LINGUIST List 14.1605

Fri Jun 6 2003

Review: Cog Sci/Pragmatics: Graumann & Kallmeyer (2002)

Editor for this issue: Naomi Ogasawara <>

What follows is a review or discussion note contributed to our Book Discussion Forum. We expect discussions to be informal and interactive; and the author of the book discussed is cordially invited to join in. If you are interested in leading a book discussion, look for books announced on LINGUIST as "available for review." Then contact Simin Karimi at


  1. Chaoqun Xie, Perspective and Perspectivation in Discourse

Message 1: Perspective and Perspectivation in Discourse

Date: Thu, 05 Jun 2003 21:37:55 +0000
From: Chaoqun Xie <>
Subject: Perspective and Perspectivation in Discourse

Graumann, Carl F. and Werner Kallmeyer (2002) Perspective and
Perspectivation in Discourse. John Benjamins Publishing Company, Human
Cognitive Processing 9.

Announced at

Chaoqun Xie, Fujian Normal University, China


Perspective, as an important issue of multidisciplinary or
transdisciplinary nature, has found favor with students of different
academic backgrounds, from philosophers to linguists, from
psychologists to sociologists and theorists of literature. Some of
current much-researched topics include the structure and functions of
perspectivity, perspectivation in discourse and interaction,
differences and divergences of perspectivity and perspectivity in
reconstructive genres. The present collection of papers divided into
four parts is coiled around these very topics. In what follows I will
first describe the major ideas of each chapter and then make some
comments and raise some questions.


In ''Perspective and perspectivation in discourse: An introduction''
(pp. 1-11), the two editors, Carl F. Graumann and Werner Kallmeyer
begin their presentation with the three notions of perspective,
viewpoint and aspects, touching upon various approaches to the study
of perspectivity in interaction, from social to psychological, from
linguistic to behavioral. This introduction ends with a brief
introduction to the following 18 chapters broken down into four parts
corresponding to four major areas of interest in present-day
scholarship concerning perspectivity.

Part A, ''Perspectivity: Structure and functions'', contains five
contributions. In ''Knowledge and perspective setting: What possible
consequences on conversation do we have to expect?''
(pp. 15-23), Klaus Foppa argues for viewing perspecitivty as
the necessary result of a subject's positioning. More importantly, the
author differentiates semantic knowledge and performative knowledge,
presenting some instances of functional equivalence and divergence of
knowledge and perspectivity in dialogues.

The topic of implictness of perspectivity is the focus of the
following two contributions. In ''Explicit and implicit
perspectivity'' (pp. 25-39), Carl Friedrich Graumann speaks from many
years of empirical research on the subject matter. Viewing
perspectivity as a multidisciplinary issue, Graumann examines mono-
versus multi- perspectivity, arguing that implicit perspectivity is
primary and that explicit perspectivity can only be realized under
certain specific circumstances. In this chapter, the author also deals
with egological versus intersubjective perspectivity, conditions and
forms of perspectives, and implicitness of perspective in biased talk
and behavior.

In ''Perspectives, implicitness and recontextualization'' (pp. 41-57),
Per Linell echoes Graumann's view that perspective depends on implicit
instead of explicit features of the text. After presenting fifteen
properties of perspectives (dynamic, relational, discourse-based,
grounded in discourse, among other things), Linell dwells into the
centrality of implicitness and reperspectivations in intertextual
chains, concluding with the warning remark that ''Nor everything
should be defined as a perspective'' (p. 53).

The next two chapters focus on the linguistic aspects of perspective.
In ''Quaestio and L-perspectivation'' (pp. 59-88), Christiane von
Stutterheim and Wofgang Klein begin with lexical choice, structural
choice and contextual choice, noting their interdependence and the
principles of perspective-taking. Next, the authors distinguish four
levels of language production as follows: intake, uptake, forming a
discourse representation and constructing a linguistic form (cf. pp.
64-69). This chapter also explores potential principles constraining
the L-perspectivation on lexical, structural and contextual choices,
examining how they might operate in actual text production with
reference to the case of subordination.

The next chapter is devoted to ''Grammaticalization of perspectivity''
(pp. 89-109) contributed by Gisela Zifonun focuses on prepositional
perspectivity, aiming to test the hypothesis that converses can be
regarded as cases of grammaticalization of perspectivity. After
touching upon four types of converses, the author elaborates on
problems and positions of prepositional identity and perspectivity,
arguing among other things that semantic concept of centrality should
be kept apart from the pragmatic concept of centrality.

Part B, ''Perspectivation in discourse and interaction'', containing
five chapters, more or less build on the theoretical paradigm of
conversational rhetoric. In ''Verbal practices of perspective
grounding'' (pp. 111-141), Werner Kallmeyer scrutinizes how
participants display their perspectivation in verbal
interaction. Specifically, the author addresses perspective grounding
in personal experience, in social categorization, and in principles of
acting, with special reference to German corpus data.

