1. Text as a syntactic unit.
Text is the unit of the highest (supersyntactic) level. It can be defined as a sequence of sentences connected logically and semantically which convey a complete message. The text is a language unit and it manifests itself in speech as discourse. Textlinguistics is concerned with the analysis of formal and structural features of the text. Textual basic integrative properties can be described with the help of the notions of coherence(цілісність), cohesion(формальна складність) and deixis.
2. The notion of coherence.
Coherenceis a semantic or topical unity of the spoken or written text – that is, the sentences within the text are usually connected by the same general topic. Generally speaking, a coherent text is the text that ‘sticks together’ as a whole unit. Coherence is usually achieved by means of the theme and rheme progression. There exist various types of the theme and rheme progression, e.g.
Naturally, in the process of text development different types of theme and rheme progression are combined.
3. The notion of cohesion. Text connecting devices.
Cohesion is a succession of spoken or written sentences. Sometimes the sentences may even not coincide topically. The connection we want to draw between various parts of the text may be achieved by textualand lexicalcohesion. Textual cohesion may be achieved by formal markers which express conjunctive relations and serve as text connectors. Text connectors may be of four different types:
1. additive – and, furthermore, similarly, in addition, etc.
2. adversative – but, however, on the other hand, in fact, anyway, after all, nevertheless, etc.
3. causal – so, consequently, for this reason, thus, etc.
4. temporal – then, after that, finally, at last, in the long run, etc.
The full list of text connectors is very long. Some of them do not possess direct equivalents in the Ukrainian language. At the same time it is impossible to speak and write English naturally without knowing for sure when and how to use text connectors of the English language.
Lexicalcohesion occurs when two words in the text are semantically related in the same way – in other words, they are related in terms of their meaning. Two major categories of lexical cohesion are reiterationand collocation.Reiteration includes repetition, synonym or near synonym use and the use of general words. E.g. (1) You could try driving the car up the slope. The incline isn’t at all that steep. (2) Pneumonia arrives with the cold and wet conditions. The illness can strike everyone from infants to the elderly.
Collocationincludes all those items in text that are semantically related. The items may be related in one text and not related in other. For instance, the words ‘neighbour’ and ‘scoundrel’ are not related at all. However, in the following text they are collocated: My neighbour has just let one of his trees fall into my garden. And the scoundrel refuses to pay for the damage he has caused.
Cohesive ties within the text are also formed by endophoric relations. Endophoric relations are of two kinds – those that look back in the text for their interpretation are called anaphoricrelations; those that look forward in the text are called cataphoric relations:
Look at the sun. It is going down quickly. ‘It’ refers back to ‘the sun’.
It is going down quickly, the sun. ‘It’ refers forwards to ‘the sun’.
4. 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, consider the following note pinned on a professor’s door:“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 terms that we cannot interpret without an immediate context are called deixis. Deictic terms are used to refer to ourselves, to others, and to objects in our environment. They are also used to locate actions in a time frame relative to the present. Deictic terms can show social relationship – the social location of individuals in relation to others. They may be used to locate 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. In fact all languages have expressions that link a sentence to a time and space context and that help to determine reference.
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.
Textualdeixis has to do with keeping track of reference in the unfolding text: in the following chapter, but, first, I’d like to discuss, etc. Most of the text connectors discussed above belong to this group.
Social deixis is used to code social relationships between speakers and addressee or audience. Here belong honorifics, 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. In English, social deixis is not heavily coded in the pronoun system. ‘You’ refers to both – singular and plural. As well as in the Ukrainian language, English possesses ‘a powerful we’: We are happy to inform…, In this article we…
LECTURE 11: PRAGMATICS. SPEECH ACT THEORY
1. Basic notions of pragmatic linguistics.
The term ‘pragmatics’ was first introduced by Charles Morris, a philosopher. He contrasts pragmatics with semantics and syntax. He claims that syntax is the study of the grammatical relations of linguistic units to one another and the grammatical structures of phrases and sentences that result from these grammatical relation, semantics is the study of the relation of linguistic units to the objects they denote, and pragmatics is the study of the relation of linguistic units to people who communicate.
This view of pragmatics is too broad because according to it, pragmatics may have as its domain any human activity involving language, and this includes almost all human activities, from baseball to the stock market. We will proceed from the statement that linguistic pragmatics is the study of the ability of language users to pair sentences with the context in which they would be appropriate. What do we mean by ‘appropriate context’?
