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Pragmatics and discourse analysis - Generalitat de …

Pragmatics and discourse analysis by Margarida Bassols Puig Abstract Pragmatics, like discourse analysis, goes beyond structural study of the phrase and focuses




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Pragmatics and discourse analysisby Margarida Bassols PuigAbstractPragmatics, like discourse analysis, goes beyond structural study of the phrase and focuseson higher units -speech acts and conversation turns: What is more, it focuses on its object ofstudy through consideration of the context and its construction, through recognition ofspeaker intention, and through the establishment of implicit elements which the hearer hasto access. In this article, we apply the concept of discourse orientation to certain statementsof argumentation made by leading candidates in the November 2003 elections to the Introduction2. The contribution made by pragmatics3. Pragmatics and argumentative discourse4. Conclusion5. Bibliography1. IntroductionAround the beginning of the seventies, impelled by the leap forward that the "th orie del nonciation" had taken with the differentiation of sentences from propositions, andpropositions from utterances, a group of theories and theorists sought to go beyond thelimits of the sentence, and to engage with the meaning of discourse, that is non-arbitrarysequences of fact, the initial idea was that besides the known linguistic units (phonemes, morphemes,sintactic constituents and lexical items) belonging to the different levels characterising alanguage, one could postulate another new unit of analysis, which went beyond phrase-level:namely could be understood variously as a linguistic unit like the others mentionedabove1, or as a communicative level linked to the subject that produced it2, or as the resultof a human activity intimately related to social , a universal principle emerged, generally speaking intuitive rather than anything thatcould be strictly formulated, known as the Coherence principle, according to which discourseis a coherent sequence of phrases and any discourse is interpreted based on the expectationthat it will have a degree of , certain linguistic elements were postulated as markers of this coherence,working as indicators to give the text coherence. Considered in this respect were pronouns,definite descriptions and discursive anaphoric nominal syntagms; pragmatic connectors andtenses of the in terms of structure, the macrostructure and microstructure of discourse werediscussed, for example by Van Dijk, referring to the semantics and syntax which provided itsvehicle. Also a series of linguistic markers were isolated, notably by the Geneva School,which worked together to construct this. 1 An idea pursued in the 50s and 60s by Anglo-Saxon writers who were looking for a "grammar ofdiscourse" and who studied phenomena such as cohesion, argumentation, narrativity and the structuresof different text An idea pursued by French linguists, especially in the 80s and 90s. They followed in the footsteps ofBenveniste and researched into modality, transparency and order of elements in an An idea pursued by Foucault, Fairclough and scholars of critical analysis of language. They focused onless privileged language learners in underdeveloped or developing societies, the processes by whichreading is learned, the language use of immigrants, social presuppositions, prejudices and and discourse analysis by Margarida Bassols PuigNoves SL. Revista de Socioling 20032On the one there were hand markers of illocutionary function: the performative verbs, themarkers of indirect language and syntactic inversion. On the other hand, there were theinteractive function markers, including those that structure conversation and speech turns,and there were the all events, the most debated and most debatable issue was, and still is, the delimitation ofthe constituent units of discourse. For this the grammatical sentences might be chosen, orconversely the utterances, the latter being sentences in use. But, also, in the nineties, basedon conversational analysis as carried out for instance by the Geneva School, it came to beargued that the constituent unit of discourse could perfectly well be the speech act --that isto say, the use of a complete grammatical phrase (Reboul & Moeschler 1998, 29). This ideawas further supported by, for example, the work carried out by The contribution made by pragmatics4It is plain that discourse analysis has objectives that lie very close to, if not shared by, thoseof pragmatics. This is because discourse is none other than a sequence of sentences inoperation -in other words utterances. But while discourse analysts explain the interpretationof the elements in question without going outside language, pragmatics