ISSN / EISSN: 10182101 / 24064238
Published by: John Benjamins Publishing Company
Total articles ≅ 743
Latest articles in this journal
This paper aims to explore the generalization of address terms in online discourse, a largely unheeded pragmatic phenomenon. Taking the generalized Chinese kinship term “son” (érzi) as an example, it analyzes its referents and functions. The analysis was based on a sizable data set collected from WeChat, and interviews with some WeChat users. It demonstrates that the address term “son” (érzi) conveys its faithful meaning when referring to the male child of (a) parent(s) but virtual meaning when referring to the addresser’s friends, classmates or pets. It is also argued that the generalized use of the address term “son” (érzi) can function to enhance relationships, make jocular abuse, and express emotions. These functions suggest the users’ identity avoidance and relating needs in a virtual community. This study attempts to contribute to a better understanding of the virtualization of address terms and rapport management in online discourse.
This paper explores the nature of clickbaiting as a form of viral journalism from a relevance-theoretic perspective (Sperber and Wilson 1995; Wilson and Sperber 2012). The focus is on deceptive clickbaits, i.e., manipulative internet headlines whose interpretation, based on the way they are worded, leads to opening an information gap, thus luring the reader into clicking on the link provided with a view to increasing the website traffic. It is highlighted that such headlines exploit linguistic underdeterminacy, and unlike felicitous headlines, which provide an accurate representation of the article content and therefore play the role of relevance optimizers (Dor 2003), deceptive clickbaits induce recipients to generate interpretations which arouse their intense curiosity but are ultimately incompatible with the article’s content. The paper shows how relevance theory can explain the interpretation bias that the reader of deceptive clickbaits falls prey to and advances the idea that there is affinity in this respect between deceptive clickbaits and jokes.
This study explores the use of content-oriented questions in British and Montenegrin university lectures. It examines their formal realisation, their frequency and their contextual functions, as well as the differences and similarities related to these questions between British linguistics lectures taken from the standard British corpora, and a specially compiled corpus of Montenegrin linguistics lectures. Compared to previous studies on content-oriented questions, one modified and five new functions are revealed, alongside one new formal realisation. The main differences between the corpora include the greater frequency of content-oriented questions in the Montenegrin lectures and a new questioning realisation, found only in the Montenegrin corpus, which is potentially attributable to differences between academic cultures. The major similarities relate to the use of the four most common question forms, which perform the same contextual functions. This contrastive study thus provides insights into the additional communicative functions and forms of content-oriented questions in university lectures.
Online communication has created new ways to express emotions, including emoji and reaction GIFs. Emoji are often discussed as signs for meaning-making, adding emotional tone to communication. Reaction GIFs express emotions and attitudes in a playful manner. This study shows that through the lens of cognitive pragmatics, these phenomena are not distinct. Both are cases of non-verbal communication pointing to the communicator’s emotional state. Drawing on relevance-theoretic notions of the showing-meaning continuum and perceptual resemblance, along with relevance-theoretic analyses of metaphor and irony, I argue that emoji and reaction GIFs provide clues to ostension and communicate emotions by virtue of perceptual resemblance between what they represent and the communicator’s emotional state. I will also argue that both emoji and GIFs can involve echoic use of language, enabling the communicator to convey their attitude.
Pragmatics, Volume 27, pp 387-418; https://doi.org/10.1075/prag.27.3.04zou
This paper focuses on how conversation and a shared participation frame are maintained in video-mediated family conversations which ordinarily do not have a particular agenda. In order to examine this question, how conversations are maintained whilst being sometimes improvised, the paper analyses a particular interactional phenomenon, namely, the image-based topic management accomplished via two methods: showings and noticings. Through a detailed multimodal analysis of family video mediated conversations, it shows how these methods are used for introducing or changing topics and hence sustaining talk. Moreover, by describing the practical actions that involve technological and social dimensions, the paper highlights the link between interaction, personal relationships and technology. The analysis of showings and noticings, enabled by the technical features of the systems used by the participants, reveals how video-communication technology is mobilized by family members as a resource for maintaining intimacy in distant relationships.