In our everyday life we as a rule perform or play quite a lot of different roles – a student, a friend, a daughter, a son, a client, etc. When playing different roles our language means are not the same – we choose different words and expressions suitable and appropriate for the situation. We use the language as an instrument for our purposes. For instance,
(a) What are you doing here? We’re talking
(b) What the hell are you doing here? We’re chewing the rag
have the same referential meaning but their pragmatic meaning is different, they are used in different contexts. Similarly, each utterance combines a propositional base (objective part) with the pragmatic component (subjective part). It follows that an utterance with the same propositional content may have different pragmatic components:
To put it in other words, they are different speech acts. That is, speech acts are simply things people do through language – for example, apologizing, instructing, menacing, explaining something, etc. The term ‘speech act’ was coined by the philosopher John Austin and developed by another philosopher John Searle.
John Austin is the person who is usually credited with generating interest in what has since come to be known as pragmatics and speech act theory. His ideas of language were set out in a series of lectures which he gave at Oxford University. These lectures were later published under the title “How to do things with words”. His first step was to show that some utterances are not statements or questions but actions. He reached this conclusion through an analysis of what he termed‘performative verbs’. Let us consider the following sentences:
I pronounce you man and wife
I declare war on France
I name this ship The Albatros
I bet you 5 dollars it will rain
The peculiar thing about these sentences, according to J.Austin, is that they are not used to say ordescribe things, but rather actively to do things. After you have declared war on France or pronounced somebody husband and wife the situation has changed. That is why J.Austin termed them as performatives and contrasted them to statements (he called them constatives). Thus by pronouncing a performative utterance the speaker is performing an action. The performative utterance, however, can really change things only under certain circumstances. J.Austin specified the circumstances required for their success as felicity conditions. In order to declare war you must be someone who has the right to do it. Only a priest (or a person with corresponding power) can make a couple a husband ad wife. Besides, it must be done before witnesses and the couple getting married must sign the register.
Performatives may be explicitand implicit. Let us compare the sentences:
I promise I will come tomorrow – I will come tomorrow;
I swear I love you – I love you.
On any occasion the action performed by producing an utterance will consist of three related acts (a three-fold distinction):
1. locutionary act – producing a meaningful linguistic expression, uttering a sentence. If you have difficulty with actually forming the sounds and words to create a meaningful utterance (because you are a foreigner or tongue-tied) then you might fail to produce a locutionary act: it often happens when we learn a foreign language.
2. illocutionary act– we form an utterance with some kind of function on mind, with a definite communicative intention or illocutionary force. The notion of illocutionary force is basic for pragmatics.
3. perlocutionary act– the effect the utterance has on the hearer. Perlocutionary effect may be verbal or non-verbal. E.g. I’ve bought a car – Great! It’s cold here – and you close the window.
2. Classifications of speech acts. Indirect speech acts.
It was John Searle, who studied under J.Austin at Oxford, who proposed a detailed classification of speech acts. His speech act classification has had a great impact on linguistics. It includes five major classes of speech acts: declarations, representatives, expressives, directives and commissives:
|Speech act type||Direction of fit||s – speaker, x - situation|
|Declarations E.g. I pronounce you man and wife. You’re fired.||words change the world||S causes X|
|Representatives E.g. It was a warm sunny day. John is a liar.||make words fit the world||S believes X|
|Expressives E.g. I’m really sorry. Happy birthday! (statements of pleasure, joy, sorrow, etc.)||make words fit the world||S feels X|
|Directives E.g. Don’t touch that (commands, orders, suggestions)||make the world fit words||S wants X|
|Commissives E.g. I’ll be back (promises, threats, pledges – what we intend to do)||make the world fit words||S intends X|
J.Searle can also be merited for introducing a theory of indirect speech acts. Indirect speech acts are cases in which one speech act is performed indirectly, by way of performing another: Can you pass me the salt? Though the sentence is interrogative, it is conventionally used to mark a request – we cannot just answer “yes” or “no”. According to modern point of view such utterances contain two illocutionary forces, with one of them dominating.
Another classification of speech acts was introduced by G.Potcheptsov. It is based on purely linguistic principles. The main criterion for pragmatic classification of utterances is the way of expressing communicative intention. This classification includes six basic speech acts:
constatives, promissives, menacives, performatives, directives and questions. More details can be found in the book by И.П.Иванова, В.В.Бурлакова, Г.Г.Почепцов “Теоретическая грамматика современного английского языка”, С.267-281.