resorts to otherambits of human activity (beliefs, feelings, knowledge, ). Only in this way canone explain how utterances are interpreted and how successful interpretation of utterances ismanaged. It is only with the aid of considerations of a pragmatic nature that we can gobeyond the question "What does this utterance mean?" and ask "Why was this utteranceproduced?".1 Ms: Vagi una mica de pressa a conv ncer el PSOE perqu tenim pressa tots plegatsper fer tot aix . (You should hurry up a little in persuading the PSOE, because we're all in ahurry to do all that5.)Mr: Vost llegeix els diaris? (Do you read the papers?6)To know why Mr (Maragall) asks the question, we need to bear in mind quite a number ofconsiderations of a pragmatic nature, for example, the degree of relevance of the question:in fact considerable, given that this is a political discourse analysis can only explain that this is a reply to the observation made by Ms(Mas) or explain what type of sentences make up each of the utterances, pragmatics willexplain what kind of reply it is, based on one or more implicatures. For example, "if you readthe newspapers you will know that I have done so many times", or "as I am sure that youread the newspapers, I think you know perfectly well that I have done so, therefore yourobservation is unnecessary". Taking a pragmatic approach, the linguist can successfullyuncover the intention that Mr has in selecting "Do you read the papers?", and why heselected this utterance rather than another ' object of study is "language use and language users" (Haberland & Mey 2002,1673), and language use-understood as a universal human capacity and activity-necessitates recourse to non-linguistic elements to be properly interpreted, because it makesuse of inference and needs interlocutors to have knowledge of the world. "The study oflanguage use has to explain how it is that sentences produced are successfully interpreted byinterlocutors" (Reboul & Moeschler 1998, 35).What has pragmatics to offer that is new? What new elements are in play here? Basically itrelies on the speaker's interpretative strategy, in which the latter attributes qualities andmoods such as rationality, desires and mental states to other speakers. Such an 4 Understood as a way of looking at linguistics, rather than a subdiscipline of The reference here is to the Estatut d'Autonomia catal (the Catalan Statute of Autonomy).6 The examples in this article are taken from a televised debate which took place between candidates tothe presidency of Generalitat de Catalunya (Regional Autonomous government of Catalonia) inNovember 2003. The political spectrum was formed by (from right to left, politically speaking): PartitPopular (Josep Piqu ), Converg ncia i Uni (Artur Mas), Partit dels Socialistes de Catalunya (PasqualMaragall), Esquerra Rep blicana (Josep-Llu s Carod-Rovira), and Iniciativa per Catalunya / els Verds(Joan Saura). The abbreviations used are: Mr (Maragall), Ms (Mas) and C (Carod), since these are thethree politicians we focus and discourse analysis by Margarida Bassols PuigNoves SL. Revista de Socioling 20033interpretative strategy is orientated towards predicting other speakers' behavior, above alltheir interpretative behavior. Additionally, pragmatic theory has three central concepts:context, intention, and to say, these are not concepts that have never been used by other approaches tolanguage. In particular, context plays a relevant role in cultural anthropology, derived fromMalinowski's idea of the "context of situation" (Malinowski 1949), in other words the generalconditions under which a language is spoken. For Malinowski, situation and expression areinseparable. Discourse analysis retains this concept and indeed makes it one of its centralpillars. On the other hand, the concepts of speaker intention and inferences play afundamental role in Speech Act theory and in formulations of Grice's principle of every one of these terms has a different meaning in the different us take context, for instance: in Discourse Analysis this is something which is outside thespeakers and is static in nature, framing the communicative activity, it constitutes the placeand the time in which the latter takes place; in pragmatics, on the other hand, it issomething personal and dynamic. For Sperber & Wilson (1980), for example, it is not a givenat the outset, but rather is constructed by the interlocutors utterance by utterance. Itincludes the series of premises that have to do with knowledge of the world, and to acombination of perceptive data known by the interlocutors; it also involves a series of itemsof information extracted from the interpretation of preceding utterances at any givenmoment. The theory of knowledge and linguistics are interrelated to intention, pragmatics defends the idea that recognition