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UDC 81
Kudryashova A.N., Guz Yu.A.
Southern federal university
Rostov-on-Don, Russia
[Структурные особенности диалогической речи.
Минимальная диалогическая единица]
The article touches upon the structural features of the dialogic speech, difference of the dialogue from other
spheres of functioning of the language. It is expected that a formal description of the interaction in the dialogue, is not
achievable if a set of source units is not clearly defined and their structure is not identified. To solve the problems we
use a descriptive method and a discrete analysis. With the help of these methods for the linguistic description of the
interaction in the dialogue a basic unit is singled out ; it reflects the communication activities of all the participants at a
minimum interval of communication. The analysis of the internal structure of minimal dialogue allows us to discuss the
question of the structural performance of their borders. It is shown how the content side of the lexical indicators related
to their phatic, metatextual function of a dialogue. A dialogue is seen as a system of obligations of its members to meet
the communication needs of the interlocutor. As a formal explication of such content features was introduced
illocutionary attitude of forcing.
Key words: structure of dialogue, illocutionary speech act, communicative unit of dialogue, dialogical unity, the
minimum unit of the dialogic speech.
The relevance of the chosen theme derives from the need to study the structural properties of
dialogic speech. Despite the fact that on the theory of dialogue there is a fairly extensive literature,
his compositional speech forms, as well as individual semantic-syntactic groups are still
insufficiently studied.
The purpose of this article is to determine the structure of the dialogic speech and isolate the
communicative unit of dialogue. The subject of consideration is a dialogue as a kind of verbal
activity of a man. The object of the study is the structure of dialogue.
The difference of dialogue from the other areas of language functioning. "Only in the
dialogue the essence of language is fully revealed", - says Heidegger. Development of theoretical
views on the structure and functioning of the language system in recent decades undoubtedly
support Heidegger’s view. Dialogue, being a form of language existence, is perhaps the most
important area of language patterns manifestation. The normal course of dialogue implies matching
of illocutionary intentions of the participants, which is in meeting of their mutual claims. Set of
mutual reactions of participants forms a complex structure [2, p. 84].
Professor L. V. Shcherba on a bright example shows the naturalness of dialogue, in
comparison with artificialness of monologue. Let we give a little quote from his study "East
Lusatian dialect": "Remembering the time spent among these semi-peasants, semi-factory, I was
surprised to state the fact that I've never heard of monologues but only fragmentary dialogues.
There were cases that people went to Leipzig to the exhibition, on affairs to surrounding towns and
so on, but no one ever told about their impressions; it was usually limited by more or less lively
dialogue. And it's not from the cultural backwardness, but rather, perhaps, on the contrary, from
excessive "level of culture", the eternal chase for new surface impressions and certain haste,
distinguishing the factory from real peasants. "[8, p.105].
In this quote prof. Shcherba is, to a certain extent, a "dialogist". In fact, every human
interaction is precisely the interaction; it essentially aspires to avoid sidedness, wants to be bilateral,
dialogic and runs from monologue.
Definition of dialogic speech is given in linguistic dictionary under the editorship of Yartseva
"Dialogic speech (from the Greek Dialogos-conversation, the conversation of two) form, the type of
speech consisting of exchanging utterances - remarks on the language composition of which
influences direct perception, activating role of addressee in the in speech activity of the sender. For
dialogic speech meaningful (question/answer, add/explanation/dissemination, consent/objection, the
formula of speech etiquette, etc.) and constructive connection of utterances is typical" [9, p.290].
However, neither formal description of the interaction in the dialogue nor building of
linguistic models of some its fragments known to be unachievable if set of source units is not
clearly defined and their structure is not identified. The latest researches in the theory of dialogue
give reason to believe that the allocation of the initial units largely depends on goals and objectives
of the analysis. In particular, for the linguistic description of the interaction in the dialogue it is
natural to single out as a basic such a unit, which would reflect the communicative activity of all its
participants at a minimum interval of communication. Baranov A.N. and Kreydlin G.E. in their
article "Illocutionary forcing in the structure of dialogue" call this the most important concept of the
theory of dialogue as a "minimum dialogical unit" [3, p.84].
