expedience.
Gila A. Schauer and Jonathan Culpeper
Impoliteness across cultures: a comparative analysis of impoliteness events in English and German
Since the first articles and books on politeness were published (e.g. Lakoff, 1973; Brown and Levinson 1978; Leech, 1983) much research has been conducted on what constitutes politeness in English and other languages (e.g. Gu, 1990; Mao, 1994; Watts and Locher, 2005). In comparison, theories, frameworks and studies on what constitutes impolite or offensive language have only begun to appear recently (e.g. Culpeper, 1996, 2005; Locher &Bousfield, 2008; Terkourafi, 2008).
The present paper is part of an international research project on impoliteness events in Chinese, English, Finnish, German and Turkish. Data for the investigation were collected with post-hoc diary type reports on impoliteness events in the participants’ first language. This presentation is based on 200 reports (100 from English native speakers and 100 from German native speakers). The framework used for the analysis of the data was Spencer- Oatey’s rapport management framework (2007) that focuses on interlocutors’ face sensitivities and their sociality rights and obligations.
Our presentation will address the following research questions:
a) Were the impoliteness events in conversations reported by the English and German respondents different or similar? b) Did male and female participants in England and Germany report different incidents?
c) Did English and German participants show a different or similar perception concerning the gravity of impoliteness events? d) In what contexts and with which interlocutors did the impoliteness events happen in German and English?
e) Do the data indicate cross-cultural differences in the perception of impoliteness in German and in English? And if so, what are they?
It is hoped that the results can help raise cross-cultural awareness of what native speakers of English and German consider to be offensive and how offense can be avoided in the two languages.
Cornelia Schulze, Max Planck Institute for evolutionary Anthropolgy; Department of German Philology, University of Leipzig
Susanne Grassmann, Department of Developmental and Comparative Psychology, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology
Michael Tomasello, Department of Developmental and Comparative Psychology, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology
3-year-old draw inferences based on their expectation of relevance
Consider a child holding a packet of biscuits asking her mother: (I) “May I eat these biscuits?” And the mother answers: (i) “We are having lunch in a couple of minutes.” The utterance in (i) is a typical one that requires a relevance implicature, since the mother’s reply to the child’s question at first seems irrelevant as it does not convey the appropriate information (yes or no) required by the child. But relevance inferences rely on the assumption that a rational cooperative speaker would only provide relevant information (Grice 1975/1989, Sperber & Wilson 1985/1996).
Previous studies on relevance implicatures found that children must be at least 6 to 7 years old to derive the appropriate inference (Bucciarelli et.al., 2003; de Villiers et.al., 2009; Verbuk, 2009). However, a problem with these findings is that these studies measured children’s comprehension of utterances as in (i) by quite complex methods.
We therefore conducted a study on relevance inference comprehension in thirty-two 2.10-3.2-year-old children using a simple object-selection task.Two experimenters played a game with a child that required an object to use with an apparatus. E1 asked the child to hand E2 a particular object. Though it’s neither expected nor required that the second experimenter will say anything (she could as well accept the offer), E2 expressed her general preference or dislike – not for one of the objects at the table but rather for a class of objects/animals in general. Her remark (on the basis of what she says) therefore is not connected with the game-interaction. If children understood E2′s statement as relevant, they should notice that E2 indirectly asked the child to give her a particular object.
We found that, when confronted with seemingly irrelevant utterances, 3-year- olds are able to integrate these utterances into the current context by deriving relevance inferences. They use their knowledge of common ground as well as their basic intention-reading skills, which they’ve already acquired non- linguistically and used in early language acquisition.
Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest
Embodied and discursive grounding in deixis
The goal of the presentation is to highlight some crucial aspects and consequences of a functional cognitive approach to deixis. In this framework, deixis is seen as a linguistic operation that brings the physical and social world of the interlocutors into the interpretation of the discourse, i.e., all contextual information generated by processing the spatio-temporal and interpersonal relations of the usage event. Deixis relies heavily on both the embodied and the discursive grounding of conceptualization. On the one hand, discourse participants experience thephysical world from within their bodies, with an obvious effect on the limits of deictic reference. On the other, deixis is also firmly rooted in socio-cultural practice, as it presupposes social interaction. Speakers use deictic expressions to draw their listeners’ attention to some feature of the contextual ground including the usage event and its participants and circumstances.
