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Public Discourse with Advertising Function

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Public Discourse with Advertising Function
    Energeia V (2013-14), 149-165   ISSN 1869-4233  Adriana Maria Robu, Alexandru Ioan Cuza University of Ia ş i/Eberhard Karls University of Tübingen    Public Discourse with Advertising Function 1   Abstract Our concern in this paper is to analyse public discourse from the point of view of “functional  perspective” on speech in Eugenio Coseriu’s sense, considering language as a phenomenon that must  be explained in finalistic terms. With its distinction of three functional levels of language ( universal  , historical   and individual  ) and departing from the knowledge of the speaker and the activity of speech, Coseriu’s framework offers very adequate instruments for understanding what we can generally call  public discourse (as well as other types of discourse). The aim of the present work is to show how we can describe the finality of a text taking into account different types of textual functions involved within discourse. We will focus on political and advertising discourses, two of the most dominant types within public discourse nowadays, and we will concentrate on examples from Romanian. Keywords : finality, functional perspective, advertising and political discourse, integral linguistics. Rezumat Lucrarea de fa ță  are în vedere analiza discursului public din „perspectiv ă  func ț ional ă ” asupra limbajului, în accep ț ia lui Eugeniu Coseriu, care consider  ă  c ă  acesta este un fenomen ce trebuie explicat din punct de vedere finalist. Operând o distinc ț ie fundamental ă  între nivelurile limbajului ș i  pornind de la cunoa ș terea vorbitorului ș i activitatea de vorbire, lingvistica de sorginte coserian ă  ofer  ă  instrumente adecvate pentru în ț elegerea a ceea ce putem numi discurs public (dar ș i pentru alte tipuri de discurs). Scopul acestei lucr  ă ri este acela de a ar  ă ta cum putem descrie finalitatea unui text luând în considerare diferite tipuri de func ț ii textuale presente în discurs. Aten ț ia noastr  ă  se va îndrepta asupra discursului politic ș i publicitar, dou ă  dintre tipurile dominante în cadrul discursului public actual, oferind exemple din limba român ă . Cuvinte cheie : finalitate, perspectiv ă  func ț ional ă , discurs publicitar ș i politic, lingvistica integral. 1. The Coserian functional approach on speech 1.1.  Since the early 50’s, Eugenio Coseriu endeavoured to prove that there is no causal explanation for the linguistic change, in opposition to the phenomena described by the natural sciences, because languages do not belong to a causal order, but to a finalistic one, that is to    Adriana Maria Robu (born 1980) is a Ph.D in Philology (“Alexandru Ioan Cuza” University of Iassy, Romania), whose main research fields are integral linguistics and pragmatics. Her Ph.D thesis, entitled  Pragmatic features of the nowadays Romanian advertising discourse  shows that the coserian text linguistics instruments are very useful for a pragmatic approach of the discourse, as they facilitate a good understanding of the sense and of the finality of texts. The published articles of the author concern applications on practical efficacy types of texts as political and advertising ones, but also on religious texts. Some of her recent articles: The usefulness of the integral text linguistics concepts for pragmatics (2013), The functionality of the argumentative structures in advertising discourse (2013),  Discourse/text from the integral text linguistics perspective (2012),  Expressions of the metalinguistic functions of language in religious catholic discourse. A pragma linguistic approach (2012). E-mail:   1   This work was supported by the European Social Fund   in   Romania, under the responsibility of the Managing Authority for the Sectorial Operational Programme for Human Resources Development 2007-2013 [grant POSDRU/CPP 107/DMI 1.5/S/78342].    Adriana Maria Robu: Public Discourse with Advertising Function 150 the category of facts which are determined by their function (Co ș eriu 1997: 27). Based on a solid philosophical foundation, Coseriu’s conception of language departs, against a simplistic view on causality as such, from Aristotle’s distinction between four different kinds of causes 2 : “effective cause” (the agent or the action used in building something), “material cause” (the material involved), “formal cause” (the plan) and “final cause” (the purpose) ( op. cit. , p. 176). The meaning of “cause” in the aristotelian sense is not the colloquial one, but it stands for the conditions or circumstances in which something happens. In this context, the most important cause is the “final” one, which subordinates the other three. For instance, the “effective cause” of linguistic change is linguistic freedom, but the universal reason is the communicative  purpose of the speakers. It shows that, in language, the speaker makes use of different expressive means so as to achieve a certain goal, namely to communicate something. This is why the linguist should not ask why linguistic changes happen, but to find out how they happen. 