In ''Perspectivity and professional role in verbal interaction'' (pp.
143-165), Inken Keim, recurring to German data collected from a single
ethnographic interview and drawing upon the theoretical framework of a
rhetorical conversation analysis, attempts to account for how a
speaker's perspectivity in professional occasions can tell us about
his or her concept as regards his or her professional role.

In '''You can say you to yourself': Establishing perspectives with
personal pronouns'' (pp. 167-180), Ursula Bredel draws
attention to some of the neglected uses of the German self-referential
'du' (meaning 'you' in English) as follows: the 'du' of the inner
dialogue, the intrapolyphonic 'du', the interpolyphonic 'du' and the
iconic 'du'.

In ''Strategic uses of self and other perspectives'' (pp. 181-200),
Alissa Shethar focuses on eastern perspectives after German
unification, trying to see how other perspectives are made use of in
making critical complaints. This chapter also discusses two tactics of
perspectival splitting, viz. negative equations and inversions. Note
that the reference ''Bourdieu 1994: 45-46'' (p. 197) should be
''Bourdieu 1991: 45-46''.

In ''Irony, quotation, and other forms of staged intertextuality:
Double or contrastive perspectivation in conversation'' (pp. 201-229),
Helga Kotthoff investigates irony as a case of contrastive double
perspectivation. In the section of ''Quotation and polyphony'', the
author tackles quotations introduced formally and quotations that are
not announced. Next much ink is devoted to an exploration of
conversational irony in context, where the author introduces the
notions of perspectivity and evaluation into the explanation of the
divergence integrated in irony. The discussion then moves on to a
distinction between mention-irony and pseudo-quotation, processing the
said and the meant and prototypes of staged intertextuality.

There are four chapters in Part C under the heading of
''Perspectivity: Differences and divergences''. In ''Social
discrimination and aggression: A matter of perspective-specific
divergence?'' (pp. 233-250), Sabine Otten and Am�lie Mummendey
demonstrates that accounting for aggressive interaction in terms of
social discrimination is far from enough. Viewing aggression as
social interaction, the author places much emphasis upon social
discrimination and its perspective-specific evaluation after
presenting a detailed discussion of Mummendey's perspective-specific
analysis of aggressive behavior.

In ''Perspective-related differences in interpretations of injustice
in close relationships'' (pp. 251-262), Gerold Mikula reports on an
empirical study of perspective-related interpretative and evaluative
differences between actors and recipients when it comes to
interpreting negative behaviors and incidents in close personal

In ''Perspectivity in dialogues involving people with cerebral palsy''
(pp. 263-285), Ivana Markov� and Sarah Collins begin the
reciprocity of perspectives as common sense, focusing on the notion of
typicality and its disturbances and outlining dialogical interactions
involving people with cerebral palsy, ''a disorder of movement and
posture caused by trauma to the brain at birth'' (p. 266). After this,
the presentation moves on to report on a corpus-based study examining
specific difficulties with perspective setting and perspective taking
experienced by persons with impaired speech and by persons without
unimpaired speech respectively. According to the authors, the impaired
speaker exploits innovations and non-typical strategies while the
unimpaired speaker resorts to the strategy of typicality.

In ''Perspective-dependent attributions in court: An investigation
into closing speeches with the Linguistic Category Model''
(pp. 287-303), Jeannette Schmid first introduces the Linguistic
Category Model, touching upon its attribution of dispositionality and
of causality. The rest of the paper is devoted to implicit
attributions in the legal context, arguing for the model's uniqueness
in the investigation of taking perspective.

Finally, Part D, ''Perspectivity in reconstructive genres'', which
like Part C also contains four papers, shifts the focus to the nature
of narrative perspectivity. In ''Point of view, narrative mode and the
constitution of narrative texts'' (pp. 307-321), Peter Canisius
illustrates the grammatical features of texts as evidenced in two
modes of narrative as follows: the narrator-mode and the
reflector-mode. Some of the topics covered by the author include
give-new-contract and narrator-mode, point of view and reflector-mode,
logophoricity and perspective and, perspectival ambiguity.

In ''Global and local aspects of perspectivity'' (pp. 323-346), Uta M.
Quasthoff tackles two main questions, one, the correlations between
locality and globality and two, the process of verbal perspectivation.
By means of institutional data, the author attempts to reconstruct
past events and processes within the framework of perspectivity as a
globe phenomenon. The reference ''Attardo 1995'' (p. 226) should be
''Attardo (1994)''.

In ''Perspectivity in reported dialogues: The contextualization of
evaluative stances in reconstructing speech'' (pp. 347-374), Susanne
G�nthner, following Bauman and Briggs (1990), argues that the
process of reporting speech is basically one of de-contextualization
and re- contextualization, coupled with some kinds of modifications,
functionalizations and transformations that are determined by what
kind of goal the speaker has in mind and what requirements the new
conversational context might have. The author explores varieties of
strategies (code-switching, prosodic features, voice quality, the use
of non-lexical syllables) speakers make use of as contextualization
cues in their recount of past utterances.