Taking these interrelated aspects of conceptualization as a premise has a direct bearing on how the categories of deixis and the functioning of the deictic centre may be interpreted. Embodied grounding may account for the fundamental status of spatial deixis, as best shown by its use as a metaphorical basis for other types, notably social, temporal and discursive deixis. Futhermore, it may explain the inherently egocentric functioning of the deictic centre, i.e., the fact that the current speaker acts as the referential centre by default for spatio-temporal and interpersonal orientation. Discursive grounding, for its part, highlights the significance of social deixis in assigning roles to discourse participants, signalling as well as negotiating their relative social status. It is also a key factor underlying deictic projection, i.e., the option available to interlocutors to process spatio-temporal and social relations from a perspective different from their own.
The presentation will illustrate these theoretical points with an analysis of Hungarian material.
Minnesota State University- Mankato
Duìbuqǐ, ¡qué pena!, sorry about that: apologies east, south and north
Aim and importance of study. This study compared apology strategies used by native Chinese, Colombian Spanish and American English speakers in role play
scenarios. Gender differences between and within groups were also investigated. Given China’s emergence as an economic power, and its influence on both North and South American markets, makes this is an important topic of study.
Methodology. The role plays were translated into Chinese and Spanish by the interviewers who were natives of the cities in which they took place. Participants were interviewed one on one and audio taped in Bucaramanga, Colombia, Shanghai, China and Mankato, Minnesota, USA. Later the participants’ responses were transcribed and translated by the same interviewers, and finally analyzed by the principal researcher. The role play instrument used was taken from Cohen and Olshtain 1981, and consisted of eight scenarios in which an apology may be expected. The scenarios included forgetting a meeting, bumping into someone, and unintentionally insulting someone. Gender, social distance and severity of offense were varied among them. Strategies measured included expression of IFID’s, use of intensifiers, offer of explanation, offer of repair, promise of forbearance, acknowledgement of responsibility, and denial of responsibility.
Findings. Differences were found in the areas of acknowledgment and denial of responsibility, offer of repair, explanation, and offer of forbearance. In addition, some differences for gender were found, both between and withingroups.
Université de la Sorbonne nouvelle, CEDISCOR – SYLED, PARIS 3
Can a lingua franca bridge the communication gap between companies set in different cultures?
This contribution rests on a comparative discourse analysis of French and Chinese companies’ publicity documents (brochures and presentations on Internet), written in English as a lingua franca (ELF). Collected in the 1990s andin 2008, this business-to-business communication corpus provides an insight into the Aristotelian ethos supporting the companies’ respective persuasive enterprises. Far from being identical as could be expected for members of the same discourse communities (Swales 1998) trying to convince one another, these enterprises appear deeply rooted in national cultures (Zhu & Hildebrandt 2003). The potential readership targeted by ELF appears instead – in both propositions and rhetorics – “constructed” according to the speakers’ own standards (Perelman 2001), confirming the unavoidable inscription of context in discourse described by Bakhtine (1977). French documents rely on explicit rational verbal arguments, whereas Chinese discourse seems to build an atmosphere, implicitly, metaphorically, and often visually conveying the values likely to inspire trust (Jullien 2007, Lu 1998). The outcome of intercultural communication that does not take culture (d’Iribarne 2008) into account can therefore be questioned.
Bakhtine, Michael (1977 ). Le marxisme et la philosophie du langage, Paris, Les éditions de minuit. Iribarne, Philippe (d’) (2008). « National culture », in Stewart R., Clegg J. et Bailey R., éds, International Encyclopedia of Organization Studies, Los Angeles, London, New Delhi, Singapore, Sage Publications, p. 945-949.
Jullien, François (2007 ). « Procès ou création », La pensée chinoise dans le miroir de la philosophie, Paris, Seuil, p. 519-801. Lu, X. (1998). Rhetoric in Ancient China, Fifth to Third Century B. C. E.: A Comparison with Classical Greek Rhetoric, Columbia, University of South Carolina.