of speaker intentionconditions success in overall interpretation of an utterance. "Interlocutors arrive at asatisfactory interpretation of the utterance, if they succeed in recovering the contents thatthe speaker intended to communicate by means of that utterance" (Reboul & Moeschler1998, 47).For Searle, this intention is expressed by means of certain linguistic conventions, which arethe central core, while intention is relegated to the anecdotal; for Grice, on the other hand,meaning and intention are never explicit and transparent, they can only be recovered thanksto the implicit pragmatic theory of relevance put forward by Sperber & Wilson was a further advance,and separates the informative intention -which is that the speaker wishes to manifest aseries of assumptions- from the communicative intention -which is that they also want tocommunicate their intention of so is plain that to succeed in correctly interpreting these two intentions, the receiver of themessage has to work with the implicit knowledge which Grice speaks of. What we have,then, is a third important concept, which includes all that is inferred by the interlocutors fromwhat is said. In reality, it is knowledge shared by both, and which both know to be shared inthis Pragmatics and argumentative discourseAmong the different ways in which discursive activity may manifest itself, argumentation isone which has particularly attracted the interest of scholars, because it is omnipresent incommunicative activity and because it dominates political, legal and advertising on Speech Act theory (Searle 1970) we can state that the argument as anillocutionary act is associated with the perlocutionary act of persuasion, an act whoseobjective is to get interlocutors or audience to accept a series of ideas the arguments-which involve the demonstration of a Eemeren (1984, 43-45) characterises the illocutionary act of persuasion in the followingway. It has: Propositional content, the totality of propositions and discourse analysis by Margarida Bassols PuigNoves SL. Revista de Socioling 20034 An essential condition, the fact of articulating this series of propositions constitutes anattempt by the speaker to justify an opinion O to the hearer. Preparatory conditions, the speaker believes a) that the hearer will not accept opinion Oat the outset, b) that the hearer will accept the totality of propositions expressed, c) thatthe hearer will accept the constellation of propositions as a justification of O. Sincerity conditions, the speaker believes that a) O is acceptable, b) the propositionsexpressed in the utterances are acceptable, c) that these propositions constitute areasonable justification of put it another way: speakers, who know they have an opinion O which is not accepted atthe outset by the interlocutors, employ a series of propositions which are thought to beacceptable and which are thought to be a good justification of O, in order to changeinterlocutors initial thinking of a strategy to convince or persuade the interlocutor, by means of therelationship between one or more arguments and a conclusion, definition of the discourseorientation has a very important place. The discourse orientation is the movement ordirection we wish to give to the coherent totality of speech acts and which we wish to inducein our receptor. While we construct the discourse we impose on it a precise process ofinterpretation, offering guidance on how to attribute meaning to our utterance. In this waywe guide listeners along the interpretative path which will lead them to understand what wesay and the intention with which we say it. And we do so by devising a strategy, applyingeffort to the selection of words and discourse movement, with a view to achieving certainspecific communicative objectives. If we apply this concept to argumentative discourse, wecan tease out three basic argumentative orientations: the concessive, the consecutive andthe ) Concessive orientation, which operates with two speech acts or two interventions7 Onewhich argues in favor of an implicit conclusion r, and another which does so in favor of aconclusion -r and which, accordingly, questions precisely the relevance of the first act. Whenweighing up the force of the two acts the result implies though you come you won't see him 1 2You will come > you will see him (implicit conclusion r)You won't see him (-r)2 makes it clear that the first act is not relevant, argumentatively speaking, because itsimplicit conclusion is not acceptable. Put another way, "there is no use in your coming ifwhat you want is to see him" the corpus we analysed we found these examples of concessive argumentation in thespeech acts:(2) C- s cert que hem pujat m s que la mitjana europea, per hem pujat menys que lamitjana espanyola. (It's true that we have risen more than the European average (implicitconclusion: we have risen more than the Spanish average) but we have risen less than theSpanish average.)