Rhetorical relations of contrast in the blog text: marking means, semantics, functions

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The article analyzes the rhetorical structures with the contrast semantics and their functions in the blog text, special attention is paid to the contrast relations at the nexus of the blogger’s message and the readers’ reactive commentaries, connection of these relations with the further text deployment. The rhetorical contrast relations are interpreted in the article as the pragmatic format of expressing the incompatibility between the interlocutors’ rational settings while having the same emotional and volitional state. Within the frameworks of the blog text we reveal the rhetorical contrast relation model which includes the justification of the contrast appropriateness from commenting readers. The problematic state of affairs representation as the stimulus presupposes the reactive explanation of the state of affairs resolution ways. The rhetorical contrast relations within the frameworks of the blogger’s stimulus and the reader’s reactive commentary predetermine the coherence of jointly generated virtual text which is marked by the adversative conjunction but or be the communicative context itself. The contrast and its reasoning coordinate the blogger and reader’s modus spheres with the obvious differences in their views upon the state of affairs under discussion. It is demonstrated that in the blog text the rhetorical contrast relations are associated consistently with the expressing of incompatible points of view shared by the interlocutors. In this case the adversative conjunction but pragmatic function is to to correlate the views expressed in the asynchronous time plane and, consequently, to contribute to the linear unfolding of jointly generated text. The functional importance of the adversative conjunction but is specified in the interactive aspect. It is illustrated that this kind of conjunction functions as a kind of signal that the reader realizing the reactive review undertakes the obligation of maintaining the joint design of the contrasting ideas embodied in the blog text.

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Introduction In current linguistic researches, which are essentially interdisciplinary in nature, the blogs are interpreted as «complex rhetorical hybrids», which trace their discursive origins in more traditional and recognized genres, such as the diary, the pamphlet, the editorial, the opinion column, the online catalog (Bozhenkova, Ivanova 2012: 125, Garmasheva 2015: 37, Kudryashov, Kalashnikov 2015(c): 28-29). As a specific social activity blogs are the result of the harmonious blending of these genres that determines their semantic, stylistic and pragmatic uniqueness in the realm of interlocutors’ virtual interaction. The empirical surveys show that the linguistic characteristics of computer-mediated communication are determined by a number of social factors, such as synchronous/ asynchronous nature of the interlocutors’ interaction, the possibility to issue a message as anonymous and segmented, the publicized information subjective nature, pluralism dominance in communication (Garmasheva 2010, Kudryashov, Kalashnikov 2015(b), Makarov 2016). The blogger uses the virtual space to reflect the current thoughts and life experience, readers use it for the personal supplementing (commenting) the original message. The blogger discloses the personal information, focused on the response from the multiple recipient, agreement/disagreement, supplementing/rebutting the original information. The personal records are created for the mass audience, published on the Internet, a platform that involves the wide publicity and universal accessibility. Subsequently, blogger’s messages are modified with the readers’ replicas on the interactive basis with the dominance of the communication emotional component (Maksimova 2017, Panina 2017, Senchenko 2015). As a result, the blog could be viewed as a harmonious combination of the personal thoughts, cohesive means, commenting and even essays. The blogosphere is a source of the personal information, giving an idea of various perspectives on the same problem and representing the multiple semantic positions based on a variety of sources. The blogger and the reacting readers are mutually engaged into the discursive activities based on the common attempt to produce the coherent text, thoroughly covering the actual problems and their relevant solutions. The problems of the virtual text functioning in the blogosphere are systematically considered by I.A. Kudryashova and A.A. Kalashnikova in the aspect of providing an alternative mass communication channel (Kudryashov, Kalashnikov 2015(a)); by M.E. Bobrova and N.N. Shpilnaya from the genre perspective (Bobrova, Shpilnaya 2013); by A.A. Zhitenev relying on the methods of virtual narrative transforming and identifying the virtual prose form specifics (Zhitenev 2012) and by many others as well. The research focus is made on the speech material interpretation discursive specifics, activating some grammatical rules in the process of interaction between the blogger and the recipients of his/her messages. However, the contemporary approaches, which are associated with the discourse-pragmatic blog text analysis, not fully employ the methodology and the linguistic-theoretical concept aimed at the analysis of the particular segments of stimulating and reactive replicas, sustainable models that are activated in the virtual communication while solving the nonverbal tasks. This linguistic research perspective sheds light on the blog text pragmatic structure, the range of semantic relations between the messages on the level of one, two or more speech moves. The study of rhetorical relations and the cohesive means in the aspect of the blog text architectonics reveals the importance of analyzing the interlocutors’ virtual interaction