Perelman, C. and Olbrechts-Tyteca, L. (1969). The new rhetoric: A treatise on argumentation. University of Notre Dame Press. Zhu, Y., Hildebrandt, H. (2003), « Greek and Chinese classical rhetoric: the root of cultural differences in business and marketing communication », Asia Pacific Journal of Marketing and Logistics, 15.1-2, p. 89-114.
Johannes-Gutenberg-Universität Mainz and SIL International
The argumentative module and the cognitive role of genre
Unger (2006) explores how the role of genre in comprehension can be
Submitted via page IP address Your Name Email Affiliation Abstract (max. 300 words)accounted for in a cognitive-pragmatic framework. He argues that genre concepts provide easy access to encyclopaedic knowledge about types of communicative events, and this information can be exploited to fine-tune relevance expectations in the online interpretation of dis- course. From a cognitive point of view, genre information enhances the eNciency of the relevance theory comprehension heuristic by exerting top-down controlling eOects on its application. Furthermore, genre concepts may play a role in cognition beyond compre- hension by making it possible to replace typical contents in discourse representation by links to entries in genre concepts for memory, thereby optimising memory organisation in a relevance-oriented cognitive system. Mercier & Sperber (in press) review and refine arguments that point to the existence in the mind of an argumentative module, a metarepresentational module that takes claims as input and yields reasons for the acceptance of this claim as output. This module is part of a larger system of mechanisms that helps audiences guard against deception or erroneous communication, and enables communicators to persuade vigilant audiences. The activation of the argumentative module is to some extent controllable by voluntary attention and is generally activated when the communicators find themselves in argumen- tative situations. This raises the question whether genre concepts may have yet another cognitive function: that of raising the activation status of the argumentative module. In this paper I want to explore this possibility with special reference to situations which may
not be easily identified as argumentative ones, for example persuasive encounters where claims or reasons for their acceptance are conveyed indirectly in a narrative fashion.
Unger, Christoph 2006: Genre, Relevance and Global Coherence.
University of Münster
The Unity of Knowledge
The question of how to connect language, the mind and the brain has been discussed for centuries. However, we can no longer simply put forth speculations about mental concepts or take theoretical positions without any reference to the mind and the brain at all. Times have changed. The black box is no longer a black box but can be opened up by new experimental methods of the neurosciences. We can finally verify what could already be assumed by unbiased observation and reasoning. Scholars of the humanities and social sciences are called upon to justify their assumptions by reference to the natural sciences. The direction of consilience or the unity of knowledge in the natural and social sciences was already clearly outlined by Wilson (e.g., 1999) decades ago and has in the meantime gained ground, for instance, in anthropology (e.g., Marchand 2010). Language is however still missing in this network of consilience or, at least, does not take the position it deserves. ‘Language as dialogue’ is the key concept that makes all other components play their part. It is at the core of an extraordinary human ability,‘competence-in-performance’, which allows human beings to tackle the uncertainties of life by adaptation to ever-changing conditions according to principles of probability. Language, mind and body are interconnected and dialogically put to action. Integration is at the core of our abilities which are capabilities as well as restrictions. There is no absolute truth but only our claim to truth insofar as any reflection ends where it starts, in the human mind.
The paper demonstrates the limits of traditional models and questions the position of arguing for a plurality of models. It outlines the nuts and bolts of the Mixed Game Model, a holistic theory of ‘language as dialogue’ on the basis of consilience, which takes up the challenge to describe and explain human beings’ competence-in-performance.
References Marchand, Trevor H.J. 2010. Making knowledge: Explorations of the indissoluble relation between minds, bodies, and environment. Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute. Wilson. Edward O. 1999. Consilience. The unity of knowledge. New York: Vintage Books. Weigand, Edda. 2009. Language as Dialogue. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: Benjamins.
University of North Texas
Learners’ and Non-Learners’ Use of French Second-Person Pronouns in Synchronous Electronic Discourse: Contrasting Sociopragmatic Repertoires
This presentation provides an analysis of the French second-person pronouns
‘tu’ and ‘vous’ in two different corpora of synchronous computer-mediated communication. The first corpus (63,051 words) is a collection of discourse produced by beginning and intermediate learners of French at a U.S. university(i.e., an educational context), and the other corpus (63,822 words) is comprised of data from a public, French-language chat server (i.e., a non- educational context).
