Angewandte Sprachwissenschaft (Anglistik)


Angewandte Sprachwissenschaft / Anglistik
Doctoral Research Assistant (GIF PROJECT)
Angewandte Sprachwissenschaft / Anglistik

Projekte mit DH-Bezug

The construction of ordinariness in mediated public talk: Accountability of communicative action and the private-public interface: The project examines the discursive value of the first-order concept of ordinariness in the context of public talk media, as well as the discursive strategies and their intended perlocutionary effects for the discursive construction of ordinariness as an object of talk in mediated public talk, through the positioning of self and other speakers as ordinary and non-ordinary. We will focus on the production format of those interactions in which ordinary speakers position themselves, their interlocutors or third parties on a scale of ordinariness, and by doing so refer indexically to the interconnectedness between the private/public sphere and social, political and communicative accountability. Accordingly, we analyse the discursive construction of ordinariness in two genres: commenting on YouTube politicians’ speeches and parliamentary debates as well as commenting on opinion-editorials in online newspapers, in Hebrew, German and British English. Accommodating our research frame to the analysis of the commenters’ perspective, we aim to test four hypotheses: (a) The discursive value of (non-)ordinariness does not only depend on the production format, but also on the reception format. (b) The discursive construction of (non-)ordinariness is used strategically to address the premise of accountability of communicative action in mediated public talk. (c) When constructed by ordinary speakers, ordinariness is used strategically as a way of distancing from non-ordinary political agents and demanding accountability from them; when constructed by non-ordinary speakers, ordinariness is interpreted by ordinary speakers as non-ordinary speakers’ staging social accountability in general and political accountability in particular, as well as exercising power through life-world-experience anchored accounts. (d) Speech communities vary in terms of (1) the conceptualization of (non-)ordinariness, (2) contexts whereby (non-)ordinariness is made an object of talk, (3) the array of discursive strategies and strategy-specific linguistic constructions, and (4) the degrees of explicitness and redundancy underlying the foregrounding of ordinariness. The discursive strategies and strategy-specific linguistic constructions to be analysed include, among others, first-frame meta-pragmatic comments on ordinariness and non-ordinariness; semantic prosodies; self- and  other-naming, address terms and deictic expressions used for self- and other-reference; quotations from ordinary people’s talk; ironic criticism of (non)ordinariness; small stories and self-disclosures; subjectification and conversationalisation. The approach adopted is anchored in discourse pragmatics. Our results can be applied to language competence and discourse competence in general, but also to particular discursive formats and their perlocutionary effects, specifically to the understanding of interactional positioning and the indexing of communicative, social and political accountability.


The project is supported by a research grant from The German-Israeli Foundation for Scientific Research and Development (GIF)

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