LINGUIST List 14.2480

Thu Sep 18 2003

Review: Pragmatics: Maynard (2002)

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  1. Michael Haugh, Linguistic Emotivity

Message 1: Linguistic Emotivity

Date: Wed, 17 Sep 2003 22:28:12 +0000
From: Michael Haugh <m.haughmailbox.uq.edu.au>
Subject: Linguistic Emotivity

Maynard, Senko K. (2002) Linguistic Emotivity: Centrality of Place,
the Topic-Comment Dynamic, and an Ideology of 'Pathos' in Japanese
Discourse, John Benjamins Publishing Company, Pragmatics and Beyond
New Series 97.

Announced at http://linguistlist.org/issues/13/13-2726.html


Michael Haugh, School of Languages and Comparative Cultural Studies,
The University of Queensland, Australia.

OVERVIEW

In her latest work ''Linguistic Emotivity'', Senko K. Maynard
investigates an area of linguistics that has long been neglected,
namely the way in which emotions are expressed and negotiated in
language. This study is grounded in the Place of Negotiation theory
that she has developed in the course of her research on linguistic
emotivity, and is supported by examples from Japanese.

The book is broadly divided into six parts, which are further
subdivided into eighteen chapters. The first two parts of the book are
more theoretical in nature, as this is where the various concepts
underlying the Place of Negotiation theory are introduced and
justified. The linguistic data underlying the Place of Negotiation
theory, which is drawn from examples of linguistic emotivity in
Japanese, is presented in the following three parts. The concluding
part of the work offers some general thoughts on linguistic emotivity
in Japanese, and examines the broader implications of this study. The
main text of this book is followed by a brief appendix, endnotes,
references, an author index, and a subject index.

In Part One, 'Preliminaries', Maynard draws the reader into this
topic, and shows that while it has received little attention in modern
linguistics, it nevertheless has been a concern in the philosophy of
language since the time of Aristotle. Part One is divided into two
chapters, Introduction (Chapter One) and Background (Chapter Two). In
the Introductory chapter, Maynard orients the reader to the key
concepts underlying her study, including emotivity, expressivity and
'pathos'. She argues that modern linguistics has focused on 'logos',
form, information and abstraction at the expense of pathos, expression
and emotion. The concept of 'sensus communis', which is termed
'background knowledge', 'common knowledge' and so on in modern
linguistics, is also introduced as a key concept in understanding
linguistic emotivity. In the Background chapter, previous work that
touches upon the relationship between language and emotion is briefly
reviewed to show how this study is related to past research, both in
the European and Japanese traditions. Through this review, Maynard
establishes the rationale for her own study.

In Part Two, the Place of Negotiation theory itself is introduced over
four chapters. Chapter Three, gives a general overview of the Place of
Negotiation theory. Maynard argues that linguistic meaning arises from
the negotiation of interpretations. Three different dimensions of
place are proposed: cognitive, emotive, and interactional place. The
way in which these dimensions influence the negotiation of meaning is
said to be fluid in nature, depending upon the corresponding
dimensions of self manifested in a particular interaction. The
functions of language are then divided into six main types that are
related to the three fundamental dimensions of place. In Chapter Four,
Maynard delves more deeply into the concept of place, which has long
occupied an important position in Japanese philosophy and language
studies. She explains how the notion of place incorporated into the
Place of Negotiation theory draws upon previous work by Japanese
scholars, but also further develops those insights so as to allow its
application to the study of linguistic interaction. The way in which
emotive meanings are located and interpreted in the Place of
Negotiation is then discussed in Chapter Five. The various
interpretive processes involved in the formation of 'negotiative
meaning' are also discussed. In Chapter Six, the Place of Negotiation
theory is related to key aspects of Japanese discourse, since the
theory has been constructed primarily from observations of Japanese
language. These key aspects include the topic- comment dynamic that is
common in Japanese, the traditional rhetorical figure of 'futaku'
(essentially a method for expressing one's feelings by borrowing
something concrete), and what Maynard terms the 'Rhetoric of Pathos'
(where a language prioritizes means that reveal and share one's
'feeling self').

Part Three focuses upon how Japanese discourse creates emotive topics
across four chapters. These four chapters are preceded by a brief
justification of the various sources of linguistic data utilised in
this study, which include data used in previous research by scholars,
created examples, comics, novels, newspaper articles and television
dramas. In Chapter Seven, Maynard examines the ways in which vocatives
and topic-marking expressions are associated with emotivity. Vocatives
involve calling out to a person as an object of one's emotions, while
topics involve presenting a person as an object of one's emotions.
Emotive nominals, such as exclamative nominals or sentential nominals,
are addressed in Chapter Eight. Emotive nominals are used to
foreground emotions such as exclamation, surprise, admiration, and
being deeply moved. In Chapter Nine, quotative topics, which are
primarily marked by the particle 'tte' in Japanese, are
considered. The way in which utterance-final 'tte' can be used to
express assertiveness or hesitation in different situations is
demonstrated. In the final chapter of Part Three, the use of 'nan(i)'
(what) in giving rise to various emotive and interactional meanings is
discussed.