During the first half of the presentation, the analysis will focus on the distribution of the sociopragmatically appropriate versus inappropriate use of ‘tu’ and ‘vous’ by learners, many of whom seem to have acquired these pronouns either as free variants, components of lexicalized items, or elements somehow linked to one or more of the interrogative structures that are available in French. A multivariate statistical analysis will demonstrate to what extent certain factors (e.g., Proficiency level; Utterance type; etc.) can influence students’ variable use of ‘tu’ and ‘vous’.
The second half of the presentation will provide a comparative analysis of ‘tu’ and ‘vous’ use by learners (i.e., educational context) and non-learners (public, non-educational context). Coding of the tokens of ‘tu’ and ‘vous’ in both corpora has revealed that while students use French second-person pronouns primarily in interrogative structures, native speakers (or those who participate in public chat on French-language servers and seem to be native or native-like speakers) demonstrate—understandably so—a greater sociopragmatic repertoire regarding ‘tu’ and ‘vous’ use.
The presentation of the distribution of tokens, the statistical analysis, and the categorization of dimensions in the sociopragmatic repertoire associated with ‘tu’ and ‘vous’ use will contribute to a better understanding of the importance of exploring different types of corpora, and this analysis will also generate recommendations for pedagogical materials, which often neglect sociolinguistic and pragmatic aspects of language use and variation.
University of Lodz, Poland
The contentious notion of convention and speech act architecture
This paper comments on the concept of convention and its multiple applications in speech act theory. It goes back to Austin’s original presentation of ‘convention’ as operative on the locutionary and illocutionary levels in contrast to perlocution, which is non-conventional in nature. The discussion concentrates on the conventionality of illocution, which, according to Austin, should have conventional effects distinct from the act’s perlocutionary effects.Illocutionary conventional effects are discussed in relation to uptake, generally understood as recognition of speaker’s intention, and the ongoing linguistic- philosophical debate concerning the role of intention vis-à-vis convention in speech acts. This debate, whose origin is usually associated with Peter Strawson’s 1964 article, has led a number of researchers to exclude the so- called non-communicative, in other words “conventional” speech acts from linguistic analysis altogether (e.g. Bach & Harnish 1979, cf. Sperber & Wilson 1986/1995: 243ff., Marmor 2009 for ‘legal’ data). It is argued that some of the (apparent) clashes between different models of speech act theory, as well as some of the dissenting voices, are motivated by a terminological confusion rather than true theoretical commitments. Both Austin’s (1962, cf. Sbisà 2007, 2009) and Searle’s (1969, 1979) original models of speech act theory present a mixed approach to the convention-intention problem, respecting both interlocutors’ expressed intentions and motivations, and conventionality of specific linguistic forms embedded in social contexts. The presented discussion should contribute to achieving a better (and non-trivial) understanding of the notion of convention in illocutionary acts and language in general.
The discussion has further implications for the definition of linguistic pragmatics, in which speech act theory is recognised as a central field. The alleged semantics-pragmatics distinction located between (allegedly semantic and ‘conventional’) locution and (already pragmatic) illocution is shown to be inadequate due to the omnipresence of inferential processes present on all levels of analysis.
Tony Young and Steve Walsh
‘Which English?’ An investigation of the beliefs of ‘non-native’ speaking teachers
This study explored the interface between theoretical academic notions of which variety of English ‘should be taught’, and the response of educational practitioners in terms of their beliefs about, attitudes toward and knowledge of the applicability of different varieties. Our aim was to address the current debate concerning ‘appropriate’ target models of English in different contexts – English as an International Language (EIL), English as a Lingua Franca (ELF), and ‘native speaker’ varieties. Participants were experienced and highly qualified ‘non-native’ teachers of English from countries in Europe, Africa and Asia. They were asked in focus groups and in individual interviews to reflect on their experiences as learners and as teachers, and to consider which variety or varieties of English they had learned, and which variety, if any, they chose or were ‘told’ (by education authorities or curricula) to teach. Participants were also asked for their views on the attractiveness and usefulness of the different varieties, and for their views on the nature of EIL/ELF. Finally, we asked teachers to consider which model(s) were likely to predominate in their teaching contexts in the medium and long terms. An interesting insight into the realities of teachers’ professional lives, and their orientations towards the language they work with, emerged. Results indicated that the concept of English as a Lingua Franca is not supported or advocated by our respondents in most cases. Instead, most teacher participants adopted what they perceived as a very practical and ‘pragmatic’ perspective on varieties of English, including a need to believe in a ‘standard’ form of the language. This perspective was upheld even when participants acknowledged that it does not really correspond to the reality of Englishes which are in use worldwide – local contexts and circumstances proved vital in governing which English is taught.