functional organization: in terms of the formally expressed contrast rhetorical relations and the cohesive means ensuring these relations, based on which the blogger focuses attention of the potential readers on the particular fragment of the stimulating message, reveals his/her emotional state correlating with his/her verbal action; in the aspect of the meaningful semantic relations between the stimulus and the recipients’ reactive messaging that while implementing contact-establishing function, explicitly/implicitly mark the cohesive means together determining the shared text integrity. This prospect provides the optimal opportunity for determining the pragmatic specifics of the contrast rhetorical relations, their dynamic nature, which manifests itself at the level of the integral virtual text jointly generated by the interlocutors. This predetermines the relevance of our research. The publication demonstrates that in the blog texts the contrast rhetorical relations are invariably associated with the opinions expressed by each of the virtual interaction participants. The pragmatic charge of the adversative conjunction no/but (as a cohesive means) is manifested in the correlating of the opinions expressed in the single structural dimension and thus promoting the fact that the jointly generated virtual text acquires the linear organization. This, in turn, provides the possibility of specifying the functional significance of the adversative conjunction no/but from the interactive positions, revealing that this cohesive means acts as the strong signal that the recipient implementing the responsive message takes the commitment in the joint construction of the ideas. The adversative conjunction no/but marks the recognition of the blogger’s perspective by the addressee. The results obtained in this research detail significantly the relevant for the contemporary Russian studies concept of the blog text coherent on the level of combining propositions of the stimulating and responsive messages into the macropropositions based on specific rhetorical relations that determine the unified character of the jointly generated virtual text, functioning as a coherent phenomenon mediated by the Internet communications. The study develops the methods of cohesion and coherence analysis in the aspect of the rhetorical blog text semiosis, the contrastive configuration of the text surface structures. The pragmatic analysis undertaken in the publication sheds light on the problems associated with the coherence, which is partially “embedded” into the blog text semantic content based on the interlocutors’ linguistic-cultural and communicative-discursive background knowledge. In this regard, the contrast rhetorical relations are analyzed as a kind of codes in the linguistic and cultural value system that steadily correlate with the interlocutors’ communicative purposes. The conclusions reached in this study specify the contemporary ideas that the text coherence and integrity is achieved through the contrast rhetorical relations forming within the virtual text which is jointly generated. Purpose The aim of the study is to determine the specificity of the pragmatic rhetorical structures with the contrast semantics in the blogosphere texts with the explicit/contextual marking of the semantics, identify the functional charge of the contrast in the reasoning of the reader’s reactive comments. Methods and materials The goal stated in the publication involves the use of following research methods that are relevant in the pragmatic analysis of the contrast as the text forming factor in the blogger and readers’ speech activity: interpretative method in the analysis of the pragmatic nature of the cohesive means in the blog text; contextual method for the analysis of the linear sequences of the virtual text segments; method for modeling the contrast rhetorical structures in the aspect of linkage of the blogger’s simulative message and the readers’ reactive comments. Results The texts generated within the blogosphere reveal the rhetorical nature, as they are based on the verbal interaction between the interlocutors, which is reflected systematically in the virtual text communicative purposes. The goals appear to be incentives for expanding all communicative processes, which, therefore, appear phenomena of rhetorical nature. The communicative event purpose is “attached” to the typified context. The rhetorical structure theory gives the opportunity to explore the following problematic nodes in the blogosphere texts: pragmatic and cognitive analysis of the text generation specifics; identifying the semantic structure of the relationships that are formed between the text segments, the integrity degree and the formal manifestation of these relations. The rhetorical nature of the blog texts determines the two implications which are constructive for our research: cohesive means at the junction of the original message and the reactive statements is a clear indication of the realization of communicative goals of the virtual text jointly generated by the interlocutors; the blog texts as the particular genre of the virtual communication predetermine the dominance in the joint work of certain semantic structures and linguistic characteristics. Understanding the language and speech structures and the pragmatic patterns of their combination is considered as an important problem of multivariate analysis of language as a social activity. Focusing on the functioning of the language and speech phenomena within the blogosphere texts, we analyze such rhetorical structures that are frequent in this type of text when the virtual communication participants solve the non-linguistic tasks. Our observations indicate that such structures are primarily those that form the relationships of the contrast. Discussion The communication in the framework of blogs is asynchronous in nature, i.e. there is no need for the bloggers and the