The Perilous Life of a Linguistic Genre Convention: A Study of News Analysis witin the Danish System of Newspaper Genres

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    The primary, theoretical aim of the article is to present a linguistic text analysis that differs from standard text linguistic approaches by being informative with regard to the linguistic choices and textual organisation that characterise a text as a social act. The analysis is exemplified by using texts of a relatively new Danish journalistic genre nyhedsanalyse (news analysis). The secondary, empirical aim of the article is to present a corpus-based, linguistic analysis of central elements of the genre nyhedsanalyse within the Danish system of newspaper genres.
    Text linguistics is based on the assumption that linguistic structures extend beyond the sentence border and comprise parts of texts (cohesion) or even whole texts (macro structures). In the article it is argued that the concepts cohesion and macro structure are incompatible with the basic assumption of natural language philosophy, and that the prevent an informative analysis of texts as social acts. Alternatively, it is suggested that linguistic choices and textual organisation are guided by social motives (Miller 1984), and that social motives, themselves, are the result of a mulititude of factors, among others: constitutional, political, governmental, ideological, educational, professional, ethical, technological, economical, and commercial. These dependency relations appear as linguistic and organisational regularities in naturally occuring social social acts constituted by the same social motives. Consequently, the regulalities should not be accounted for as manifestations of linguistic rules, but as manifestation of social conventions. Furthermore, an account of the linguistic and organisational regularities presupposes an account of the social motives and the factors related to the motive, and vice versa.
    As Miller’s description of the dependency relations remains abstract on the textual levels, it is supplemented by Swales’s move-structure analysis. Swales’s analysis, on the other hand, is supplemented by focusing on the developmental history of the genre system, as illustrated by Bazerman, by incorporating psychological and, in particular, cognitive factors, as suggested by Bathia, and by integrating ideas and linguistics descriptions of the Danish school of functional linguistics. This theoretical framework forms the basis of an analysis of a corpus consisting of 43 news analysis texts, of which 27 are descriptive. The empirical analysis focuses upon establishing the move structure of this sub-genre. Elements of the move structure are subjected to an information structure analysis, yielding the result that information structural characteristics of the move support a determination of framing as a typified social action within the news analysis genre.
    The central claim of the article is that the linguistic convention that governs the step ’framing an event’ is regulative rather than constitutive, and that the convention, as a manifestation of a social motive that is the result of a multitude of interdependent factors, lives a perilous life.
    The theoretical point is that this precarious status as a temporary, constantly-threatened, regulative rule, does not make the convention a less appropriate object of linguistic description. A modern, linguistically-based text description should comprise this object. Firstly, the descriptions are more informative than the structures hitherto described by text linguistics. Secondly, as historical norms, they are a testimony to the development and change of language use. Thirdly, the descriptions contribute to language users’ awareness of the origin of standards, their understanding of how their own language use is related to standards, their ability to analyse a situation of conflicting standards, and their awareness of a priority of standards within a given form of life.
    TitelReflections upon Genre : Encounters between Literature, Knowledge, and Emerging Communicative Conventions
    RedaktørerJan Engberg, Carmen Daniela Maier , Ole Togeby
    Antal sider68
    ForlagNarr Francke Attempto Verlag
    ISBN (Trykt)978-3-8233-6817-5
    StatusUdgivet - 2014
    NavnEuropäische Studien zur Textlinguistik


    • genreteori, tekstlingvistik, informationsstruktur

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