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КАТЕГОРИИ:






THE NOTION OF DISCOURSE AND GENRES.




The term discourse has acquired a wide popularity in many humanitarian disciplines including linguistics. Having a wide range of usages, it tends to replace not only the term text, but also the term FS that is a purely linguistic one. The words text and discourse are often treated by linguists as synonyms. text is regarded as an abstract unit belonging to language-as-a-system, and discourse as current speech generated and perceived in its oral or written form, as language-in-action. The relationship of the notion of functional style and that of discourse are well traced through the notion of text. The thing is that both the terms quite often refer to the corpus of written and oral texts circulating in this or that sphere of communication. At the same time, the notion of discourse seems to be wider than that of FS as the former implies many more extra-linguistic characteristics of the text (e.g. ideological, social, cultural) than the latter one. Quite a number of scholars think that, being realized in texts, discourse is neither a text nor a FS: these terms are similar but not synonymous. It is generally accepted that each FS is represented by a certain variety of genres that are typical solely of it. To give a clear description of the FS it is necessary to study thoroughly many texts of the same genre as well as many texts belonging to different genres of a particular style. Today's picture of functional styles is rather schematic as the result of a durable tendency to extrapolate the ling-c data derived from randomly selected texts to the functional style as an abstract language whole. In the corresponding literature one can come across two diametrically opposite estimations of the term FS. Thus, I.V. Arnold considers it to be very accurate, emphasizing the fact that the specificity of each style is predetermined by the specificity of functions carried out by language in a particular sphere of communication (Arnold, 2002). On the contrary, V.I. Karasik qualifies the term FS as "the least successful" in linguistics. Introducing the criterion of genre canon of discourse, he uses the nomination format of discourse instead of FS. The canon of genre is understood as a stereotype of generating and comprehending speech in recurrent specific circumstances. V.I. Karasik believes that for penetrating into the essence of FS the term under consideration is of the utmost importance. In such a case discourse turns out to be a prototype that correlates with cognitive structures representing in people's mind things, events and qualities. If we take all these facts into account, the format of discourse (in traditional terminology, FS!) is "a variety of discourse singled out on the basis of the communicative distance, degree of self-expression, existing social institutions, register of communication, and language cliches." V.I. Karasik thinks that it is important to add to the list of genre-and-style categories of discourse the category of projectivity, explaining that any discourse is built in accordance with certain canons related to the aims and circumstances of communication. The basis for typification of discourse is the degree of its canonization. In this sense the basic discourse and the projective discourse are opposed, to a certain extent their relationship reflects the relationship between direct and indirect, or implicit, speech acts. On the analogy with implicit speech acts (e.g. flatter, or something), one can single out projective types of discourse. It is especially true in connection with the discourse of mass media. Detailed research into the modern political discourse proves that the latter is mainly realized through its reflection in the mass media. We cannot but share the opinion of V.I. Karasik that any form of communication is manifold and parti-coloured (Karasik, 2002). Eliminating a personal component within the frame of institutional discourse is unreasonable and impracticable; moreover, it is impossible because personal relationships constitute one of the basic features of the process of communication. It is necessary to stress that identifying in speech interaction certain types of communication, different types of discourse and, on their ground, singling out the canonical types of discourse are abstract procedures which are mainly employed for scholarly reasons. The same can be referred to another abstraction traditionally, in the Russian literature on the issue, called junctional style

 

 








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