readers to be «online» for exchanging the relevant information (Annushkin 2016, Shaklein 2011, Shaklein, 2013). In other words, between the initiated message and the reactive response (comment) there is a temporal lag, largely associated with the segmented nature of the jointly created text and, however, the text semantic integrity. The recipient generally has the capability to respond to the blogger and other readers’ messages which are listed in the archive. In this regard, the virtual texts show a tendency for potential expanding: over time the initial utterance «overgrows» with the responsive messages, which, in turn, are supplemented/specified by the subsequent reactions. The joint text, thus, acquires the radial-chain coherence, the individual stimulus and reaction form the immediate context of interlocutors’ interaction, and therefore they can be considered as the unique speech work (utterance-text), since the reaction is introduced directly with the cohesive means, involves the elimination of already known information. The rhetorical structure theory explores the specificity of text functioning in the real communication context (Mann, Matthiessen, and Thompson 1992), is considered to be the descriptive linguistic approach to a wide range of phenomena that are associated with text organization in the aspect of the semantic relations established between the text segments. This theory explains the pragmatic nature of speech work integrity based on the hierarchical relations between the text segments. It is postulated that each segment performs the specific semantic function, connecting with the subsequent segment. The text coherence (“discursive relationship”) is determined by the relationship within the speech work, involves the identification of the intentional use of individual text segment. The hierarchy of these segments, in turn, suggests their correlation on the basis of such concepts as “nuclear”, and “the semantic relation type”. The theory offers the principle of compositionality: the two text segments are connected with the rhetorical relations that occur between the two essential components, that is the nucleus and its subsidiary relationships. As a constructive the opposite pattern is also interpreted: in the process of building a scheme of the text rhetorical structure the discourse relations between two of its important segments occur when these relationships are traced within these two segments (Marcu 1996). The analyzed theory also traces what underpins the text hierarchical structure organization in the process of creating its coherence, whether the connected text segments manifest the integral propositional content. The source of the text coherence, its integral unfolding is the speaker’s intention to impact the recipient. The semantic relations and hierarchy of these relations between the segments form the text rhetorical structure, model its coherent nature. The rhetorical relations between the text segments reveal the speaker’s hidden intention; receive the explicit/implicit marking in the speech work. In this regard, the scholars discuss the problem of actualization of these relations in the interlocutors’ cognitive sphere (or they appear the product of the researcher’s speculation?). The rhetorical relations and the text coherent nature formation are cognitive phenomena, due to it they are interpreted as the cognitive mechanisms the speaker accesses to for linking the two text segments; the recipient also recognizes the rhetorical relations and the coherence of the segments in the act of the text interpretation. Let’s analyze first of all the specifics of the contrast rhetorical relation interpretation, carried out by the interlocutors, as well as the contrast function in the process of joint generating the virtual text. We interpret the contrast rhetorical relations as the pragmatic implementation of the reacting person’s intentions to involve a greater number of interlocutors into the jointly generated virtual text, including causing the blogger’s a reaction. Within the blogosphere, the conditions are created for the emotional and personal interpretations of the problems under consideration, proceeding from the most diverse information sources (Salikhova 2011, Tarasenko 2012, Shmakov 2011). With the elimination of the known information the contrast is modeled either as explicitly expressed proposition, or as contextually derived from the semantic content of the reactive (i.e. when there are no explicit markers of the relations under consideration). Cf. (for the convenience hereinafter the blogger’s message and the interlocutors’ reactions are presented in the form of dialogical replicas): «- (1) Mne ochen’ hochetsja pozhalovat’sja… Detej u menja net, potomu chto … muzh ne sposoben ih imet’. Vmesto togo, chtoby menja soderzhat’, soderzhu muzha ja… I eshhe, ja uzhasno vygljazhu… Ja nichego ne uspevaju… Gospodi, chto u menja za zhizn’? Pochemu ja vybrala jetogo cheloveka?.. Prosto kakoe-to bezvyhodnoe polozhenie. / I really want to complain... I have no children because my husband is not able to have them. Instead to support me, I support my a husband... And yet, I look awful... I don’t have time... my God, what is my life? Why did I choose this person?.. Just some no-win situation. - (2) No imushhestvennye poteri v semejnoj zhizni javljajutsja neizbezhnymi. / But property losses in family life are inevitable. (3) No Vy prosto boites’ ego brosit’, zhaleete, na samom dele nekogo zhalet’… / But you’re just afraid to leave him, feel sorry for him, there is actually no one to feel sorry for... (4) Vy prosto dlja sebja reshite: Vy zamuzh vyshli, ili usynovili? Nel’zja byt’ Savraskoj, tjanushhej voz. Kupite sebe kosmetiku i veshhi. / You just decide for yourself: are you married or you adopted? You can be Savraska drawing the load. Buy yourself cosmetics and clothes. (5) Kak zhe Vy sebja ne cenite! Zachem Vam takoj muzh, kotoryj parazitiruet na