LECTURE 12: DISCOURSE ANALYSIS
1. Discourse analysis – the study of language in use.
Text as a unit of the highest level manifests itself as discourse in verbal communication. Therefore actual text in use may be defined as discourse. Discourses are formed by sequence of utterances. It is obvious that many utterances taken by themselves are ambiguous. They can become clear only within a discourse. Utterances interpretation, or discourse analysis, involves a variety of processes, grammatical and pragmatic. By pragmatic processes we mean the processes used to bridge up the gap between the semantic representations of sentences and the interpretation of utterances in context. Quite often, the sentence may be ambiguous:
His soup is not hot enough
The hearer must not only recover the semantic representation of the sentence uttered, but decide who the referential expression he refers to, whether the ambiguous word hot means very warm orspicy, whether the vague expression his food refers to the food he cooked, the food he brought, the food he served, the food he is eating, etc.
Besides, utterances have not only propositional content but illocutionary force, and ambiguities may arise at this level:
You’re not leaving
The hearer must not only recover its explicit propositional content, but also decide whether it is a statement, a question or an order. Furthermore, utterances have not only explicit content but also implicit import:
A: Would you like some coffee?
B: Coffee would keep me awake.
The hearer (A) must recover the implication that B does not want any coffee (or, in some circumstances, that he does).
2. Maxims of conversation.
Understanding the meaning of a discourse requires knowing a lot of things. There are times when people say (or write) exactly what they mean, but generally they are not totally explicit. They manage to convey far more than their words mean, or even something quite different from the meaning of their words. It was Paul Grice who attempted to explain how, by means of shared rules or conventions, language users manage to understand one another. He introduced guidelines necessary for the efficient and effective conversation. He defined these guidelines as Cooperative Principle. Cooperative Principle presupposes that conversation is governed by four basic rules,Maxims of Conversation. There are four of them:
1. The Maxim of Quality
Do not say what you believe to be false
Do not say for what you lack adequate evidence
2. The Maxim of Quantity
Make your contribution as informative as required
Do not make your contribution more informative than is required
3. The Maxim of Relevance
4. The Maxim of Manner
3. Implicatures of discourse.
Communicative maxims make it possible to generate inferences which are defined asconversational implicaturesandconventional implicatures. Conversational implicaturesaresuch components of an utterance that are not expressed semantically but are understood by communicants in the process of communication: Was it you who broke the cup? This question presupposes: Someone has broken the cup. If you did not do that your normal reaction would be:What cup?, while the answer I didn’t do that shows that you know about the fact. Conversational implicatures are universal, they do not depend on the language used. The second type of implicatures, conventional implicatures, are derived from a definite lexical or grammatical structure of an utterance: I saw only John (conventional implicature – I didn’t see anyone else), Even Bill is smarter than you (Everybody is smarter than John, John is stupid).
4. Implicatures and indirectness.
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 thePoliteness Principlewhich 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.
LECTURE 13: THE USE OF ARTICLES IN ENGLISH
The article is a function word, which means it has no lexical meaning and is devoid of denotative function. Semantically the article can be viewed as a significator, i.e. a linguistic unit representing some conceptual content without naming it. If analyzed in its relation to the conceptual reality, the article proves to be an operator, i.e. a marker of some cognitive operation, like identification, classification, and the like.
It is not a secret that articles often turn into stumbling blocks for students of English, especially for those whose first language is synthetic. Different language types represent different mentalities. Therefore, one of the ways to learn to use articles correctly is developing the necessary communicative skills through countless repetition, which can only be achieved in a corresponding language environment. Another way is trying to develop a system of rules governing the use of articles in the language by understanding the basic principles of their functioning. This is what we are going to do, though of course, both methods complement one another. A language student needs both theory and practice.
As you know, there are two articles in English: the definite article “the” and the indefinite one “a”. It has become a tradition to also single out the so-called “zero” article, which is found in the contexts where neither the definite nor the indefinite article is used. It is better to speak of the zero article rather than of the absence of the article for the same reason that we ascribe the zero marker to the “unmarked” member of the opposition. We speak of zero units in situations where the grammatical meaning needs to be made explicit.
The answer to the question “what do we need articles for?” can’t be too simple. We might have to enumerate quite a few functions articles can be used in. Some of them are common for all the three articles, others are only characteristic of individual function words. This is what we are going to speak of.