In Part Four, the emotive import of comments in Japanese is considered
over three chapters. In the first chapter of Part Four, Maynard
discusses the ways in which the so-called copulative forms 'da' ('be')
and 'janai' ('not be') are used as commentary strategies. More
specifically, Maynard argues that while 'da' and 'janai' provide
informational meaning, they also can signal a speaker's feeling or
attitude of assertiveness in some situations. Chapter Twelve moves on
to consider how interrogatives may function as emotive comments. In
many cases, interrogatives are not used with the expectation of
seeking an answer, but rather are used to express emotive meanings,
often related to feelings of doubt, surprise, exclamation and so
on. In the final chapter of Part Four, Maynard focuses on stylistic
shifts between 'plain' and 'polite' forms (such as 'da' versus
'desu'), and the usage of interactional particles (such as 'yo'). She
demonstrates through an analysis of television drama and novels that
the use of plain endings as opposed to polite occur not only when the
speaker's awareness of 'you' is low, but also at times of deepening
emotion between interactants.

Part Five concerns itself with how linguistic emotivity arises in
Japanese cultural discourse from the perspective of a Rhetoric of
'Pathos' (where a language prioritizes means that reveal and share
one's 'feeling self'). While Parts Three and Four focused on specific
linguistic expressions, the examples analysed in Part Five examine the
overall effects of linguistic emotivity in different genres of mass
culture. In Chapter Fourteen, linguistic emotivity arising in a
historical television drama is examined. The following chapter focuses
on linguistic emotivity associated with newspaper articles,
particularly that enacted in text organisation. The final chapter of
Part Five focuses on the presentation and negotiation of selves, using
data drawn from another television drama. More specifically, Maynard
examines the ways in which stylistic choice and shift (first addressed
in Chapter Thirteen), and the usage of vocatives and reference forms
(considered previously in Chapter Seven), are involved in the
negotiation of 'interactional self', 'gendered self', and 'playful
self'.

The last Part of this book broadens the study of linguistic emotivity,
and discusses the importance of linguistic emotivity within the
general programme of linguistic research. In Chapter Seventeen,
Maynard reflects upon the preference of Japanese language for a
Rhetoric of 'Pathos', and the importance of the concept of place and
the aesthetics of 'pathos' in Japanese culture in general. The
concluding chapter of this work considers the significance of the
Place of Negotiation theory for linguistics, in particular from the
perspective of competing linguistic ideologies.

EVALUATION

The current volume is the culmination of more than twenty years of
research into discourse and text issues in Japanese by Maynard, and
the depth of her theoretical contribution, and the breadth of her
linguistic analyses reflects the enormous scholarly effort
underpinning this work. A theory of language that embraces not only
more traditional aspects of meaning, but also interactional and
emotive aspects is by necessity a complex animal. Maynard has
successfully introduced, in her Place of Negotiation theory, an
approach that provides a solid, but also manageable (in the sense of
being only as complex as is necessary) foundation for further studies
of the relationship between language and emotion. While it has been
developed using examples from Japanese, there is nothing inherently
culture-specific about the framework proposed by Maynard, although
what further developments of the theory might arise in applying it to
other languages is of great interest.

Apart from the obvious contribution this work makes to our
understanding of the relationship between language and emotion, this
book is important in that it represents a comprehensive theory of
language that has been developed using insights from a linguistic
tradition somewhat distinct to that of Western linguists. Maynard
expands upon notions such as 'place', thereby deepening the range of
concepts available for use in examining linguistic phenomenon. This
contribution arises both from her reviews of Japanese philosophy and
language studies which are not widely available in English, and from
her own developments of ideas in that tradition. Interestingly, the
assumptions underlying Maynard's approach to language bear some
striking similarities to Arundale's (1999) work on communication, and
a viable alternative 'theory of language' might be drawn from these
two complementary approaches.

This book will be of interest to those who are interested in research
about the relationship between language and emotion, or what Maynard
terms linguistic emotivity, and provides a comprehensive starting
point for future research both in Japanese and in other languages. It
will also be of interest to those who are interested in the Japanese
language in general. Many of the ideas presented in this book would
prove invaluable to anyone wishing to further their understanding of
emotivity in Japanese. As a learner of Japanese myself, I found
reading this book expanded my understanding of linguistic emotivity in
Japanese considerably, and opened my eyes to the richness of
linguistic resources available in Japanese for expressing and
negotiating emotional dimensions of communication. The only real
drawback I found in reading this book was that all the Japanese
examples are written in 'romaji' rather than normal Japanese
script. Although it might not be feasible in terms of the length of
the book, it would be a kindness to those readers who speak Japanese
to provide examples of Japanese written in Japanese (as well as
'romaji'). And although again it might not have been feasible in terms
of the book's length, it also would have been interesting to have seen
a chapter on how the Place of Negotiation theory might be integrated
with other areas of linguistic research. It may be, however, that this
observation simply points to a potential avenue of future research.

Maynard's approach to language represents a challenge to traditional
assumptions in formal linguistics, and she shows a refreshing
awareness of the ideological nature of all linguistic theory. She has
succeeded in pushing the boundaries of linguistic concern, and one
hopes, has opened the door to vast new field of linguistic inquiry.

REFERENCE

Arundale, R. (1999). An alternative model and ideology of
communication for an alternative to politeness theory. Pragmatics
9:119-154.

ABOUT THE REVIEWER

Michael Haugh has completed a PhD at the University of Queensland
("Politeness Implicature in Japanese: A Metalinguistic Approach"). His
research interests include pragmatics, intercultural and interpersonal
communication, and applied linguistics.
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