(3) Mr- 23 anys de govern donen per molt, per els darrers anys no han donat de si. (23years in government yield a great deal [of experience, etc]) (implicit conclusion: the last fewyears have yielded a great deal) but the last few years have not yielded a great deal.)(4) C- No s'ha aconseguit el millor finan ament, en canvi s que hem aconseguit 7 By turn or intervention we mean, according to conversational analysis, the maximum monologicalchunk -a single turn in a conversation. Each turn or intervention will include one or more speech The connectors associated with this movement are: encara que (although, even though), per (however, but), per b que (while; even given that), malgrat que (despite (the fact that)), per molt que(however much).Pragmatics and discourse analysis by Margarida Bassols PuigNoves SL. Revista de Socioling 20035ofensives directes. (We didn't secure the best financing (implicit conclusion. we didn'tachieve anything), but on the other hand we did achieve the best direct offensives.)(5) Ms- Tenia tot el dret de dir-me que no volia pactar amb mi, per en el fons li interessavaque hagu ssim de pactar amb el PP. (You was quite within your rights to tell me you didn'twant to form a political alliance with me (implicit conclusion: You didn't think it was possibleto form an alliance with me), but in the final analysis it suited you for us to have to form analliance with the PP (Partit Popular).)(6) C- Nosaltes no podem assumir la responsabilitat de totes les coses que havia fet vost ,no nom s de les bones, sin de les dolentes. (We can't take responsibility for all the thingsyou've done (implicit conclusion: it was easy to do so because they were all good), not justthe good things, but also the bad things.)(7) Ms- No sempre l'entenc per vaja procuro estar informat. (I don't always understand you(implicit conclusion: I'm not informed about what you are saying) but I certainly do seek tokeep informed.)(8) C- La volem m s plena, per de moment s compartida. (We want it to be fuller[sovereignty for Catalonia] ( : sovereignty can be full) but at the moment itis shared.)(9) Ms- Ja li he dit que tenia tot el dret, simplement subratllo que va dir que no. (I alreadysaid that you were within your rights (implicit conclusion: even though you were within yourrights you shouldn't have said no), I'm simply9 underlying the fact that you said no.)(10) C- No ho diu vost , ho diu el senyor Duran Lleida, que va a la seva llista.(It's not you who says that (implicit conclusion: as you head the list of your party'scandidates you lay down the guidelines for what your coalition says) it's Mr Duran Lleidawho's on your list who says that.)And these occurred among the interventions:(11) Ms- vost s no van complir les resolucions que obligaven a fer p bliques les Per vost est d'acord de que es faci ara?(Ms- You [ party] did not comply with the resolutions that made it obligatory topublish tax entries (implicit conclusion: you maintain your position as in the past withrespect to tax entries).Mr- But you agree to having that done now?)(12) Ms- La volem m s plena, per de moment s Aquesta discusi sobre la sobirania no s el que interessa m s a la gent, perdescomptat.(Ms- We want it to be fuller [sovereignty for Catalonia] (implicit. conclusion: the issue ofsovereignty is of great interest to people).Mr- This discussion on sovereignty isn't what most interests people, obviously.)b) Consecutive orientation, which also contains only two speech acts or interventions. One isan argument in favour of r and the other is precisely the argumentative conclusion r. Thusthe conclusion motivates the argument simplicity by being don't want to come, so don't come. 121 serves as the argument for 2. "As you don't want to come, don't do so". In the corpus wefound the following examples of consecutive orientation:(13) Mr- Ho he dit als citutadans, perqu ells ho veuen.(I said so to the citizens (conclusion), because they can see it (argument).) 9 This symbol indicates that the connector per (however, but) is elided or omitted, and only themodifier is present, or, as in the next example, not even the and discourse analysis by Margarida Bassols PuigNoves SL. Revista de Socioling 20036(14) Mr- Si crees un enemic i no el vences, doncs aleshores la situaci s la pitjor de totes.(If you create an enemy and you don't defeat it (argument), then the situation is the worstof all (conclusion).)(15) C- Hem estat un partit responsable, amb una actitud positiva i constructiva, per aix ens vam abstenir en el debat d'investidura de Jordi Pujol, en gest de responsabilitat.(We have been a responsible party, with a positive and constructive attitude (argument), forthat reason we abstained from the debate on Jordi Pujol's investiture, as a gesture ofresponsibility (conclusion).)