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Analysing language

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					Analysing language

Lesley Jeffries and Dan McIntyre
University of Huddersfield
Introduction: Linguistics

 General Linguistics
 Sociolinguistics

 Pragmatics

 Discourse analysis

 Stylistics
General Linguistics

 Theories of language – e.g.
  structuralism
 Description of language:
      Phonetics, phonology - sounds
      Morphology – word structure
      Grammar – sentence structure
      Semantics – word meaning
 Neutral approach to linguistic ‘value’
Sociolinguistics

 Variation in language across:
     Gender
     Age
     Geographical area
     Time
     Social background
 ‘Register’ and oral narrative structure
Pragmatics: Contextually-
based meaning
 e.g. ‘It’s cold in here’ = turn heating up!
 Paul Grice – the co-operative principle

Maxims:
Quality – be truthful
Quantity – don’t say more or less than
  needed
Relation – be relevant
Clarity – don’t be obscure or vague
Pragmatics: inferencing

 When the co-operative principle goes
  ‘wrong’:
A: What’s for tea?
B: There was a lovely concert on the
  radio today – Beethoven I think.
Quantity – too much said
Relation – not relevant
Inference – tea is not (yet) planned?!
Pragmatics: other issues

 (Im)politeness studies – based on the
  related concepts of positive and
  negative ‘face’.
 Conversation Analysis (CA) – the
  structure of talk.
 Cross-cultural pragmatics – how not
  to offend people in other cultures!
Context: Discourse analysis

 ‘Discourse’ – difficult word to define
 In linguistics it includes text and
  context (cf. literary/cultural studies)
 Most interesting for you: CDA (Critical
  Discourse Analysis) – more on this
  later.
 CDA intended as political ‘act’ – not
  purely descriptive.
Context: Stylistics

 Text analysis originally associated
  with literary style but not limited to
  literature now
 Includes cognitive, social and political
  contexts
 More text-based than CDA
 Can use corpus tools
 Based on notion of linguistic choices
Recap: Linguistics

How our examples fit in:
 General Linguistics

 Sociolinguistics e.g. narrative analysis

 Pragmatics: e.g. C.A.

 Discourse analysis e.g. C.D.A.

 Stylistics e.g. cognitive metaphor,
  opposite construction, corpus studies.
NARRATIVE
ANALYSIS
Labov and Waletzky’s six-
part narrative schema
   ABSTRACT
      What is the story about?
   ORIENTATION
      Who, when, where?
   COMPLICATING ACTION
      What happened and then what happened?
   EVALUATION
       So what? How or why is this interesting?
   RESULT OR RESOLUTION
      What finally happened?
   CODA
      End of story; effects of events on narrator
CONVERSATION
ANALYSIS
Conversation Analysis

   ethnomethodological approach to analysing
    spoken language, pioneered by Harvey
    Sacks in the 1970s (see Sacks 1995)
   Uses orthographic transcription with pauses
    and overlaps marked
   In ‘strict’ form is not explanatory and ignores
    all contextual information
   As a tool for other purposes, works with
    contextual information
Conversation Analysis

 Turn-taking norms:
Turns – only one speaker at a time
Speaker has the floor until a
Transition Relevant Place (TRP)
At which point there is speaker-selection
Priorities: current speaker self-selects,
  selects other speaker or other
  speaker self-selects.
Conversation Analysis

 Overlaps may occur at TRPs
 Overlaps at other points are
  interpreted as interruptions
 E.g.

A: I was only goi[ng to say that…
B:               [ you never listen, do
  you?
Conversation Analysis

Adjacency pairs: preferred responses
request - accept
offer - accept
assessment - agree
blame - deny
question - answer
Conversation Analysis

Adjacency pairs: dispreferred responses
request - refuse
offer - refuse
assessment - disagree
blame - admit
question – non-answer or surprise
  answer!
Conversation Analysis

What about apparent non-responses:
A: Fancy going to the cinema?
B: Well, er, I’ve got an essay to write.

Need context to work out inference.
CRITICAL DISCOURSE
ANALYSIS (CDA)
C.D.A.

 Concerned with educating readers to
  be more critical of texts
 Explicitly left-wing viewpoint

 Critical of dominance of media and
  government
 Interested in exposing the hidden
  ideologies in texts by close analysis
C.D.A.