Keivan Zahedi and Mahboubeh Taghizadeh
Assistant Professor of Linguistics and MA in TEFL
Maxim/Strategy Geometry of Politeness: Evidence from Farsi and English
The aim of the present paper is two-fold; one theoretical and one descriptive. At the theoretical level, it analyzes the gravity of politeness maxims and strategies, using data from two languages, i.e. Farsi (Modern Persian) and English, to offer a universal “maxim/strategy geometry” of politeness in language, the weight of the values of which are determined culturally. At the descriptive level, it attempts to show how this geometry works in Farsi and English to demonstrate the language-culture interactions. Therefore the research corroborates Leech’s (1987: 150) claim that such maxims, “… being the general functional ‘imperatives’ of human communication, are more or less universal, but that relative weights will vary from one culture to another” and furthers his cause in observing that “these matters remain unclear in detail, the Interpersonal Rhetoric provides a framework in which they may be systematically investigated” (Leech, 1983, p. 150). The research also employs Brown and Levinson’s (1978) model related to politeness strategies. Despite some recent illuminating research with regard to politeness, e.g. Delgado (1995), Briz (1996, 1998), Chodorowska (1997), Bravo (1998, 2002, and 2003), Spencer-Oatey & Xing (2000), Tanaka, Spencer-Oatey & Cray, 2000), Akbari (2002), Simpson (2004), Tian & Zhao (2006), O’Sullivan (2007); none offers either a “Geometry Thesis” or a coherent analysis of the gravity of such geometrical features in Farsi and English. The corpus used in the present study comprises data gathered by means of questionnaires filled in by 120 native speakers of Farsi and English directed towards eliciting the required information about maxims of politeness, their linguistic manifestation, both lexically and sententially within various pieces of discourse and their subsequent order of priority. The specific descriptive results indicate that Farsi and English speaking interlocutors prioritize the maxims of politeness differently. Tact and the Approbation Maxims are of a higher degree of significance compared to the Generosity and Modesty Maxims for the English speakers whilst Modesty, Approbation, and Agreement maxims are assigned greater gravity by the speakers of Farsi. This study also shows that thefrequency of the application of politeness strategies differ between both groups. Farsi speakers use apologizing and indicating deference strategies more than the other strategies while English speakers use indicating deference and hedging strategies more. Key words: Maxims of Politeness, Politeness Strategies, Maxim/Strategy Geometry
Indiana University of Pennsylvania
Courtroom Interpreting and Its Effect on the Turn Taking System
Courtroom interactions are different from normal conversations (Atkinson &Drew, 1979; Mauet, 1996) Courtroom interactions have fixed conversational exchanges with pre-allocated turns. The illocutionary goal of the examiner in a courtroom interaction is to persuade an audience using effective examining strategies (Mauet, 1996). These pre-allocated turns are organized into question-answer pairs. This unidirectional, fixed allocation prevents the person being examined from selecting the next speaker (Atkinson & Drew, 1979).
Immigration court proceedings in the United States are conducted orally in English and recorded in English. Immigration interpreters play a consequential role in the pre-allocated turn-taking system, in the distribution of talk, and in the comprehensibility of messages. Cultural constraints as well as linguistic incompetence at the syntactic, lexical, and semantic level may prevent interpreters from rendering a faithful interpretation. The interpreters observed in this study had a great deal of experience in interpreting English and Spanish and had learned the legal jargon of the immigration court. Nevertheless, they often incorporated potentially misleading calques and incorrect literal translations into their target language renditions. Although such errors are a direct result of two languages in contact, they nevertheless influence the turn- taking system and change the original course of the interrogation. They cause confusion for defendants, and for monolingual defendants in particular, who find themselves placed at a linguistic disadvantage. The defendant’s image and version of the story lie in the hands of the interpreter, who is bilingual. The performance of nine immigration interpreters in one federal northeastern immigration courtroom in the United States was analyzed for this study. This paper discusses 1) how interpreters influence the turn-taking system of interaction by using literal translations and lexical calques, and 2) how interpreters affect the content of the message.