(16) Mr- Si hi hagu s la possibilitat que qued s bloquejat el canvi, Catalunyaestaria davant d'un problema.(If the process of change could possibly have become blocked (argument), Catalonia wouldhave been faced with a serious problem (conclusion).)(17) Ms- Li recordo amb el to m s amical possible, perqu no em vull barallar amb vost , nimolt menys.(I remind you in the most amicable tone possible (conclusion), because I don't want a fightwith you, far from it (argument).)(18) Ms- A vost li interessa que hagu ssim de tenir acords amb el Partit Popular perqu vost tenia l'expectiva de guanyar uns quants vots.(You would benefit from us having to form an alliance with the Partido Popular (conclusion)because you stand to gain a few votes (argument).)(19) Mr- Si vost s no aproven l'Estatut, tamb l'aprovarem.(If you [ your party] don't pass the Estatut [(Statute of Catalan Autonomy], then we shallpass it too.)(20) Mr- Acabi, acabi, perqu no est dient res de nou.(Get on with it, get on with it (conclusion), because you're not saying anything new(argument).)(21) Ms- Crec que podem fer coses junts i, per tant, jo protegir la relaci que tenim(I think we can do things together (argument), and for that reason I'll protect therelationship that we have (conclusion).)(22) C- Estigui tranquil, que el senyor Mas ja li acaba de dir que el seu Estatut no est per lasobirania.(Relax (conclusion), Mr Mas has just told you that his Statute isn't to do with sovereignty(argument).)c) Conclusive orientation, which operates with three constituents, instead of in favour of the impliciticit conclusion r, another in favour of -r (minus r), and a thirdwhich acts as a conclusion, which is orientated towards weather man said it would rain, but she didn't believe 2As it turned out, she didn't get orientates us towards the implicitit conclusion "she will get wet", while 2 orientates ustowards "she won't get wet". The third act, however, goes in the same direction as 2; in theend she doesn't get orientations are not the most usual in our corpus, perhaps because we areworking with speech acts, in which context they are complex and difficult to we did find the following: 10 The connectors in this movement are: de totes maneres (all the same, even so), en el fons (atbottom), ras i curt (in short), en definitiva (in short, in fact). But these too are often and discourse analysis by Margarida Bassols PuigNoves SL. Revista de Socioling 20037(23) C- Nosaltres no pod em assumir la responsabiltat de totes les coses que havia fet vost .No nom s de les bones sin de les dolentes. Les dolentes se les queden vost s.(We can't assume responsibility for all the things that you've done (conclusion: we didn'twant the good things). Not just the good things, but the bad things (argument 2: we didn'twant the good things). You (and your party) can keep the bad things (argument 1. of theimpliciticit conclusion: we keep the good ones).)(24) Ms- Tenia tot el dret a fer-ho (dir que no) per en el fons ja li interessava quehagu ssim de mantenir acords amb el Partit Popular, perqu d'aquesta manera,probablement, vost tenia l'expectativa, no pensant en el pa s sin pensant en Esquerra,molt leg timament, de guanyar uns quans vots.(You had every right to do so (say no) (argument 1 of the impliciticit conclusion: for thegood of the country) but at bottom you would benefit from our having to form alliances withthe Partido Popular (argument 2: for the good of your party) because that way, probably,you stood to gain a few votes, not thinking of the country but, quite rightly, thinking ofEsquerra (party) (conclusion: for the good of your party).)(25) Mr- s que, si vost s no l'aproven (l'Estatut) tamb l'aprovarem, i l'aprovarem per granmajoria.(The fact is, if you don't pass it (Statute) (argument 1 of the impliciticit conclusion: thestatute won't be passed) then we will (argument 2: the statute will be passed) and we'll doso by a big majority (conclusion: the statute will be passed).)(26) Ms- No sempre l'entenc, perqu de tant en tant el dilluns diu una cosa, el dimarts en diuuna altra, el dimecres una altra, el dijous una altra, per vaja jo procuro estar informat.(I don't always understand you (conclusion: it's difficult to follow you) because from time totime on Monday you say one thing, on Tuesday another, on Wednesday another, onThursday another (argument 1 of the implicit conclusion: you often change your mind, it'sdifficult to follow you), but I certainly do seek to keep informed (argument 2: I manage tofollow you).)(27) Mr- Aix que vost reclama, vost s no hi creuen quan governen. Miri, que era f cildurant els anys que vost s van governar perqu tenien totes les resolucions aprovades enaquest sentit. Per qu no ho van fer? Per la mateixa ra que el senyor Rato, perqu no volenconflictes entre les autonomies.