Vas? Emu komfortno, vse ustraivaet kak est’, on ne budet menjat’sja ibo nezachem. Takih ljudej postojanno nado pinat’ v svetloe budushhee, ono Vas nado? / How you don’t value yourself! Why do you need a husband who is a parasite on you? He is comfortable, happy with everything as it is, he won’t change for no reason. Such people constantly have to be kicked into the bright future, do you need it? » (Live Journal). The blogger’s initial statements, a woman who is thirty seven years old, contain the propositions (1), which generate the reactive disagreement of, at least, five (from one hundred and thirty five) readers-interlocutors. The basis for disagreeing are primarily the blogger’s attitudes to life. The reactive statements (2)-(5) form the semantic opposition to the stimulating message. In the statements (2)-(3) the contrast rhetorical relations are marked explicitly by means of the adversative conjunction no/but; in (4)-(5) the contrast is presented formally, there are no appropriate markers. In the framework of co-generated virtual text the reactive statements are opposed to the stimulating message not only in the structural terms (based on the adversative marker), but also from the point of view of strengthening the emotive-evaluative component. In the stimulus message (1) the modus component prevails, it manifests the blogger’s emotional state at the moment of message generating. Modus is the facts of the virtual communication axiological dimension (Gavrilova 2015: 47, Shaklein, Bozhenkova 2006: 204, Annushkin 2001: 87). Forming the reactions, the readers respond not so much to the blogger’s message dictum content, but to her pragmatic attitude to this content, i.e. the message modus component. The contrast generated in the joint virtual text is pragmaticized primarily as a reaction to the modus incentive: readers’ comments are contrasted with the blogger’s message on the modus basis, strengthen the modal component inherent in the original message, expand it based on other axiological positions. The exception is the comment (2), in which the contrast is constructed as the dictum reaction to the same dictum content of the blogger’s message. Obviously, in this case, the reader expresses an impartial stance in terms of the situation, in which the blogger turned out to be, explaining that in this situation, losses are inevitable. The reactive commenting (3)-(5) appear to be purely modus reactions, affect the scope of the blogger’s motivations and necessities. The basis for the readers’ contrast responses is the original message modus plane, namely, the woman’s dissatisfaction by her husband’s inaction. This plan, in its turn, represents the pragmatic mechanism of the subsequent psychological contact between interlocutors. It determines the virtual communication transition from the dictum forms of the extralinguistic reality reflection to the deep affective and situational forms. In other words, the contact between interlocutors, implemented through presentation of contrasting points of view, serve as an indicator of the interlocutors’ emotional picture of the world. The connotative categorization of private facts in the stimulus is the focus of the contrast reactions. We consider the contrasting modus implemented by the reactive comments (3)-(5) as the result of the readers’ axiological activity, the reference point for which appears to be the blogger’s image, her emotional state at the moment of the stimulating message initiating. The emotive evaluations expressed by the readers are mediated by the stereotypical perceptions of the material and ideal sphere phenomena, which are effective for the given socio-cultural groups. In the reactive statements (2)-(3) there is elimination of the premise, which is implicit in the stimulus statement. These statements are introduces with the cohesive means marking the contrast rhetorical relations. The ellipsis in the joint text is activated due to the following pragmatic reasons: the modus component comes to the fore in the virtual communication, the reacting interlocutor highlights emotionally the life principles in which he/she manifests disagreement with the blogger, not subjecting the expressed idea to the strict laws of the hierarchically organized language system. In this case in the emotional commentator reflects the climactic moments of the entire expression representing the contrast. The contrasting replicas with eliminated components convey implicitly the prevalence of the affective over the rational side of the statements. The basic scheme of the pragmatic effectiveness of the constructions with the eliminated components, introduced by the adversative conjunction no/but is objectified given the fact that the rhetorical structures function and are interpreted in a certain communicative context, the given socio-cultural space, the subjects of which are the virtual communication participants. These reactive comments are not free from the subjects’ emotional experience: the addressee is experiencing the same emotions as the blogger, but in rational terms holds different position which gets the direct reflection in the contrast. The emotions experienced by the reader at the moment of commenting initiation are implied with the emphatic focus on the most meaningful component of the propositional structure of the reactive commenting. In the absence of explicit contrast markers (the reactive comments (4)-(5)) the readers’ responses contain the intensifiers in the form of the deontic modality (nel’zja/ impossible, nado/necessary). These components give the commenting the declarative character: the blogger has to accept the assessment of the current state of affairs which - from the readers’ subjective perspective - reflects the maximum deviation of the situation estimated from the natural norms of its essential characteristics. Strengthening the reactive commenting modus component is also implemented by introducing an implicit figurative comparison (Nel’zja byt’ Savraskoj, tjanushhej voz/Can’t be Savraska pulling the load), rhetorical questions (Zachem vam takoj muzh, kotoryj parazitiruet na Vas?