Engagement and Graduation: Alignment, Solidarity and the Construed Reader
This chapter is concerned with the linguistic resources by which speakers/ writers adopt a stance towards to the value positions being referenced by the text and with respect to those they address. The chapter provides a framework for characterising the different possibilities for this stance-taking which are made available by the language, for investigating the rhetorical effects associated with these various positionings, and for exploring what is at stake when one stance is chosen over another. Our approach locates us in a tradition in which all utterances are seen as in some way stanced or attitudinal. Thus we share with Stubbs the view that ‘whenever speakers (or writers) say anything, they encode their point of view towards it’ (Stubbs 1996: 197). More specifically, our approach is informed by Bakhtin’s/Voloshinov’s now widely influential notions of dialogism and heteroglossia under which all verbal communication, whether written or spoken, is ‘dialogic’ in that to speak or write is always to reveal the influence of, refer to, or to take up in some way, what has been said/written before, and simultaneously to anticipate the responses of actual, potential or imagined readers/listeners. As Voloshinov states,
The actual reality of language-speech is not the abstract system of linguistic forms, not the isolated monologic utterance, and not the psychological act of its implementation, but the social event of verbal interaction implemented in an utterance or utterances.
KeywordsAboriginal Woman Alternative Position Engagement System British Prime Minister Authorial Voice
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.
© J. R. Martin and P. R. R. White 2005