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LINGUIST List 17.1787

Tue Jun 13 2006

Diss: Pragmatics: Levshina: 'Indirect Speech Tactics in Pre-Electio...'

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        1.    Natalia Levshina, Indirect Speech Tactics in Pre-Election Discourse

Message 1: Indirect Speech Tactics in Pre-Election Discourse
Date: 13-Jun-2006
From: Natalia Levshina <natalia.levshinamail.ru>
Subject: Indirect Speech Tactics in Pre-Election Discourse

Institution: Saint-Petersburg State University
Program: Department of General Linguistics
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2006

Author: Natalia Levshina

Dissertation Title: Indirect Speech Tactics in Pre-Election Discourse

Linguistic Field(s): Pragmatics

Dissertation Director:
Konstantin Arkadievich Dolinin

Dissertation Abstract:

The dissertation deals with implicit ways of communicating information that
shows candidates in a favourable light or discredits them and thus may
influence the voter's decision. The research is based on the local
newspapers that were published during recent Governor election campaigns in
the North-West of Russia (more than 170 issues). Each newspaper reflected
the interests of a specific candidate and formed a particular
'subdiscourse' with specific goals, strategies and tactics. From the
semiotic point of view, each subdiscourse represented a peculiar filling of
the same structure similar to that of a folk tale described by V.Propp, A.
Greimas and others (the Protagonist, the Opponent(s), the Helper(s), etc.)

The theoretical framework of the research is the Relevance Theory by
D.Sperber and D.Wilson, which is supplemented with C.Kerbrat-Orecchioni's
concept of communicative competences. The indirect tactics that are
described in the dissertation are the most commonly used models of semantic
interaction between the generalized contents of explicatures, implicit
premises and implicit conclusions. These models are:

- insinuation "from a (neutral) part of a frame to the whole (favourable or
discrediting) frame";
- insinuation "from a general statement to a specific person";
- implicit characterization with the help of metaphors and allusions;
- echoic use and implicit discreditation of the Opponent's opinion (irony,
parody, mockery);
- demagogical use of implicit premises.

The tactics are used mainly to discredit of the Opponent and his Helpers.
By using them, the journalists may not only avoid responsibility for
defamation, but also "cultivate intimacy" (term by T.Cohen) between the
reader and themselves, stimulate interest of the reader in the information,
make the reader "privatize" the information and minimize the risk of the
information being critically examined.

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