/Why do you need a husband who is a parasite on you?, ... ono Vas nado?/do you need it), which manifest the ultimate nature of the negative manifestations of the estimated situation essential parameters. Thus, the responsive comment modus components, constructive the contrast with the stimulating message, inevitably entail the effect of the invasion into the inner sphere of the blogger’s “Ego”, and consequently the emotive impact on her emotional state with the aim to change the current state of affairs. The modus components - along with the dictum content - of the contrasting comments provide the readers with an opportunity to emphasize the power of persuasion, appeal to the blogger’s ratio, establish and continue to support the phatic contact with her. As a result, the blogger, interpreting the “grammar” of the impacts, expresses the agreement with the readers’ contrast views. It is interesting to note that, designing the contrast rhetorical relations, the reader- commenter, compared to the blogger mostly opposes himself/herself as a more rational person, and therefore, the contrasting comments, as a rule, are accompanied by an explanation of why the subject of the comment expresses the contrast (see reactive messaging (3)-(5)). In other words, the reader represents his/her personal contrasting awareness of the situation, in which the blogger turned out to be. Moreover, this situation from the readers’ point of view is in urgent need of the positive resolution with support for the most radical measures. Such justification puts forward previously “mounted” contrast rhetorical structure in the strong semantic position of the responsive commentaries. In the aspect of rhetorical analysis we reveal that the incompatibility between the segments of the virtual text is markedly enhanced if the reader’s eliminated message initiated with the adversative conjunction no/but provides an explanation of the contrast appropriateness. In this case, the contrast rhetorical relations are realized within a single utterance-text, jointly generated by the blogger and the reader. Analyzing the reader’s rhetorical actions in the context of the current virtual communication, we note that the contrast relations, amplified with the reactive comment explanatory segment are used as the pragmatic means of persuading the blogger in the unreasonableness of her life attitudes. In the utterance-text presented in the Diagram 1 the contrast functions as the pragmatic format of the two perspectives representation. The first perspective belongs to the blogger and is interpreted as the emotive reflection of the unjust state of affairs. The second perspective is expressed by the reader and contains the emotionally-critical assessment of the blogger’s inactivity. Based on this rhetorical combination the commenting reader actually declares the potential incompatibility of the proposed approaches, provides this incompatibility in the form of clarification of one of the poles of the utterance-text manifesting the contrast rhetorical relations. In the virtual communication the contrast is treated as the blogger’s problematic position, which potentially suggests an urgent resolution in the subsequent course of communication, i.e., receives expression in the blocks of the subsequent reactive remarks, which, in turn, are the basis for such communicative actions as finding solutions for the problematic situation. The wider context of the virtual collaboration, the involvement of the blogger and readers’ discursive activity emotional and evaluative factors, and the role of such activities in the blog text constructing gives an opportunity to shed light on how the readers’ next moves serve for justifying their contrasting positions. (1) Vmesto togo, chtoby menja soderzhat', soderzhu muzha ja… / Instead to support me, I support my husband… Contrast (3) 1. No vy prosto boites’ ego brosit’, zhaleete, / But you are just afraid to leave him, feel sorry for him (3) 2. na samom dele nekogo zhalet’… / in fact, there is nobody to feel sorry for... Contrast reasoning Diagram 1. Rhetorical contrast structure in the blog text (1)+(3) In the rhetorical structure theory, the relations of the joint search for solutions suggests that one of the text blocks detects the problematic situation and the situation itself, manifested in another block, is treated as the complete or partial solution of the problem (Mann, Matthiessen, and Thompson 1992: 72). Despite the fact that this theory does not reflect the contrast rhetorical relation reasoning as a model that is activated in the problem situation manifestation and finding a resolution to this situation, it stresses that the problem scope includes conditions that have an unfavorable parameters, in particular, frustration (Mann, Matthiessen, and Thompson 1992: 73). According to our observations, from the point of view of implementation in the virtual text, the frustration entails potentially the refutation of the blogger’s expectations. The contrast appears to be a way of expressing the problem situation, which does not meet the blogger’s expectations. The ways out of the problematic situations that accompany the contrast in the readers’ reactive actions, indicate that the interlocutors interpret the contrast in this way. In the stimulating massage the blogger poses the problematic situation, reacting recipient realizes the contrast, in his/her opinion, supported by the optimal way out of the problem situation in the blogger’s life. In the rhetorical context of the communication the ways of resolving the problem situation take the form of explaining that the problem being discussed by the interlocutors appears contrary to the preliminary expectations. Cf.: «- (1) Ja znaju pro depressiju vse… Chuvstvuesh’, vot