Last but not least, in ''The role of the narrative perspective in the
cognitive-cultural context'' (pp. 375-387), J�nos
L�szl� and Tibor P�lya report on the results of
four experiments with the aim of ascertaining whether perspectives
(internal and external) have an effect on the mental and cognitive
processing of text segments. Although the authors call for
differentiating internal and external perspectives in processing
texts, they are not, as they themselves acknowledge, in a position to
provide supporting evidence to show that ''internal and external
perspectives influence cognitive processing differently'' (p. 385).


In sum: the editors, who are among the pace-setters in the study of
perspectivity as a global concept and whose pervasive influences can
find expression in this present volume, should be credited with the
success of bringing together eighteen cutting-edge studies pertaining
to the subject matter of perspective. All these contributions are
oriented to a single goal: to deepen our understanding of the very
notion of perspective. And they made it. This is a remarkable
collection of papers devoted to the dynamics, multidisplinarity or
even transdisciplinarity of perspectivity in human interaction and is
of great value to many people.

Some of my reservations and questions are as follows. For the editors,
these two concepts, viz. ''perspectivation'' and ''perspectivization''
mean the same and the only difference between them is that the former
is more commonly used than the latter that is only ''occasionally''
employed (p. 4). However, a close look into some other publications
concerned (e. g., Taylor, 1989; Ungerer and Schmid, 1996; Nuyts, 2001)
reveals the opposite is more often than not the case, that is, the
term ''perspectivization'' is often rather than occasionally used (by
cognitive linguists in particular)! Dirven et al. (1983) might be
among the first to adopt the term ''perspectivization''.

Given the fact that many of the contributions of this volume recur to
German as their object of study, one may wonder if a cross-linguistic
comparison would help to shed more light upon the nature of
perspectivity. Is the use of perspective necessarily strategic as
argued by Shethar in this volume? Is the at once influential and
controversial relevance theory (Sperber and Wilson, 1995; cf. He and
Ran, 1998) able to add some explanatory force to the account of
perspective and perspectivation in communication? Is it possible for
one to have perspective-setting and perspective-taking at the same
time, or is there any automatic interaction between them and how is it
possible, if any? By the way, I wonder if it is really or always the
case, as argued by Foppa, that ''Knowledge, at least in its strict,
narrow sense is not negotiable'' (p. 17).

For me, perspective is at once a complex and lucrative topic: complex
in the sense that perspective is basically a matter of psychology and
cognition, the exploration of which is extremely laborious; lucrative
(metaphorically speaking here) in the sense that a better
understanding of the very notion of perspective would surely help to
clarify some, if not many, of our thoughts about some phenomena in
human interaction. For instance, it has long been assumed that the
tense in the complement clause largely depends on its relation to the
head clause. Recently, however, Sakita (2002) empirically demonstrates
that this is rarely the case in spoken English, where ''tenses of
reported verbs are naturally determined by the reporter's
PERSPECTIVE'' (Sakita, 2002: 160; emphasis added)! More recently,
Hanna et al. (2003) show with experimental evidence that perspective
does ''have immediate effects on reference resolution''.


Bauman, Richard and Briggs, Charles L., 1990. Poetics and performances
as critical perspectives on language and social life. Annual Review of
Anthropology 19, 59-88.

Dirven, Ren�, Goossens, Louis, Putseys, Yvan and Vorlat, Emma,
1983. The Scene of Linguistic Action and its Perspectivization by
SPEAK, TALK, SAY and TELL. John Benjamins, Amsterdam.

Hanna, Joy E., Tanenhaus, Michael K. and Trueswell, John C., 2003. The
effects of common ground and perspective on domains of referential
interpretation. Journal of Memory and Language 49, 43-61.

He, Ziran and Ran, Yongping, 1998. A review of relevance theory---the
essentials of cognitive pragmatics. Modern Foreign Language 21,

Nuyts, Jan, 2001. Epistemic, Modality, Language, and
Conceptualization. John Benjamins, Amsterdam.

Sakita, Tomoko I., 2002. Reporting Discourse, Tense, and Cognition.
Elsevier, Amsterdam.

Sperber, Dan and Wilson, Deirdre, 1995. Relevance: Communication and
Cognition (2nd edition). Blackwell, Oxford.

Taylor, John R., 1989. Linguistic Categorization: Prototypes in
Linguistic Theory. Oxford University Press, Oxford.

Ungerer, Friedrich and Schmid, Hans-Joerg, 1996. An Introduction to
Cognitive Linguistics. Longman, London.


Chaoqun Xie is a lecturer with the Foreign Languages Institute, Fujian
Normal University, China. His main areas of research interests include
interactional pragmatics, sociolinguistics, culture, communication and
translation and has published extensively in these fields.
Mail to author|Respond to list|Read more issues|LINGUIST home page|Top of issue