(What you are calling for, your party didn't believe in when you are in power (conclusion:you don't believe in autonmous government). Look how easy it would have been when youwere in government because you had all the necessary motions passed (argument 1 of theimplicit conclusion: you could have shown that you believed in it). Why didn't you do it? Forthe same reason as Mr. Rato, because you didn't want trouble with the other autonomousregional governments (argument 2: you don't believe in it).)(28) Ms- Amb vost s ens va costar d u i ajuda treure el 15% de l'IRPF. I ara vost diu queno tenim el millor sistema de finan ament, quan tenim el 33% de l'IRPF, el 35% de l'IVA, el40% dels impostos especials i el 100% d'altres impostos?Escolti, molt millor del que teniem quan negoci vem amb vost s. Per tant, home, una micad'objectivitat en la informaci .(With your lot it we had to move Heaven and Earth to get that 15% of the income tax(argument 1 of the impliciticit conclusion: in the past you didn't want the best financingsystem) And now you say that we don't have the best financing system, when have ( receives) 33% of income tax, 35% of the VAT, 40% of special taxes and 100% ofother taxes (argument 2: now you've changed your mind).Look here, that's much better than what we had when we negociated with you. So, come on,[let's have] a bit of objectivity in your information (conclusion: you (your party) change yourmind).)In addition to keeping track of the argumentative orientations, it is also worthwhile notingthat in all interventions constructed by speakers in a dialogue, argumentative interventionsor otherwise, there can be several different speech acts, of which one will always be thedirective (DA) while others are optional and act as subordinates (SA). Thus, "Do come, we'llhave a good time" has two acts, of which "Do come" is the directive and "we'll have a goodtime" the subordinate. In the corpus we found these instances, with one directive and and discourse analysis by Margarida Bassols PuigNoves SL. Revista de Socioling 20038(29) Amb vost s ens va costar d u i ajuda treure el 15% de l' s com si els hi hagu ssim arrencat un queixal en aquell moment, quanvost s governaven, no?AS1 AS2(With your lot it we had to move Heaven and Earth to get that 15% of the income was as if we'd pulled one of your teeth out, at that time, when you were in power, wasn'tit?AS1 AS2(30) Estigui tranquil, ADque el senyor Mas ja li acaba de dir que el seu Estatut no est per la sobirania,AS1tots contents i tots pel cam de (Relax,ADMr Mas has just told you that his Statute isn't to do with sovereignty,AS1so everybody happy and on the same road as ever.)AS2The subordinates strengthen the illocutionary force of the directive, they round it out andcomplement it. However, in the discourse generated in a political debate, as strange as itmay seem, we find few instances, because the orator has little time to formulate, and thisfeature greatly increases the informational density of the ConclusionWhat we have presented here, then, is a rapid approximation to the complexity of discourse,plus a series of concepts, taken from pragmatic theory and the theory of argumentationwhich may make the analysis clearer. We have seen that the concessive orientation is themost habitual in the type of political debate analysed here, followed by the consecutiveorientation. The conclusive mode, on the other hand, is not found so frequently, except inthe chunks of monologue, the parts of the discourse which the speakers had partiallyprepared -occurring in the first few minutes and closing minutes of the debate. Thepragmatic markers that work to indicate these orientations constitute a restricted list, and inany case may be omitted. Comparative analysis of the argumentative orientations in thespeech of the different politicians analysed in this article, may make it considerably clearer tous, why they are more, or less, BibliographyANSCOMBRE, J. C. and DUCROT, O. L'argumentation dans la langue. Brussels: Madarga, ; M. Les claus de la pragm tica. Vic: EUMO, , O. Les echelles argumentatives. Paris: Ed. Minuit, , H. P. Logic and conversation . A COLE, P. & MORGAN, J. (eds): Syntax andSemantics. Vol. 3. Speech Acts. Nova York: Academic Press, 1975. P. , H. P. Further notes on logic and conversation . A COLE, P. (ed.): Syntax andsemantics, Vol. 9. Pragmatics. Nova York: Academic Press, 1978. , H. & MEY, J. L. Linguistics and pragmatics, 25 years after . Journal ofPragmatics. [Amsterdam] (2002), vol. 34, n. 12, and discourse analysis by Margarida Bassols PuigNoves SL. Revista de Socioling stica 20039MALINOWSKI, W. El problema del significado en las lenguas primitivas . A OGDEN, C. K. iRICHARDS, I. A. 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