ona, priblizhaetsja, ponimaesh’ golovoj, chto nuzhno srochno svernut’, vernut’sja na poslednjuju razvilku i pojti drugim putem, no… ne mozhesh’. Tebja kak budto okutyvaet lipkoj pautinoj. I eshhe interesno, chto chem bol’she ty o nej govorish’…, stremjas’ “dokopat’sja do pravdy”, chem bol’she ty vertish’sja, tem bol’she tebja okutyvaet jeta pautina… ja sejchas pishu, i podvergaju sebja strashnomu risku provalit’sja v jeto zlovonnoe boloto apatii, leni i polnejshej podavlennosti… / I know all about depression... I feel here it is, approaching, understand the idea that we need urgently to roll back to the last fork and go the other way, but... I can’t. You as if enveloped in a sticky web. And it is interesting that the more you talk about it ..., trying to “uncover the truth”, the more you twist, the more you are enveloped in this web... I’m writing, and put myself at terrible risk of falling into this fetid swamp of apathy, laziness and utter depression... - (2) U menja tozhe chasto byvajut depressii… No dlja menja depressija - indikator “povyshenija chuvstva sobstvennoj vazhnosti”, takaja procedura ochishhenija dushi... A vy poprobovali v situacii depressii polnost’ju otkljuchat’sja ot svoej lichnosti i nachinat’ nabljudat’ za zhizn’ju bezocenochnym nabljudatelem, uderzhivat’ vnimanie “zdes’ i sejchas” na kakih- to prostyh veshhah?.. I am, too, often in depression... But for me, the depression is the indicator of “increasing the sense of self-importance”, such a procedure of purification of the soul... And have you tried it in a situation of depression to completely disconnect from your identity and begin to observe the life like an unbiased observer, to hold the attention “here and now” on some simple things?.. (3) Depresnjak tozhe chasto byvaet, no mysli o syne i mame vsegda spasajut. Dumaj o blizkih, … govori sama sebe, chto ty ne “trjapka”! / The depression is too often, but the thought of son and mom always save. Think about loved ones ... tell yourself that you’re not a sissy! (4) A mne kazhetsja, stoit najti interesnoe zanjatie / hobbi, chtoby zhizn’ zaigrala novymi kraskami. I grustit’ budet nekogda» / And I think you should find an interesting occupation / hobby, make life sparkle with new colors. There will be no time to be sad» (Live Journal). In the reactive message (2) contrast is modeled as expressing some different understanding of the discussed problem. Implementing the request if the blogger uses specific types of activities to exit from the problem situation, the reacting reader, in fact, offers her own solution to the current situation. Focusing on the solution (in the form of interrogative utterance A vy poprobovali/have you tried..?), the recipient offers the personal interpretation of the contrast as a speech method of the problem situation actualizing, finding a solution which appears to be optimal in the virtual interaction current context. In her reaction the reader reveals consistently the contrasting segment and the segments indicating the way out of this problematic situation. In reactions (3)-(4) the contrast and the indication of the decision for the problem faced by the blogger, are manifested with the same utterance: the contrast position is seen by the reacting readers in the blogger’s inaction, and the readers offer specific measures for preventing possible worsening of the internal problems in the future. In the reactive utterance (3) these measures are then duplicated in the form of the direct imperative acts (dumaj…, govori…/think, say...), emphasizing the urgent and immediate nature of the proposed solution, the negative evaluation of the blogger’s inactivity. In (4) the addressee’s constructive suggestions are expressed in a milder form through the indirect imperative act (stoit najti…/it is necessary to find...), which reduces the categoricalness of the utterance. (1) Ja znaju pro depressiju vse… / I know all about depression... Contrast (2) 1. No dlja menja depressija - indikator… / But for me, the depression is the indicator of… (2) 2. A vy poprobovali / have you tried..? Indicating the ways out of the problem situation Diagram 2. Rhetorical contrast structure in the blog text (1)+(2) The reacting imperative replica is characterized by the formal structure of the constative speech act expressing the reader’s emotional state. The reader herself evaluates neutrally the lack of the blogger’s attempts to change her life situation. Obviously, in this case, the responsive reader does not focus blogger on the contrast as a potential topic of the virtual communication further development. The pragmatic diversity of speech acts, the proposition of which points to the possible ways out of the problematic situations related with the blogger correlates to the virtual communication variable nature of styles and registers. The basic scheme of their pragmatic appropriateness is modeled based on the fact that the reactive utterances operate in the specific rhetorical context, national-cultural situations. The blogger and her addressees are members of these situations. These kind of contrasting reactions are not free from the interlocutors’ emotional experiences and evaluations. The direct and indirect imperative acts, propositions of which contain the constructive suggestions of ways out of the problematic situations are utilized primarily in order to provide the symptomatic reactions to the blogger’s stimulating message. We characterize the responsive utterances as the pragmatic mechanisms on the base of which the addressees implement the optimal control of the processes of virtual communication development. For these actions, the dominant is the basic pragmatic function of establishing and maintaining communicative contact with the blogger. The direct imperative act found in reaction (3), serves as the pragmatic means of expressing the addressee’s emotional state at the moment of responding to the blogger’s stimulating message. The indirect imperative