3   1.2. The coserian outlook, anti-positivistic in its essence, conceives integral linguistics as a science of culture, which deals with the functional levels of speech. It is related to the essential universals of speech (  semanticity, alterity, creativity ) 4 , starting from the knowledge of the speaker and from the activity of speech. Thus, an objective theory of speech will take into account that speech is a general human activity usually performed individually on the  basis of a historical linguistic technique. This creative activity of speech is analysed at three levels ( universal  ,  historical and  individual  ), which involve three specific techniques ( elocutional, idiomatic and  expressive competence ), as we can see in Table 1. Points of view Levels enérgeia  Activity dýnamis  Knowledge érgon  Product Universal Speaking in general Elocutional knowledge Totality of utterances Historical Concrete particular language Idiomatic knowledge (Abstracted particular language) Individual Discourse Expressive knowledge Text Table 1. Levels of speech  (Coseriu 1985: XXIX) 2  For the question of causality and finality in linguistics, see also the discussion forum in this issue of  Energeia . 3   As we can notice, the coserian functional perspective differs from other tendencies in language studies which use the term “functional” with diverging meanings. For instance, in structural linguistics it refers to the relations between different structural elements, while a functional perspective in present-day pragmatics means: “an approach to language which takes into account the full complexity of its cognitive, social, and cultural (i.e., ‘meaningful’) functioning in the lives of human beings” (Verschueren, Ösman eds. 2009: 19). This again is opposed to social sciences which understand the functionalist relations as functions between structural categories. The functionalist pragmatic approach emphasizes on interpretation and meaning, dealing with three main properties of language: variability , negociability and  adaptability ( op. cit. , p. 19– 22). For other details concerning the ”functional explanation” see Esa Itkonen’s article in this issue.   4  E. Co ş eriu, Universaliile limbajului  ş i universaliile lingvisticii , in E. Co ş eriu 2009: 78–80.  Adriana Maria Robu: Public Discourse with Advertising Function 151 The investigation of discourse/text, from the perspective of integral linguistics, starts from the  premise that, within discourse, linguistic knowledge (including metalanguage, diachrony, repeated discourse, diatopic, diaphasic and diastratic variation of the historical language) and extra-linguistic knowledge (knowledge of things in general) are involved, both representing sources of sense construction. In other words, in terms of discursive activity, integral text linguistics does not analyse the text according to external factors, but it focuses on the  possibilities of the meaning, conferred by the signifying function of the language ( logos  semantikós ). Semanticity is a constant feature of language, which, within discourse, is determined by internal finalities. 1.3. The functional levels of speech were fruitfully discussed by Óscar Loureda Lamas with respect to text linguistics. Taking into account the three types of text linguistics from Coseriu’s framework (  general theory of text  , text grammar   or transphrastic grammar and text    hermeneutics ) Loureda refers to this as “threefold text linguistics”: Coseriu denomina al análisis del texto como nivel último del hablar lingüística del texto o lingüística del sentido. Pero esta lingüística del texto es, en realidad, “tres veces lingüística del texto”. Los textos son hechos individuales, pero no absolutamente singulares, pues presentan, además, una dimensión universal, que incluye aquellos rasgos de la textualidad, y una dimensión histórica que hace que compartan tradiciones y moldes expresivos; dicho de otro modo, la lingüística del texto debe explicar,  primero, qué es un texto en general y cómo se configura, de modo que en este sentido se trata de una teoría general del texto; segundo, debe explicar qué rasgos comparten distintos textos y qué función tienen en el hablar, de modo que se trataría de una lingüística de la dimensión tradicional del hablar; y tercero, debe explicar qué significa, en toda la extensión de la palabra, tal o cual texto en tal o cual situación, es decir, debe ser una hermenéutica de los textos o filología (Loureda 2007). The same linguist operates a systematization of the discourse analysis modalities, starting from the coserian text linguistics model, which includes the real and functional dimensions of the text. As far as    pragmatics (in a cognitive approach) is concerned, it views the universal level of speech, but text grammar and systematic functional linguistics analyse the idiomatic level. Within the individual level, the discourse study disciplines are placed as follows:  pragmatics, enunciation theory and argumentation theory refer to the universal dimension of the speech; textual typology, repeated discourse and discourse tradition belong to the traditional dimension; and stylistics of speech, critical analysis of discourse, textual semantics and hermeneutics analyse the individual dimension.  Adriana Maria Robu: Public Discourse with Advertising Function 152 Table 2. La lingüística del hablar   (Loureda 2010: 151) This coserian distinction of speech levels allows diversifying the possibilities of the research and shows a better understanding of language essence and of its reality. The coserian model was extremely profitable applied in different fields by many researchers, who even continued Coseriu’s work. In a very incomplete enumeration, we can mention some of them: Heidi Aschenberg (1998) with regard to translation theory, Wulf Oesterreicher (1997), Peter Koch (1997), Johannes Kabatek (2005) in discourse tradition , Mircea Borcil ă  (2008) in the matter of stylistics, Óscar Loureda Lamas (2010) in the field of textlinguistics, Emma T ă mâianu (2001) in textual typology sphere etc. 1.4.  