Pragmatics, Volume 27, pp 301-318; https://doi.org/10.1075/prag.27.3.01har
Pragmatics, Volume 27, pp 351-386; https://doi.org/10.1075/prag.27.3.03lic
This paper analyses the organization of ‘openings’ in Skype video-mediated conversation. It uncovers order in their apparent complexity by showing the relevance of a particular sequential adjacent pair organization, the appearing/noticing sequence, and its particular instantiation as an appearance-for-the-first-time greeting. The paper shows how this is a crucial resource in establishing a joint video interactional frame for the parties involved. This accounts for the occurrence of some specific phenomena in Skype openings, such as multiple greetings, and for the use of greetings which reflexively index their being occasioned by an appearance and related greeting, such as the French ‘coucou’, even when these do not occur at the start of Skype calls. When analysed this way, Skype openings, though complex, can be seen as an accomplished ‘dance of appearances and multiple greetings’.
Pragmatics, Volume 27, pp 319-350; https://doi.org/10.1075/prag.27.3.02har
This paper identifies salient properties of how talk about video communication is organised interactionally, and how this interaction invokes an implied order of behaviour that is treated as ‘typical’ and ‘accountably representative’ of video communication. This invoked order will be called an interrogative gaze. This is an implied orientation to action, one that is used as a jointly managed interpretative schema that allows video communication to be talked about and understood as rationally, purposively and collaboratively undertaken in particular, ‘known in common’ ways. This applies irrespective of whether the actions in question are prospective (are about to happen) or have been undertaken in the past and are being accounted for in the present or are ‘generally the case’ – in current talk. The paper shows how this constitutive device also aids in sense making through such things as topic management in video-mediated interaction, and in elaborating the salience of the relationship between this and the patterned governance of social affairs – viz, mother-daughter, friend-friend – as normatively achieved outcomes. It will be shown how the interrogative gaze is variously appropriate and consequentially invoked not just in terms of what is done in a video call or making such calls accountable, but in helping articulate different orders of connection between persons, and how these orders have implications for sensible and appropriate behaviour in video calling and hence, for the type of persons who are involved. This, in turn, explains how a decision to avoid using video communication is made an accountably reasonable thing to do. The relevance of these findings for the sociology of everyday life and the philosophy of action are explored.
Pragmatics, Volume 27, pp 419-446; https://doi.org/10.1075/prag.27.3.05ros
Showing material objects by bringing them to the camera or turning the camera toward them are pervasive practices in domestic and recreational video-mediated communication (VMC). We here discuss a set of specific showing practices characteristic of digitally embedded video-mediated settings, which may be called ‘digital showings’. These involve participants’ collaboration to retrieve a digital object so as to ensure a shared perceptual experience on screen of said object. We draw on data from multiparty Google Hangouts On Air (HOAs) to show that while digital and material showings share an overall sequential organization, the former display the emergence of unique collaborative practices that at times become collective performances of computer literacy. We focus on three instances of digital showings: (a) screenshares of pictures – showing an image by sharing one’s screen; (b) screenshares of videos – showing a running video by sharing one’s screen; and (c) link-share showings – showing by sharing the link to a showable content that may be independently retrieved while experienced jointly.
Pragmatics, Volume 27, pp 447-474; https://doi.org/10.1075/prag.27.3.06har
Digital technologies are likely to be appropriated by the homeless just as they are by other segments of society. However, these appropriations will reflect the particularities of their circumstances. What are these appropriations? Are they beneficial or effective? Can Skype, as a case in point, assuage the social disconnection that must be, for many, the experience of being homeless? This paper analyses some evidence about these questions and, in particular, the ways communications media are selected, oriented to and accounted for by the homeless young. Using data from a small corpus of interviews, it examines the specific ways in which choice of communication (face-to-face, social media, or video, etc.), are described by these individuals as elected for tactical and strategic reasons having to do with managing their family relations. These relations are massively important both in terms of how communications media are deployed, and in terms of being one of the sources of the homeless state the young find themselves in. The paper examines some of the methodical ways these issues are articulated and the type of ‘causal facticity’ thereby constituted in interview talk. The paper also remarks on the paradoxical problem that technologies like Skype provide: at once allowing people in the general to communicate but in ways that the homeless young want to resist in the particular. The consequences of this for the shaping of communications technology in the future are remarked upon.