act that occurs in reaction (4), not only captures the emotional state of the reader who is not satisfied with the blogger’s state of affairs, but also points out to the fact that blogger (the object of evaluation), her personal characteristics do not reveal the compliance with the norm of the natural state due to her inactivity. Conclusion In the context of the interlocutors’ virtual interaction the contrast is treated as such the commenting reader’s position, which primarily involves the resolution in the current course of the interaction, i.e. is reflected consistently in the blocks of the jointly generated text, which, in turn, are the basis for the subsequent communicative action such as explanation of the appropriateness of the contrast rhetorical relation modeling. In the virtual communications, the joint combination of the contrastive text segments is formalized as the propositions that are opposed to each other, the negation of the modus information published primarily by the blogger. In the scope of the negation is not so much the dictum component of the blogger’s incentive message, as the modus of this message. The contrast rhetorical relations contribute to identifying the specifics of the reader’s emotional experience in the discussed situation, her characteristic methods of thinking, based on the knowledge of reality. As shown by our study, the model of the contrast rhetorical relations in the jointly generated blog text includes the following segments: the statement about certain life situations in the blogger’s stimulating message; the reader’s contrasting reactive utterance introduced with the adversative conjunction no/but, or not labeled, contextually relevant; justification of the appropriateness of the contrast in the current communicative situation or the indication of the reasons why the current state of affairs in the blogger’s life turned out to be possible; indicating the ways out of the problematic situation faced by the blogger. The second segment of the contrast rhetorical relations focuses the blogger’s attention on the fact that her position in life appears incompatible with the reader’s point of view, and the situation established in the blogger’s life should be resolved in opposite ways. The ways of resolving the situation (the third segment) forms the basis of justification for the reader’s contrasting position, which, in turn, objectifies one more contrast: between the blogger’s critical situation and the required state of affairs. The contrast rhetorical relations are interpreted in our article as the pragmatic mechanism based on which the readers manage the process of deployment of virtual interaction with the blogger. The basic pragmatic function of these relations is the establishment and maintenance of phatic contact with the interlocutor while actualizing the modus component. The contrast reactive utterances capture the national cultural stereotypes that, in turn, determine the material and the ideal sphere of the relevance degree of the recipient’s evaluation activities. Realizing this speech actions, the responsive interlocutors take into account not only the cultural scripts of the axiological activities, but also the relevant stereotypes of such activities, which are defined by the language system. The contrast, the rationale for the contrast, indicating the ways out of the problem situations give rise to personal projection of the scripts, and stereotypes in the blogger’s language consciousness, facilitate the processes of decoding the contrast emotional content and its implicit implications.

About the authors

Inna Victorovna Kovtunenko

Southern Federal University

Author for correspondence.
Email: iv.kovtunenko@yandex.ru
Большая Садовая ул., 105/42, Ростов-на-Дону, Россия, 344006

candidate of philological science, head of the Russian language for foreign students department, Southern Federal University. Research interests: text linguistics, literary and virtual text pragmatic analysis, cognitive poetics, Russian functional and semantic syntax, Russian as a foreign language methodology. The author of more than 20 scientific publications.


  1. Annushkin V.I. (2001). Ritorika i ritoricheskaja kul’tura [Rhetoric and rhetoric culture (p. 87)] // Mir russkogo slova. 3. (In Russ.).
  2. Annushkin V.I. (2016). Sovremennyj status ritoriki i ee vazhnejshie zadachi [Contemporary status of rhetoric and its important tasks (pp. 24—33)] // Ritorika i rechevedcheskie discipliny v uslovijah reformy obrazovanija: Materialy XX Mezhdunarodnoj nauchnoj konferencii. M.: Tezaurus. (In Russ.).
  3. Bazhenkova E.A., Ivanova I.A. (2012). Blog kak internet-zhanr [Blog as vertual dairy (pp. 125—131)] // Vestnik Permskogo universiteta. Rossijskaja i zarubezhnaja filologija. (In Russ.).
  4. Bobrova M.E., Shpil’naja N.N. (2013). Blog kak zhanr internet-kommunikacii [Blog as a genre of internet- communication (pp. 93—95)] // Nauka. Tehnologii. Innovacii: Materialy Vserossijskoj nauchnoj konferencii molodyh uchenyh. Novosibirsk: NGTU. (In Russ.).
  5. Garmasheva T.M. (2010) Problema lichnostnoj identifikacii blog-kommunikacii [The problem of personal identification in blog-connunication (pp. 167—171)] // Nauchnaja mysl’ Kavkaza. (63). (In Russ.).
  6. Garmasheva T.M. (2014). Virtual’naja jazykovaja lichnost’ v prostranstve blog-diskursa [Virtual language personality in the blog-discourse space (pp. 36—40)] // Vestnik Adygejskogo gosudarstvennogo universiteta. Serija 2: Filologija i iskusstvovedenie. 2014. 2(140). (In Russ.).
  7. Gavrilova G.F. (2015). Predlozhenie i tekst: sistemnost’ i funkcional’nost’ [Sentence and text: consistence and functionality]. Rostov-na-Donu. (In Russ.).
  8. Kudryashov I.A., Kalashnikova A.A. (2015) Blog kak sfera realizacii sociokul’turnyh stereotipov [Blog as the sphere of social and cultural stereotype realization (pp. 40—48)] // Aktual’nye problemy filologii i pedagogicheskoj lingvistiki. 2(18). (in Russ.).