East China Normal University
Relevance in language production
The paper aims to explore the process in which the speaker initiates a communicative intention and expresses this intention in making an utterance. Although Gricean and neo-Gricean theories insist on the centrality of intention during the course of communication and argue for a cooperative tenet that constrains verbal behaviors of interlocutors and ensures effectiveness of communication, most attention in pragmatics research has been paid to comprehension rather than production. This paper argues that relevance plays as important a role in language production as in comprehension, and makes an attempt to demonstrate how relevance to intentions can be interpreted as a measure of how well the speaker cooperates in a conversation and expresses her intentions at the primary (functional) and secondary (constructional) level.As the socio-cognitive approach argues, “communication is the result of the interplay of intention and attention motivated by the socio-cultural background” (Kecskes & Zhang 2009: 338), and cooperation is “a consistent effort of interlocutors to build up relevance to intentions in their communication” (ibid: 341). The role of relevance in language production is interpreted within the framework of SCA; the intention-relevance-cooperation relations are considered a dynamic trait, for which both attention (salience) and common ground join in to shape the ways the speaker produces her utterance, achieving different levels of relevance. The utterance is perceived as maximally relevant to the intention when the primary and secondary intentions match, intermediately relevant when they match only with joint effort of salience and common ground, and minimally relevant when they fail to match. Utterances of intermediate relevance may reveal themselves as most highly frequent for the reasons that there can be more than one intention involved in the utterance, ranked in different ways, and that there can be alternative ways to package the intention(s) with linguistic constructs.
Eline Zenner, FWO Flanders
Dirk Speelman, University of Leuven
Dirk Geeraerts, University of Leuven
Intercultural Variation: the use of English function titles in two varieties of Dutch
Several linguistic differences exist between Belgian Dutch and Netherlandic Dutch (the two national varieties of Dutch – Geeraerts et al. 1999), some of which are closely linked to the cultural history of the regions. This is especially true for the use of French: where Belgian Dutch is characterised by a long- standing purist tradition that followed years of French ruling, Netherlandic Dutch is known for its openness towards all foreign languages, including French.
With the rise of ELF, the question begs itself whether this difference regarding French is also present regarding English: what variation do we find in the use and functions of English between both varieties? Several claims have been made on the topic, but empirical proof is – though indispensable (Kristiansen & Geeraerts 2007), largely lacking.
In this paper, we take a first step in giving such proof by scrutinizing the use of English in both Belgian Dutch and Netherlandic Dutch job ads. For the study, 16 000 function titles from ads published between 1970 and 2009 are collected, and several factors that may help explain the pragmatic functions and implications of the occurrence of English in these ads are incorporated. Firstly, a set of external factors is included: for which functions and in which branches of industry is English used most often and to what extent do these patterns depend on whether an external HR agency is involved in writing the ads? Secondly, an internal perspective is adopted by amongst others determining for what discursive functions (e.g. senior for rank) and in which
NP-slots (nucleus or adjunct) English is used most often.
Next, we perform regression analysis to determine the impact and interplay of these features, with special attention for the differences between both varieties. Our results show (1) less English function titles in Belgian Dutch in the early period of the data collection and a gradual levelling-out of these differences by 2008; (2) the importance of both the external and internal features in interpreting the functions of the use of English in both regions.
Geeraerts, D., S. Grondelaers & D. Speelman. 1999. Convergentie en Divergentie in de Nederlandse woordenschat. Een onderzoek naar kleding- en voetbaltermen. Amsterdam: Meertensinstituut. Kristiansen, G. & D. Geeraerts. 2007. On non-reductionist intercultural pragmatics and methodological procedure. In Kecskes, I. & L.R. Horn. Explorations in Pragmatics, 257-286. Berlin/New York: Mouton de Gruyter.
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