Discourse analysis. Implicatures and indirectness of discourse.

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Discourse analysis. Implicatures and indirectness of discourse.

Both kinds of implicatures are of great interest for discourse analysis. When there is a mismatch between the expressed meaning and the implied meaning we deal with indirectness. Indirectness is a universal phenomenon: it occurs in all natural languages. Let us see how conversational implicatures arise from Maxims of Conversation and thus create indirectness.

A). In the following example Polonius is talking to Hamlet:

Polonius: What do you read, My Lord? Hamlet: Words, words, words.

In this dialogue Hamlet deliberately gives less information than is required by the situation and so flouts the Maxim of Quantity. At the same time he deliberately fails to help Polonius to achieve his goals, thereby flouting the Maxim of Relevance. The Maxim of Quantity is also flouted when we say:Law is law, woman is woman, students are students. This makes us look for what these utterances really mean.

B). In the utterance You’re being too smart! the Maxim of Quality is flouted and the hearer is made to look for a covert sense. Similarly, the same maxim is flouted with metaphors. If I say: He is made of iron, I am either non-cooperative or I want to convey something different.

C). The Maxim of Relevance can also be responsible for producing a wide range of standard implicatures:

A: Can you tell me the time? B: The bell has gone.

It is only on the basis of assuming the relevance of B’s response that we can understand it as an answer to A’s question.

D). A number of different kinds of inference arise if we assume that the Maxim of Manner is being observed. The utterance The lone ranger rode into the sunset and jumped on his horse violates our expectation that events are recounted in the order in which they happen because the Maxim of Manner is flouted.

One more explanation of the fact why people are so often indirect in conveying what they mean was put forward by Geoffrey Leech in his book “Principles of Pragmatics”. He introduces the Politeness Principle which runs as follows: Minimize the expression of impolite beliefs; Maximize the expression of polite beliefs. According to G.Leech, the Politeness Principle is as valid as Cooperative Principle because it helps to explain why people do not always observe Maxims of Conversation. Quite often we are indirect in what we say because we want to minimize the expression of impoliteness:

A: Would you like to go to the theatre? B: I have an exam tomorrow.

B is saying ‘no’, but indirectly, in order to be polite.


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Word classes.

Modern grammars normally recognise four major word classes (verb, noun, adjective, adverb) and five other word classes (determiners(, preposition(предлог), pronoun, conjunction (союз), interjection(междометие)), making nine word classes (or parts of speech) in total.

A noun is a word that identifies:

a person (man, girl, engineer, friend) a thing (horse, wall, flower, country) an idea, quality, or state (anger, courage, life, luckiness)

Nouns are the most common type of word, followed by verbs.

A verb describes what a person or thing does or what happens. For example, verbs describe:

an action – jump, stop, explore\ an event – snow, happen \ a situation – be, seem, have \ a change – evolve, develop

An adjective is a word that describes a noun, giving extra information about it. For example:

an exciting adventure

a green apple

Adverbs are words that to give information about verbs, adjectives or other adverbs, like: quickly, back, ever, badly, away generally, completely

They can make the meaning of a verb, adjective, or other adverb stronger or weaker, and often appear between the subject and its verb (She nearly lost everything.)

Nouns are the most common type of word, followed by verbs. Adjectives are less common and adverbs are even less common.

Many words belong to more than one word class. For example, book can be used as a noun or as a verb; fast can be used as an adjective or an adverb:

It’s an interesting book. (noun)

We ought to book a holiday soon. (verb)

Pronouns are used in place of a noun that is already known or has already been mentioned. This is often done in order to avoid repeating the noun. For example:

Laura left early because she was tired.

Prepositions (предлоги) are words usually in front of a noun or pronoun and expressing a relation to another word or element, like: after, down, near, of, plus, round, to. They show the relationship between the noun or pronoun and other words in a sentence.

Interjections(междометия) have no grammatical value - words like: ah, hey, oh, ouch, um, well. is a word or phrase that expresses strong emotion, such as surprise, pleasure, or anger. Exclamations often stand on their own

A conjunction (союз) (also called a connective) is a word such as and, because, but, for, if, or, and when. Conjunctions are used to connect phrases, clauses, and sentences.

A determiner is a word that introduces a noun, such as a/an, the, every, this, those, or many (as in a dog, the dog, this dog, those dogs, every dog, many dogs).

The determiner the is sometimes known as the definite article and the determiner a (or an) as the indefinite article.


Language means of expressing the theme (Языковые средства выражения темы)

The theme expresses the starting point of the communication, The theme of the actual division of the sentence may or may not coincide with the subject of the sentence.

The theme may or may not coincide with the subject of the sentence. The rheme with a predicate. The actual division finds its full expression only in a concrete context of speech. If it is stylistically neutral construction the theme is the subject and the rheme is the predicate and this kind of actual division is direct. The actual division in which the rheme is expressed by the subject is inverted.

Means of expressing theme

1.Definite article.

2.Word order.

The theme is expressed by the subject. For ex; Stewie didnt like his breakfast (Stewie это subject)


Textual deictic markers.

As a linguistic term deixis means ‘identification by pointing’. Much of the textual meaning can be understood by looking at linguistic markers that have a pointing function in a given context. For example, “Sorry, I missed you. I’m in my other office. Back in an hour.” Without knowing who the addressee is, what time the note was written, or the location of the other office, it is really hard to make a precise information of the message. Those conditions that we cannot interpret without an immediate context are called deixis (Те условия, которые мы не можем интерпретировать без непосредственного контекста называются дейксис) Deictic terms are used to refer (для обозначения) to ourselves, to others, and to objects in our environment.

Deictic terms can show social relationship – the social location of individuals in relation to others. They may be used to define parts of a text in relation to other parts.

Deictic expressions are typically pronouns, certain time and place adverbs (here, now, etc.), some verbs of motion (come/go), and even tenses.

We can identify five major types of deictic markers – person, place, time, textual and social.

Person deixis refers to grammatical markers of communicant roles in a speech event. The first person is the speaker’s reference to self; the second person is the speaker’s reference to addressee(s) and the third person is reference to others who are neither speaker nor addressee.

Place deixis refers to how languages show the relationship between space and the location of the participants in the text: this, that, here, there, in front of, at our place, etc.

Temporal deixis refers to the time relative to the time of speaking: now, then, today, yesterday, tomorrow, etc.

Textual deixis has to do with keeping track of reference in the unfolding text: in the following chapter, but, first, I’d like to discuss, etc. (Textual deixis должны делать с отслеживания ссылок в разворачивающейся тексте).

Social deixis is used to code (используется для кодирования социальных отношений) social relationships between speakers and addressee or audience. Here belong titles of addresses and pronouns. There are two kinds of social deixis: relational and absolute. Absolute deictic markers are forms attached to a social role: Your Honor, Mr.President, Your Grace, Madam, etc. Relational deictic markers locate persons in relation to the speaker rather than by their roles in the society: my cousin, you, her, etc.


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