  9. Kudryashov I.A., Kalashnikova A.A. (2015). Blog kak sfera predstavlenija stereotipizirovannogo obraza nositelja kul’turno-jazykovyh cennostej [Blog as the sphere of the stereotypical cultural and linguistic values (pp. 25—33)] // Aktual’nye problemy filologii i pedagogicheskoj lingvistiki. 3(19). (in Russ.).
  10. Kudryashov I.A., Kalashnikova A.A. (2015) Verbal’no-semanticheskij uro-ven’ funkcionirovanija jazykovoj lichnosti v internet-kommunikacii [Verbal and semantic level of the language personality functioning in the internet-communication (pp. 24—31)] // Aktual’nye problemy filologii i pedagogicheskoj lingvistiki. 2015. (17). (In Russ.).
  11. Makarov Ju.N. (2016). Internet-blog kak jelement global’noj seti [Internet-blog as an element of the global net (pp. 39—40)] // Gumanitarnye, social’no-jekonomicheskie i obshhestvennye nauki. 1–2. (In Russ.).
  12. Maksimova T.O. (2017). Blog v internet-kommunikacii: struktura, funkcii, literaturnyj potencial [Blog in internet-communication: structure, functions, literaty potential (pp. 124—131)] // Vestnik Cherepoveckogo gosudarstvennogo universiteta. 1(76). (In Russ.).
  13. Mann W.C., Matthiessen Ch.M.I.M., Thompson S.A. (1992). Rhetorical Structure Theory and Text Analysis // Discourse Description: Diverse Linguistic Analyses of a Fund-Raising Text. Amsterdam; Philadelphia: John Benjamins, pp. 39—78.
  14. Marcu D. Building up Rhetorical Structure Trees (1996) // Proceedings of 13-th National Conference on Artificial Intelligence. Portland, Oregon, Vol. 2, pp. 1069—1074.
  15. Panina T.S., Tatarnikova V.S. (2017). Blog kak osobyj zhanr internet-kommunikacii [Blog as a peculiar genre of internet-communication (pp. 89—91)] // Nauka segodnja: opyt, tradicii, innovacii: Materialy Mezhdunarodnoj nauchno-prakticheskoj konferencii. Vologda: «Disput». (In Russ.).
  16. Salihova Ju.R. (2011). Blog i internet-dnevnik: sootnoshenie ponjatij [Blog and internet-diary: correspondence of notions (pp. 171—172)] // Intellekt. Innovacii. Investicii. 1. (In Russ.).
  17. Senchenko N.A. (2015). Blog kak sposob narrativnogo konstruirovanija identichnosti v uslovijah setevoj kul’tury [Blog as a way of narrative constructing the identification in the conditions of the web culture (pp. 100—102)] // Evrazijskij sojuz uchenyh. 1–2. (In Russ.).
  18. Shaklejn V.M. (2011). Differenciacija russkogo jazyka v uslovijah novyh informacionnyh tehnologij [Differentiation of the Russian language in the conditions of new information technologies (pp. 52— 55)] // Izvestija Jugo-Zapadnogo gosudarstvennogo universiteta. Serija: Lingvistika i pedagogika. 2011. 1. (In Russ.).
  19. Shaklejn V.M. (2013). Sovremennaja paradigma lingvokul’turologicheskih issledovanij [Contemporary paradigm of lingual and cultural investigations (pp. 6—12)] // Vestnik Rossijskogo universiteta Druzhby Narodov. Serija: Russkij i inostrannyj jazyki i metodiki ih prepodavanija. 1. (In Russ.).
  20. Shaklejn V.M., Bozhenkova N.A. (2006). O nekotoryh sposobah sozdanija vozmozhnyh lingvokul’turnyh universumov [On some ways of creationg the possible lingual and cultural universes (pp. 202—210)] //Izvestija Tul’skogo gosudarstvennogo universiteta. Jazyk i literatura v mirovom soobshhestve. 9. (In Russ.).
  21. Shmakov A.A. (2011). Vzaimodejstvie pol’zovatelej v blog-kommunikacii: ritoriko-pragmaticheskij aspect [Users’ interaction in blog-communication: rhetorical and pragmatic aspect (pp. 340—343)] // Social’nye varianty jazyka. 7. (In Russ.).
  22. Tarasenko T.V. Blog i grazhdanskie media [Blog and the civil media (pp. 50—53)] // PR i reklama: tradicii i innovacii. № 7–1. (In Russ.).
  23. Zhitenev A.A. (2012). Blog kak prozaicheskaja forma: puti transformacii narrativa [Blog as a prosaic form: Ways of transforming the narrative (pp. 25—35)] // Pamjat’ i narrativ. Voronezh: Nauka-Junipress. (In Russ.).
  24. Zhivoj Zhurnal Britancevoj [Britantseva’s Live Journal]. Retrieved September 25 2017 from: // http:// britantseva.livejournal.com/15657 (In Russ.).



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