The aforementioned finalistic view of integral linguistics offers a very useful view on text typology. According to the same Aristotelian tradition, it assumes the following discursive finalities: the  scientific finality  ( logos apophantikós ), the  pragmatic finality ( logos  pragmatikós ) and the  poetic finality  ( logos poietikós ) (Co ș eriu 2011:125). Each of these finalities reveals the speaker’s attitude, intention and the relationship with the interlocutor, considered as internal relationships of it with its own speech. Thus, Emma T ă mâianu (2001: 195) states that “text typological organization can only be defined as the modality of sense construction – i.e. the modality to which the significata and designata of text units constitute a  second degree signifier –, and the modality of the internal sense-articulation (Gliederung des Sinns) ”. The same author considers that classical text typologies based on traditions of texts are not able to give information concerning their sense, because the text/discourse is not an activity limited to patterns. That is why even a typological approach to texts should refer to their internal sense which builds up by means of a variety of devices (see infra 3).  Nivel individual dimensión universal dimensión tradicional dimensión individual Pragmática Teoría de la enunciación Estilística del habla Análisis Crítico del Discurso Semántica textual HermenéuticaTipología textual Discurso repetido (textos)  Nivel idiomático  Nivel universal Pragmática (enfoque cognitivo) Gramática textual („Textlinguistik“) Lingüística sistémico-functional (Halliday/Hasan)   Adriana Maria Robu: Public Discourse with Advertising Function 153 2. What is public discourse? 2.1.  First, we have to say that the concept   of discourse is usually opposed to that of text in different structural, positivistic and pragmatic orientations, which are, in their turn, opposed to the meaning the concepts have in integral text linguistics. Current research in Pragmatics  places discourse in general and particularly public discourse at the crossroads of linguistics with psychology, sociology, ethnomethodology or theory of communication. Consequently, the concept has now a series of complementary and even contradictory definitions. Generally, discourse is considered a linguistic activity, a way of using language. If structuralism stopped at the level of the sentence, discourse analysis takes into account social, cultural, situational factors which offer it a more ample understanding. For instance, in Anne Reboul’s and J. Moeschler’s opinion (1995: 246), discourse is not a naturally pertinent category from scientific point of view and, consequently, it does not require a special treatment. They consider that a pertinent category which deserves attention is utterance . Generally, discourse analysts see discourse as being anchored in a certain socio-cultural context, orientated by a certain finality which is determined by the roles of the discursive agents; while text appears as a series of sentences with semantic features. 2.2. According to Eugenio Coseriu, discourse  and text   are seen as complementary aspects of the speech. Thus discourse is: Language as activity, which [...] must be understood as “speaking and understanding” […]. It is in the  proper sense enérgeia , actus , that is a creative activity, which makes use of dýnamis , an already acquired Knowledge, in order, however, always to say something new, something in one way or another unique; and to the extent to which it is creative, inasmuch as it manifests “facts of speech” in the narrower sense, it goes beyond its own dýnamis  and produces new, virtual knowledge, facts which can be taken over in the dýnamis , for further speech acts. Moreover, as it is a question of a productive activity, we can also regard it in terms of its products, that is as érgon  (1985, pag. XXVII). And this érgon  can be observed directly in texts : A text is nothing but the product of a speech act or of a sequence of speech acts, or, rather: these speech acts themselves as a product, which can be either retained in memory or recorded and preserved in a material, in taped, written, or printed form. It is therefore fitting to begin by distinguishing  between language kat’enérgeian  (speaking and understanding), language katà dýnamin , and language kat’érgon ( loc. cit. ). Coseriu also adds that these two concepts are not opposed, but they “constitute only different points of view concerning the same real phenomenon”. We think that, when we analyse an aspect of speech, even if we depart from the discourse (implying verbal and non-verbal elements), or if we depart from the text (related to the enunciation context), the main reference is language. That is why these two concepts should not be separated. 5   We can also notice that some aspects of the coserian theory about text/discourse sometimes meet theories from linguistic pragmatics but they are placed by Coseriu in a larger framework of analysis, as early as the 50’s (in  Determinación y entorno  [1955–1956]   and then in Textlinguistik [1980]). 5  For a synthesis concerning the coserian text/discourse distinction and other orientations in the matter, see Robu 2011a.  
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