 Ideology – in all texts
 Hidden and repeated ideologies may
  become ‘naturalised’ as common-
  sense.
 Uses concepts from pragmatics and
  functional grammar as tools
 Concerned with context of text
  production and reception.
C.D.A. – Nominalisation

 A verb may become a noun:
construct – construction
pollute – pollution
The factory polluted the stream.
There was pollution in the stream.
 The relationship between the process
  and the agent is lost.
C.D.A. – presuppositions

 What a sentence says – proposition
 What it assumes – presupposition

 What it implies – implicature

 The first is arguable, and explicit, the
  second and third are not.
 Presuppositions may be created by a
  number of means…
C.D.A. – presuppositions

 Definite noun phrases:
e.g. The evil bankers who caused the
  global credit crisis went to Parliament.
e.g. Those incompetent social workers
  should be sacked.
e.g. I hate the aggressive way you
  speak to me.
COGNITIVE
METAPHOR THEORY
      Metaphor

         Talking (and thinking) about X in
          terms of Y, on the basis of some
          similarity between X and Y


But, soft! what light from yonder window breaks?
’Tis the east, and Juliet is the sun!
      (William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet, Act II Scene ii, 2-5)
Conventional metaphors

   …public spending is planned to rise at a
    faster rate than the overall growth of the
    economy. (BBC News 21/05/01)
   Mr Blair was attacked by the Liberal
    Democrats for ‘hypocrisy’ (BBC News 05/07/02)
   Britain will attempt to derail moves led by
    France to build an EU defence force outside
    the command structure of Nato (Irish
    Independent 25/08/03)
Cognitive Metaphor Theory

 Metaphor is a pervasive phenomenon
  in language in general and is not just
  restricted to particular discourse
  types.
 Metaphor is not just a matter of
  language but a matter of thought,
  which is central to our conceptual
  system and the way we make sense
  of ourselves and the world we live in.
Some conventional linguistic
metaphors…
   I feel as if I’m going nowhere.

   You’ll get there, I promise you!

   She overcame a lot of hurdles to gain
    her degree.
…and the conceptual
metaphor behind them



        LIFE IS A JOURNEY

target domain   source domain
        Mapping between domains

                   LIFE IS A JOURNEY

   The person living the life is a traveller.
       I feel as if I’m going nowhere.
   Purposes are destinations.
       You’ll get there I promise you.
   Difficulties are obstacles on the journey.
       She overcame a lot of hurdles to gain her
        degree.
   Cognitive Metaphor Theory
   and Discourse Analysis
Mr Blair was attacked by the Liberal Democrats
for ‘hypocrisy’ (BBC News 05/07/02)



           ARGUMENT IS WAR

         target domain    source domain
ARGUMENT IS WAR

   Commons leader Robin Cook has come
    under fire from John Prescott for attempting
    to use politicians’ families to score political
    points.

   Leaping to Mr Blair’s defence, Mr Prescott
    said he ‘deplored’ members of the media or
    other politicians who brought family
    members into politics in this way.
                                  (BBC News 05/07/02)
   ARGUMENT IS WAR

Many of the things we do in arguing
are partially structured by the concept
of war.
                      (Lakoff and Johnson 1980: 4)



…the militarization of discourse is also
a militarization of thought and practice.
                            (Fairclough 1992: 195)
  WARFARE IS MUSIC

During the cold war, he [Air Marshal
Brian Burridge] knew where he would be
fighting, the weather, the name of his
enemy. He compared his job then to ‘the
second violin of the London Symphony
Orchestra. You had a sheet of music
with clear notation’. Now, he said, ‘it's
jazz, improvising.’
                         (The Guardian 11/03/03)
CRITICAL
STYLISTICS
Critical Stylistics

 More use of technical analysis (than in
  CDA) to expose ideological
  assumptions.
 Focus on what a text is ‘doing’ in
  constructing a version of the world
 A number of basic local textual
  functions:
Critical Stylistics

 Naming
 Describing

 Presenting actions, events etc

 Representing others’ words

 Assuming and implying

 Constructing time and space

 Equating and contrasting
Critical Stylistics - opposition

   Although we recognise conventional
    opposites (hot-cold etc) texts also
    invent them:
        Labour say he’s black
        Tories say he’s British
    The parallel structures and the
    opposition between Labour and Tory
    set us up to interpret black and British
    as opposites.
Critical Stylistics - opposition

 Other ‘triggers’ of contextual
  opposition:
 Negation: X, not Y

e.g. If you are not with us, you are with
  the terrorists. (Bush 2001)

Try it out: It was X, not Y.
Syntactic triggers of
opposition
   Negated opposition - X not Y
   Transitional opposition - Turn X into Y
   Comparative Opposition - More X than Y
   Replacive opposition - X instead of Y
   Concessive opposition - Despite X, Y
   Explicit oppositions - X by contrast with Y
   Parallelism - He liked X. She liked Y
   Contrastives - X, but Y.
Opposition: Example 1

 let the professionals remember that
  the politicians that the public likes best
  are not the aloof ones but the human
  ones.
 standard negated opposition structure
  of not X but Y
 negation tends to produce the
  mutually-exclusive kind of opposite,
  complementarity
Opposition: Example 2