1.The Use of Articles as Determiners
The invariant function of all the articles (i.e. the function all of them are used in) is that ofdetermination. Any human language has a system of devices used to determine words as parts of speech. In analytical languages the article is the basic noun determiner. In synthetic languages, like Ukrainian and Russian the same function is performed by inflexions.
e.g. Read the poem and comment on determiners:
|Twas brilling, and the slithy tovesDid gyre and gimble in the wabe.All mimsy were the borogoves,And the mome raths outgrabe.||Варкалось, хливкие шорькиПырялись по наве.И хрюкотали зелюки,Как мюмзики в мове.|
2. The Use of Articles as the Theme-and-Rheme Markers
The second function the articles can be used in is that of the theme-and rheme markers. As you know, the theme is the information already known, and the rheme is the semantic focus of the utterance, the new idea that is being introduced. An utterance where there is only the rheme can’t be understood. For example, if I entered the room and said something like that to you, “What about a wedding dress for Jane?” you would not understand anything, for there are three rhematic pieces of information in this utterance:
1. Jane (you don’t know who she is).
2. Jane’s forthcoming marriage.
3. You have to take care of Jane’s wedding dress.
Utterances that only contain the theme sound ridiculous. Can you imagine me saying something like that, «Let me share something important with you. This is a table.» You would probably think, something is wrong with me.
Traditionally the grammatical subject coincides with the theme, and the grammatical predicate is the rheme of the utterance. Still there are situations where there are disagreements between grammatical and communicative subjects and predicates.
In languages like Ukrainian or Russian the final position of the word in the sentence is rhematic, and the initial position is thematic. In English the same function is performed by the indefinite and the definite articles correspondingly. It is important to remember this principle when you translate something into English, for example:
|До кімнати увійшов чоловік.Чоловік увійшов до кімнати.||A man entered the room.The man entered the room.|
3.The Use of Articles as Generalizers
The object denoted by the word is called the “referent”. Referents can be concrete, if something is said about a concrete object or phenomenon, and general, if what we say is true for the whole class of objects.
e.g. I have a dog at home (a concrete dog).
The dog is man’s friend (any dog).
In the second sentence the definite article is used as a generalizer. The generalizing function can be performed by both the definite, the indefinite and the zero article. The zero article is used in the plural or with uncountable nouns, for example:
Conscience and cowardice are really the same things.
Iron is metal.
When concrete nouns are used in generic sense, they are usually preceded by the definite article. The indefinite article may be used when two classes of objects are compared, for example:
A dog is stronger than a cat.
If asked for an explanation, I would say that the general conclusion about the strength of cats and dogs is first made on the level of individuals, i.e. to determine who is stronger we would probably have to get a dog and a cat to fight. Then we would pick up another dog and another cat, until some general conclusion could be drawn. This is the reason the indefinite article appears in this sentence.
It is also important to remember that different parts of the utterance have to agree with one another semantically. So the articles are mostly used in their generalizing function in utterances characterized by generic reference, for example:
The noun is a part of speech which denotes substance.
The tragedy of life is indifference.
4. The Use of Articles as Concretizers
The generalizing function of articles is opposed to that of concretization.The latter is realized through some specific functions which are different for definite, indefinite and zero articles.
FUNCTIONS OF THE INDEFINITE ARTICLE
The indefinite article can be used in four functions:
1. The classifying function
2. The indefinitizing function
3. The introductory function
4. The quantifying function
Each of them is realized under specific contextual conditions.
1. The classifying function of the indefinite article is realized in the so-called classifying utterances. Their invariant sentence pattern is: N + Vbe + N1. Those are:
a) structures with the verb “to be”, for example:
This is a computer.
b)exclamatory sentences beginning with “what” or such.
e.g. What a long story! He is such a nuisance!
c) sentences including an adverbial modifier of manner or comparison, for example:
e.g. You look like a rose! She works as a teacher.
2. The indefinitizing function is realized when the referent of the noun is not a real thing, but it exists in the speaker’s imagination only. Those are sentences containing modal verbs or verbs with modal meaning, forms of the Subjunctive Mood, Future Tense forms, negative and interrogative sentences.
e.g. I wish I had a home like you do.
Have you ever seen a living tiger?
3. The introductory function. Before sharing some information about the object, we need to introduce it to the hearer. Fairy tales can be used as ideal illustrations of the use of the indefinite article in its introductory function.
e.g. Once upon a time there lived an old man. He had a wife and a daughter. He lived in a small house.
4. The quantifying function.The indefinite article developed from the numeral “one”. The meaning of “oneness” is still preserved when the article is used with nouns denoting measure, like “a minute”, “a year” or “a pound”.
FUNCTIONS OF THE DEFINITE ARTICLE
The definite article may be used in the following functions: