Language personalities in british parliamentary discourse

Analysis of linguistic personalities of participants in parliamentary debates on the basis of description of communicative peculiarities of the construction and deployment of their discourse. Its four main types: knowledge, desire, duty and opportunity.

Рубрика Иностранные языки и языкознание
Вид статья
Язык английский
Дата добавления 30.12.2017
Размер файла 21,6 K

Отправить свою хорошую работу в базу знаний просто. Используйте форму, расположенную ниже

Студенты, аспиранты, молодые ученые, использующие базу знаний в своей учебе и работе, будут вам очень благодарны.

Размещено на

Размещено на

communicative linguistic discourse parliamentary

Language personalities in british parliamentary discourse

P. Zernetsky

G. Riabokon

The article presents the analysis of language personalities of main participants of British parliamentary discourse (Speaker, Member of Parliament, and Member of Government) in the Houses of Commons of British Parliament. The article gives a developed classification of language personalities on the basis of their discoursive features, i. e. the prevalence of one or several main forces of speech influence: argumentative, motivative, regulative, or accumulative. The authors define basic sigmatic, semantic, pragmatic, and syntactic factors that determine the type of language personality.

Keywords: discourse, speech activity, parliamentary debates, language personality, pragmatics, semantics, sigmatics, syntactics.

Размещено на

Communicative linguistics presents a vast field of research which enables to make an insight into the relation and interconnection of linguistic and extralinguistic features that influence and define the number of lingual means people activate in their speech activity. The collection, percentage, and combination of these activated expressive means determine the type of language personality which acts as the most bright and vivid representation of a person in society. The study of the way people express their ideas, intentions, and opinions presents a particular interest for the sphere of political discourse which is mostly exerted verbally through various speech acts and different types of communicative activity. Limiting the sphere of political discourse to parliamentary one outlines two main ways of speech activity pertinent for this institution, such as presenting speeches in the parliament and conducting debates. All-round study of speech peculiarities of political leaders from the point of view of their functional linguistic features which include semantic relations between propositions, development of discourse, and pragmatic side which is expressed through speech acts, speech moves, speech interactions, and finally, speech events sheds light of the general organization of political discourse and the peculiarities of its functioning in the Houses of Commons of British Parliament.

Being an extremely complex notion, language personality consists of numerous factors of anthropological, cognitive, and psychological nature which in their combination create this unique phenomenon. Anthropological features-i. e. belonging to a certain social class, community, or social back ground-appear to be the basic in the considerations of cultural, psychological, and genre peculiarities of speech, and when interacting with cognitive features determined by the perception of reality, thinking, behavior peculiarities of a certain person, and being enhanced by four main forces of speech activity altogether create an extremely complex combination which determines the position of a language personality in general sphere of discourse.

In our research, we shall rely on the classification by P. Zernetsky which was developed in accordance with his communicative-functional theory of discourse [1; 2, p. 20]. The discourse has the following semiotic aspects through which it relates to the objects of speech/non-speech activity: sigmatic, semantic, pragmatic, and syntactic.

Direction of speech activity

Force of speech influence

Type of discourse the way of presenting arguments:

Negation of speech influence

Sigmatic vector


discourse of desire

if you act in this way, you will get this and that

questioning the sincerity of in-tention and the truth of presented facts

Semantic vector


discourse of knowledge

the situation is like this, so it is necessary

to act in this way

disagreement with presented argu-ments

Pragmatic vector


discourse of obligation (regulation) you must do this and that

refusal to accept imposed obliga-tion

Syntactic vector


discourse of accumulation

look at this, what do you think of this, how do you think you should act?

impossibility to negate

The space of communicative interaction within the discourse includes four main dimensions, viz. sigmatic, semantic, pragmatic, and syntactic. The sigmatic aspect shows the relation between the discourse-cohesive and coherent sequence of lingual signs (segments)-and the objects of material and non-material world (denotata) which it refers to; semantic aspect depicts the connection of denotatum with its meaning; pragmatic - creation and usage of the discourse by people in the process of their interaction; and syntactic aspect describes the connection of the discourse elements between themselves in various units of speech activity (speech acts, moves, interactions, and, finally, speech events). These four vectors which signify the intention of speech activity are associated with four main forces of speech influence: moti- vative, argumentative, regulative, and accumulative, as shown in the Table below.The mentioned four main forces of speech activity can be viewed as corresponding coordinates which show the direction of speech influence on the addressee. Sigmatic coordinate, in this case, conveys personal senses of an addressor and correlation of these senses to objective reality on the basis of his/her experience of cognition activities. Generally, such senses have the form of opinion and express individual's considerations of existing objects, events, and processes. Semantic coordinate depicts the sphere of content interpretation of a linguistic sign; it reflects the relation of the sign to its mental equivalent and carries in itself the entity of speaker's knowledge about the world which are expressed through the system of concepts, categories, etc. conventionally established in society. Pragmatic coordinate connects the units of speech activity, their development and use in the flow of discourse, with the forecasted action of an addressee, in other words, it correlates the influence of a text on linguistic / non-linguistic behavior of a recipient of the text. Syntactic coordinate shows the total accumulative linguistic impact on the addressee by the units of speech activity presented in sequence within the boundaries of a single discourse [3, p. 127].

The four semiotic coordinates are associated with the corresponding forces of speech impact; thus, sigmatic coordinate represents for force of motivation, semantic - argumentation, pragmatic coordinate performs regulative function, and syntactic - accumulative. One or more forces of speech impact can prevail in different discourses; those with one dominating force are called elementary, however, it is quite a rare case as typical discourses consist of much greater variety of speech forces which will be briefly overviewed below.

Force of argumentation creates the discourse of knowledge (argumentation) which orients the recipient to corresponding speech/non-speech actions in response, as it contains big amount of semantic information which intends to influence or change the range of existing conceptual beliefs of the addressee, and has little or no pragmatic information. This information influence, apart from realization of immediate goals of communication, mainly aims at producing much longer term effects, and is expected to modify further mental and material behavior of a person. The discourse of such type develops according to deductive and inductive ways of reasoning and is based on the principle of indirect influence on the addressee by means of presenting solid facts but not direct regulations of his/her behavior, which provokes the recipient to visualize the effects of taken actions and independently arrive at certain conclusions or make particular inferences. Therefore, this discourse is supposed to create in the mind of a recipient a strong conviction in the rightness of the presented arguments as it provides the object of speech influence with freedom of choice of further steps and guarantees the consciousness of the addressee's decision. However, the speech influence of this kind can be negated if the person who it is intended for disagrees with the presented arguments and considers them to be false or untrue. Although it is impossible to negate the communicative intentions of the speaker as they are not explicitly mentioned, in this case the recipient will fail to follow the path of coordinates suggested by the author of the discourse.

Force of motivation lies on the basis of the discourse of desire (motivation) which sincerely/insincerely presents facts, events, and phenomena of the outer world related to the personality of the addressee. Abundant sigmatic information, really or hypothetically related to the addressee, and scarce (or absent) explicit pragmatic (regulative) information provokes the recipient to determine his/her further speech/non-speech behavior by the desire to repeat or avoid certain previous life experience. In this discourse, the addressor develops communication

through presenting motives to the addressee so as to form strong desires which are forecasted by the author of the discourse. The communicative intention of the speaker, in this case, cannot be negated, though his/her sincerity and the truth of presented facts (events, phenomena) can be questioned.

In pragmalinguistics, argumentative and motiva- tive forces intrinsic to the discourses of knowledge and desire respectively constitute a vast pool of indirect (transpositional) speech acts, for example, orders or requests presented by declarative sentences - in terms of pragmalinguistics, injunctives and requestives expressed by constatives (according to the classification of J. R. Searle) [6, 7].

The most pragmatically oriented remains to be the discourse of obligation (regulation), whose meaningful side is rather scarce, due to the deficiency or absence of argumentative and motivative forces. As development of this type of discourse requires presenting little semantic and sigmatic information from its author, the responsive activity of the addressee is also limited only to performing or refusal to perform the imposed (demanded/required) speech/non-speech actions.

Discourse of possibility (accumulation) is based on accumulative force which is mainly manifested in quesitive speech acts and directed at receiving from the addressee any kind of sigmatic, semantic, or pragmatic information. The author of discourse, in this case, accumulates his/her speech activity in order to determine the possibility/impossibility of the addressee to perform certain speech/non-speech activities required by the addressor. Accumulative force does not imply its reverse usage, due to the impossibility to respond to questions with the same kind of speech acts, especially in the discourse of parliamentary debates, whose etiquette rules are firmly established and speech activity in this institution is strictly regulated [5, p. 39].

According to the complexity of communicative space, the discourses can be classified as elementary and combined, the latter involving the use of two, three, or four forces of speech influence. Dominance of one or several forces in different discourses approximates their total number to fifty four.

Objective classification of communicative-functional types of discourse allows to suggest a scientifically backgrounded approach to determining the typological characteristics of language personalities. As people in their speech activity operate a preferred number of discourses (out of 54 available) in accordance with their psychological types or established in society roles, this, to a great extend, determines the genre peculiarities typical for speech activity of main participants of British parliamentary discourse.

The following examples are supposed to show the conventional distribution of discourse types among the participants of the debates. Extract (1) illustrates the hearings on Driving Instructors Bill (which in terms of pragmalinguistics can be classified as speech event) in the Houses of Commons on 4 March 2016 presented by Member of Parliament, representative of Conservative Party Sir David Amess. Each participant of this speech event makes corresponding speech moves (SM) in order to achieve communicative goals:

Sir David Amess (Southend West) (Con): I beg to move, that the Bill be now read the Third time. I wish to thank hon. Members for their support for this measure. Indeed, in Committee such was the enthusiasm of colleagues that some who turned up were not even members of the Committee. I am very grateful to all those who did turn up. [SMI] /.../

Mr David Nuttall (Bury North) (Con): Is my hon. Friend able to give some idea of how many driving instructors will be able to benefit from the measures in the Bill?[SM2]

Sir David Amess: I am happy to write to my hon. Friend to give him the precise details. Suffice to say, it is a considerable number [SM3].

My constituent felt that this was a nationwide problem and asked if it would be possible to make the process of requalifying simpler for instructors who had, for whatever reason, been forced to take a break from instructing. [SM4] /.../1 hope the Bill will go some way towards addressing my constituent 's concerns and assist many experienced instructors, who have much to give back to the profession, to return to the industry. [SM5]/.../

Mrs Sheryll Murray (South East Cornwall) (Con): Can my hon. Friend confirm that the Bill will not do anything to weaken the rigorous standards we have for driving instructors?[SM6]

Sir David Amess: I can absolutely confirm that to my hon. Friend. Indeed, I was challenged on that point in Committee. It will not diminish in any sense the very high standards we rightly require for those who instruct people how to drive [SM7].

As can be seen from the example, SM1 expresses regulative force and pursuits the communication- al intention to present the Bill for hearing by using performative speech act I beg to move, that the Bill be now read the Third time. Other speech acts of this move are also performatives: I wish to thank and am very grateful and their usage is determined by the rules of Parliamentary etiquette. Speech move exerts accumulative force and intends to obtain necessary information from the addressee. SM3 includes two forces of speech influence: accumulative because it gives the answer to the question, and argumentative as it refers to the sphere of speaker's knowledge. The speaker goes on to develop discourse of desire (SM4, SM5) by presenting facts that seem be related to both the participants of the debates and to his constituency so as to motivate them to approve the Bill. The question of another Member of Parliament (MP) Mrs Sheryll Murray (SM6) belongs to combined regulative-accumulative discourse, the latter because it is expressed by the quesitive, but the formulation of the question Can my hon. Friend confirm is a requestive which obliges the speaker to give the answer. The last SM7 in the presented speech interaction shows argumentative discourse as here the speaker proves by presenting corresponding facts the merits and benefits of the Bill.

Example (2) presents the extract of discourse interaction between MP Mr Philip Hollobone (Conservative party) and The Minister for State, Department for Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs George Eustice:

Mr Philip Hollobone (Kettering) (Con):

What plans she has to repatriate control over British fishing waters and policy in the event of the UK leaving the EU [SMI].

The Minister of State, Departmentfor Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (George Eustice):

/.../ As my hon. Friend knows, the formal Government position is that the UK should remain a member of the European Union. However, should there be a decision to leave in the forthcoming referendum, there are well-established international conventions that govern territorial scope and the way nation states manage fisheries [SM2].

Mr Hollobone: The EU's common fisheries policy has been a disaster for both the British fishing industry and our marine environment. Overfishing by heavily subsidised Spanish trawlers has seen North sea cod stocks fall by 80 % and the number of fishermen halved, and Britain is constantly outvoted on matters affecting our traditional British fishing grounds by EU member states that have no coastlines themselves [SM3]. Will the Minister draw up plans to repatriate our fishing grounds as soon as possible?[SM4]

George Eustice: As I said, the formal Government position is that we should remain a member of the EU, but my hon. Friend knows that Ministers have been given the discretion to take an alternative view if they want. We have made progress in reforming the common fisheries policy [SM5].

As can be seen from the example, discourse of accumulation prevails in the speech of MP (SM1, SM4), and SM3 exerts motivatively-argumentative force; however, the Member of Government mostly uses the force of argumentation, thus creating the discourse of knowledge (SM 2, SM5) which is evidently and repeatedly indicated in the expressions that refer to their common sphere of knowledge: As my hon. Friend knows, As I said, but my hon. Friend knows. According to examples (1) and (2), it can be concluded that the discourse of Members of Parliament is usually combined and includes all four main forces of speech influence; quite tentatively it can be proportionally distributed into accumulative - motivative - argumentative - regulative; the speech moves typically contain more than one speech act with prevailing number of performatives, request- ives, and constatives.

Example (3) shows a similar discourse trend: in her speech, MP Victoria Prentice uses indirect speech act, transpositional performative (SM1) and proceeds with a quesitive also expressed indirectly as it begins with a requstive construction May I drill down a little and ask her, which makes it sound much milder. Possibly, this can be attributed to the fact that both speakers in this speech interaction are women and they exercise their personal discourse features [4]. Discourse of Member of Government follows typical features intrinsic to this social role and uses argumentative force of speech influence (SM 3 and 4) which is also supplied by some amount of personal speech peculiarity I am delighted to be able to let the House know.

Victoria Prentice (Bunbary) (Con): May I say how nice it is to see my hon. Friend in her place?[SMI]May I drill down a little and ask her what steps she can take to ensure that the Ministry of Defence's largest customers use small firms to deliver their contracts?[SM2]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Defence (Harriet Baldwin): My hon. Friend is absolutely right that it is essential that we work on that not only in our direct defence procurement process but with our supply chains.[SM3] I am delighted to be able to let the House know that the supply chain advocate network and the supply chain champions, which my predecessor announced, are well under way, and that last year the Ministry of Defence was able to have direct spend with almost 5,000 different companies. [SM4]

Example (4) illustrates the discourse of the other main participant of British Parliamentary debates, the Speaker, whose social and discourse role of supervising and regulating the process of debates restricts his speech activity mostly to exercising the discourse of regulation, which is manifested in injunctives: Order!, he must now bring his remarks to conclusion, and Then we will have had our dose for today. The latter is expressed in indirect way because in this case declarative sentence bears the illocutionary force of a directive.

(4) Mr Speaker: Order. The hon. Gentleman is an immensely experienced parliamentarian, /.../, but let me gently say to him that he has exceeded his time. It is his first time at the Box, and I do not wish to cut him off, but he must now bring his remarks to a conclusion, maybe with a couple of pithy questions. Then we will have had our dose for today.

Thus, the fixed genre role of the Speaker predominantly consists of elementary (accumulative) or mixed (argumentative-accumulative or motivative- accumulative) discourses with obligatory presence of accumulative force at the end of his speech move.

Therefore, on the basis of domination of a certain force of speech influence, it seems possible to determine the discourse of different types of language personality, which apart from these basic features, is also greatly influenced by the factors of anthropological, cognitive, psychological, and gender nature. In complex discourses, the sub-type is defined according to the priority or frequency of various forces of speech influence. The analysis of discourse of the debates in the Houses of Commons of British Parliament enabled to make conclusions about typical discourse and, consequently, types of language personality of main participant of the debates, i. e. Speaker, Member of Parliament, and Member of Government. Generally, speech activity of a Member of Parliament is featured by prevalence of motivative and accumulative forces; the discourse of Members of Government abounds in argumentative force; and the discourse of regulation is the most typical for the genre role of a Speaker.

Further research in the intrinsic characteristics of British Parliamentary discourse can provide numerous linguistic data about functioning of this type of discourse in the general space of human interaction.


Зернецкий П. В. Динамические аспекты семантики и прагматики дискурса / П. Зернецкий // Личностные аспекты языкового общения. - Калинин, 1989. - C. 75-81.

Зернецкий П. В. Речевое общение на английском языке: Коммуникативно-функциональный анализ дискурса / П. Зернецкий. - К., 1992. - 142 c.

Зернецький П. Типологія особистості: міжкультурні, психологічні та мовленнєві аспекти / П. Зернецький // Соціальна психологія. - 2004. - № 3. - С. 119-131.

Зернецький П. В. Типові та особистісні риси дискурс-портрету британських політичних діячів / П. Зернецький, Г Ря- боконь // Маґістеріум НаУКМА. - Вип. 37 : Мовознавчі студії. - 2009. - С. 37^1.

Зернецький П. В. Аксіологія регулятивів мовлення в дискурсі британського та українського парламентів / П. Зер- нецький, Г. Рябоконь // Маґістеріум НаУКМА. - Вип. 50 : Мовознавчі студії. - 2013. - С. 38-42.

Searle J. R. Speech Acts / J. Searle. - Cambridge : Cambridge University Press, 1969. - 214 p.

Searle J. Indirect Speech Acts / J. Searle, P Cole, J. L. Morgan // Syntax and Semantics, Volume 3. - Speech Acts : Academic Press, 1975. - P 59-82.

Размещено на

Подобные документы

  • Theories of discourse as theories of gender: discourse analysis in language and gender studies. Belles-letters style as one of the functional styles of literary standard of the English language. Gender discourse in the tales of the three languages.

    дипломная работа [3,6 M], добавлен 05.12.2013

  • The ways of expressing evaluation by means of language in English modern press and the role of repetitions in the texts of modern newspaper discourse. Characteristics of the newspaper discourse as the expressive means of influence to mass reader.

    курсовая работа [31,5 K], добавлен 17.01.2014

  • Act of gratitude and its peculiarities. Specific features of dialogic discourse. The concept and features of dialogic speech, its rationale and linguistic meaning. The specifics and the role of the study and reflection of gratitude in dialogue speech.

    дипломная работа [66,6 K], добавлен 06.12.2015

  • The study of political discourse. Political discourse: representation and transformation. Syntax, translation, and truth. Modern rhetorical studies. Aspects of a communication science, historical building, the social theory and political science.

    лекция [35,9 K], добавлен 18.05.2011

  • The nature of speaking and oral interaction. Communicative approach and language teaching. Types of communicative exercises and approaches. Games as a way at breaking the routine of classroom drill. Some Practical Techniques for Language Teaching.

    дипломная работа [72,3 K], добавлен 21.07.2009

  • Study of lexical and morphological differences of the women’s and men’s language; grammatical forms of verbs according to the sex of the speaker. Peculiarities of women’s and men’s language and the linguistic behavior of men and women across languages.

    дипломная работа [73,0 K], добавлен 28.01.2014

  • Definitiоn and features, linguistic peculiarities оf wоrd-fоrmatiоn. Types оf wоrd-fоrmatiоn: prоductive and secоndary ways. Analysis оf the bооk "Bridget Jоnes’ Diary" by Helen Fielding оn the subject оf wоrd-fоrmatiоn, results оf the analysis.

    курсовая работа [106,8 K], добавлен 17.03.2014

  • A critical knowledge of the English language is a subject worthy of the attention of all who have the genius and the opportunity to attain it. A settled orthography is of great importance, as a means of preserving the etymology and identity of words.

    курсовая работа [28,1 K], добавлен 14.02.2010

  • A short history of the origins and development of english as a global language. Peculiarities of american and british english and their differences. Social and cultural, american and british english lexical differences, grammatical peculiarities.

    дипломная работа [271,5 K], добавлен 10.03.2012

  • The origins of communicative language teaching. Children’s ability to grasp meaning, creative use of limited language resources, capacity for indirect learning, instinct for play and fun. The role of imagination. The instinct for interaction and talk.

    реферат [16,9 K], добавлен 29.12.2011

Работы в архивах красиво оформлены согласно требованиям ВУЗов и содержат рисунки, диаграммы, формулы и т.д.
PPT, PPTX и PDF-файлы представлены только в архивах.
Рекомендуем скачать работу.