Dialogical unity. In the works of many linguists such as: Burenina N.V. [4, p.6]. Polyakov
S.M. after Mikhailov L.M. as a communicative unit of dialogue recognize dialogical unity, defined
as monothematic unit having communicative integrity, created by two communicants having
relevant communicative intentions, and expressed in logical-semantic, grammatical, prosodic (full
or partial) integrity.
In the work of Primerov N.O. "Speech compression in a dialogical unity" under the dialogical
unity is understood a dialogical education, consisting of not less than two contacting utterances of
communicants and, that is emphasized, closely connected to a common semantic center [7, 4].
To the concept of "dialogical unity" linguists appeal when analyzing structural features of
dialogue, the structural and compositional characteristics of dialogical utterances - original, and
response [6, p.13].
Number of communicative units of speech used by researchers is enormous. Take to illustrate
this idea N.F. Alefirenko's latest research "Modern problems of the science of language" (2005).
Here we read: "As communicative units of speech statement, discourse, speech act, speech genre,
speech strategies, speech (communicative) tactics are allocated" [1, p.202].
Other researchers believe the communicative units of speech are: "sentence" (M.J. Bloch
2001, 2004), "utterance" (M.R. Lions 2002), "phrase" (I.P. Raspolov 1970), "sentence-, utterance"
(Izarenkov D.I. 1981, Moskalskaya O.I. 1981), "text" (Kuharenko V.A. 1988), "dicteme" (Bloch
M.J. 1984), "dialogical unity" (Shvedova N.Y. 1960, Susov I.P. 1984, Mikhailov L.M., 1986),
"step" (Zernetsky P.V. 1988), "move" (Zernetsky P.V. 1988), "communicative step" (Mikhailov
L.M. 1994), "communicative move" (Mikhailov L.M., 1994).
Proceeding from definitions of dialogical unity, we can conclude that it is based on a micro
theme, and its boundary is the component – utterance, implementing communicative intention.
In accordance with the feature of directivity stand out intentional (stimulating, controlling)
utterances, in which the speaker’s thought is expressed, and reactive, so-called dependent,
responsive, in which the form of voice response expression is caused, in particular, by the type of
speech stimuli.
Verbal interaction mechanisms are closely connected with specific forms of dialogue. The
latter depends on a number of factors: on the subject of communication, structure of participants of
communication, their social roles, intentions and perceptions of partners of each other, knowledge
of the world, values, etc. In his paper "Illocutionary forcing in the structure of dialogue" Baranov
A.N. and Kreydlin G.E. [2.87] at the initial stage stop on the simplest form of dialogue with two
parties of the communicative situation. Thus it is necessary to ignore such factors as social status of
speakers, their background knowledge and understanding of the world, axiological settings. Of
course, ideally would like to analyze the continuous dialog in all its forms, including non-verbal,
but materials of artistic works are more available.
Utterance as a communicative unit has a content and the formal side. From a content point of
view a speech utterance includes a propositional (actually meaningful) and illocutionary component
(illocutionary function); a certain speech act (approval, issue, motivation etc.) corresponds to the
type of illocutionary function of statement. The formal side of utterances - is its phonetic,
morphological and syntactic structure [2, p.88].
Depending on the types of speech acts used in a particular text of dialogue, participants can
receive different, but correlating with each other names (speaker, listener, questioner, respondent,
etc.). because dialogue tend to be characterized by constant change of roles of participants,
generalizing names for voice partners are introduced, not connected with specific types of speech
acts - sender and the addressee.
The vast majority of of works on linguistic description of verbal interaction in dialogue
(Belova Y.G. "Communicative division of emotional statements in modern English," Morozov I.B.
"Grammatical structure and semantics of a simple sentence and its constituents in English dialogical
speech" Polyakov S.M. "Complex dialogical unity with unilateral organization" Primerov N.D.
"Speech compression in dialogical unity") one way or another was based on the analysis of specific
speech acts expressed in utterances of interlocutors, i.e. pairs of utterances like "question-answer",
"request-acceptance or rejection", "greeting-feedback greeting", etc. were studied.