   The precision and lethality of future
    weapons will lead to increased massing of
    effects rather than massing of forces.
   parallel structure (massing of X, massing of
    Y) and explicit opposition trigger, rather
    than
   Resulting opposition: effects and forces
   Ideology – acceptable/unacceptable deaths
CORPUS
LINGUISTICS
Collocation
   ‘You shall know a word by the company it
    keeps.’ (Firth 1957: 11)
   The meaning of a word is not inherent in it
    but comes about in part as a result of the
    meanings of nearby words
   The collocates of a word are the words that
    turn up in close proximity to it
   So, for example, you may find that light and
    hot turn up in close proximity to the word
    red
   If so, light and hot are collocates of red
Semantic prosody

 The habitual collocates of a word
  ‘colour’ it with a particular meaning so
  that it takes on a particular semantic
  prosody
 A semantic prosody is ‘a form of
  meaning which is established through
  the proximity of a consistent series of
  collocates’ (Louw 2000: 57)
What does MONUMENTAL
mean?
 Big, gigantic, grand?
 Statistically significant collocates of
  MONUMENTAL:
       INCOMPETENCE, SCULPTURES,
        SCULPTURE, MASON,
        ARCHITECTURE, REPUTATION,
        DISASTER, ADAM, TASK, ART,
        WORKS, STYLE, FINE, BUILDING,
        FORM
           A concordance of
           MONUMENTAL
European farming policy to save the Barn Owl, it's going to be a monumental
task. Read in studio Police have issued a picture of a man who stole

side, has a practical veto on progress, Sir Patrick's task is a monumental
one. He will try to lead the discussion, this time, instead of acting

redness can be turned into an absolute distance. It is a monumental task,
performed through thousands upon thousands of finicky observations and

Vegas , in the heart of the Nevada Desert. This isn't such a monumental task
but for the arrival of another 150,000 visitors who have exactly

long enough to see through what was in some ways the most monumental task he
had yet set himself? It was to prove a wretchedly difficult period

If you don't know who that audience is then you really do have a monumental
task in front of you. The design of any document should be

the stone wall nearby that adorns the eight-mile ridge between Dent and Ireby,
a monumental task undertaken by rough men long before the coming

would shame a banana republic. In the'80s Scottish football was confronted
with the monumental task of coming to terms with a new financial era.
What relevance does this have
for CDA?
1.   The collocates of a particular word or
     phrase can often indicate an
     accompanying ideology
2.   Deviating from conventional
     collocations can generate semantic
     prosodies that convey particular
     ideologies
WIFE AND…?
   Stephen intends to spend more time with his wife and
    __________.
   Top 10 collocates of wife and
       CHILDREN
       DAUGHTER
       FAMILY
       MOTHER
       CHILD
       SON
       HUSBAND
       KIDS
       DAUGHTERS
       BABY
   Stephen intends to spend more time with his wife and
    caravan.
IN DANGER OF
   ‘He’s in danger of getting a distinction if he’s
    not careful’
   Top 10 statistically significant collocates
       COLLAPSING
       LOSING
       FORGETTING
       DISAPPEARING
       BECOMING
       SLIPPING
       FALLING
       DYING
       COLLAPSE
  ON THE VERGE OF
     To its supporters, intelligent design heralds
      a revolution in science and the movement is
      fast gaining political clout. Not only does it
      have the support of the President of the
      United States, it is on the verge of being
      introduced to science classes across the
      nation. However, its many critics, including
      Professor Richard Dawkins and Sir David
      Attenborough, fear that it cloaks a religious
      motive – to replace science with god.

(http://www.bbc.co.uk/sn/tvradio/programmes/horizon/war.shtml)
  ON THE VERGE OF
     To its supporters, intelligent design heralds
      a revolution in science and the movement is
      fast gaining political clout. Not only does it
      have the support of the President of the
      United States, it is on the verge of being
      introduced to science classes across the
      nation. However, its many critics, including
      Professor Richard Dawkins and Sir David
      Attenborough, fear that it cloaks a religious
      motive – to replace science with god.

(http://www.bbc.co.uk/sn/tvradio/programmes/horizon/war.shtml)
ON THE VERGE OF

   Statistically significant collocates:
       EXTINCTION
       BANKRUPTCY
       COLLAPSE
       TEARS
       BREAKDOWN
       DEATH
       WAR
       COUNTRY
   Strong negative semantic prosody
   Associated with failure and finality

				
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