In linguistics, especially in Russia, the structure of dialogue was actively studied in terms of
speech acts theory and pragmatic postulates of P. Grays. This also applies to works of Arutyunova
N.D., Paducheva E.V. etc. Baranov A.N. and Kreydlin G.E. in 1992 proposed an approach to the
structure of dialogue, based on the concepts of the speech act and illocutionary force: as the main
segment of dialogue they proposed to consider the minimal dialogical units - groups of speech acts
connected by rigid illocutionary relations (such as question - answer, order - consent utterance,repetition.) [3, p.82].
In its work, A.N. Baranov G.E. and Kreydlin attempted to build a static model of a formal of
dialogue, which is based on verbal interaction of participants of communication. In this model, a
number of difficulties associated with allocation of minimal dialogic units (MDU) are eliminated:
attachment of previously suggested criteria of selection to specific types of dialogic text and the
problem of the number of utterances in the composition of minimal unit. The authors considered
that the invariant feature of all types of dialogs is dynamic character of verbal interaction. In this,
dialogue is seen as a system of obligations of its members to meet the communicative needs of the
interlocutor. As a formal explication of such content features relation an illocutionary forcing was
introduced. Exactly an appeal to this concept allowed defining minimal dialogue as a system of
illocutionary forcing [1, p.84].
The analysis of the internal structure of minimal dialogs also provides an opportunity to raise
the question on structural indicators of its borders and to highlight some of these types of indicators.
Apart from the obvious phonetic and grammatical signals such as pause, speed, tempo and
modulation of speech, intonation etc., there are lexical indicators of beginning and end of MDU [1,
From the structural point of view of lexical indicators are functioning in dialogue either as
separate syntactically designed utterances, or as a part of other syntactic structures. For example, a
speech dialog can begin with etiquette greeting designed as a separate utterance. On the other hand,
the beginning of the MDU is a lexeme "look", which always performs as a part of a larger utterance,
compare: Look, can you lift me up to district center. This lexeme should be distinguished from the
homonymous to it imperative form of the verb "listen", which is not a lexical marker of MDU and
can be a word-utterance, compare: Why are you talking? Listen! You can also specify such
linguistic expressions, which can act as a lexical indicators and as a separate utterance, and as a part
of another utterance. These include, in particular, addresses like Friends (my)!, Hey!, Citizens! etc.
[1, p.86].
Content side of lexical indicators is related to their phatic, metatextual function of dialogue.
Like any speech activity, dialogical communication does not proceed smoothly, if it is not
controlled through specific linguistic resources. At the right moment sender can turn on or (switch)
recipient's attention to the message, break a contact or, on the contrary, support it. Establishing
contact usually open dialogue and thus the first MDU in it. In this role, we meet such standard
utterances - absolutely independent speech acts – as self-representation Speaks Moscow, my
surname is Woland; greetings Hello, Good evening, various kinds of interjections: Hey!, Listen!,
Hello! [1, p.87].
Phatic side of dialogue is exhausted by lexical indicators of borders of MDU. Such specific
for dialogue phatic means as interjections um, yes-yes, well, various exclamations Wow!, Isn’t it
he! and some others serve as means of maintaining speech contact of "additional canal of
communication» - backchannel - in the theory of conversation (conversational analysis). All these
units are united by the fact that their usage encourages a partner to perform relationship of
illocutionary of self-constraint.
Conclusions. Dialogic speech - a form, type of speech, consisting of exchange of utterances
on the language composition of which affect a direct perception, activating the role of the recipient
in speech activity of the sender. For dialogical speech meaningful (question/answer,
addition/explanation/dissemination, consent/objection, formulas of speech etiquette, etc.) and
constructive link of utterances are typical.
As a communicative unit of dialogue units recognized a dialogical unity, defined as
monothematic unit with communicative integrity, created by two communicants, with relevant
communicative intentions, and expressed in logical-semantic, grammatical, prosodic (full or partial)
Dialogue is studied as a system of obligations of its participants to meet the communicative
needs of the interlocutor. As a formal explication of such a content feature where relation of
illocutionary forcing was introduced. It is an appeal to this concept allowed to define a minimal
dialogue as a system of illocutionary forcing.
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Baranov A.N. Dialogic structure of the text: lexical indicators minimal dialogue //
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