Language, culture and ideology in discursive practices

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Discursive practices are looked upon as the core notion of discourse theory and the main instrument linguists can operate with studying language in connection with society and a human being. In this introductory article we will look into how language, culture and ideology are intertwined in diverse discursive practices and how these practices are shaped by people representing various cultures, ideologies and social entities. As part of linguistic discourse theory, we will briefly outline the major objectives and tenets of discourse theory or discourse analysis and track down the reasons why discourse theory turned into a dominant linguistic paradigm in the new millennium. Besides, some light will be thrown on the advancements and debatable questions arising within discourse theory as reflected in its methodology. Then we will give a brief synopsis of each individual paper and highlight theoretical and methodological contributions and innovations proposed by our authors. The results of the discussion as well as a brief outlook on future research will be summed up at the end of the introductory article.

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To imagine a world without discourse is to imagine a world without language and therefore to imagine the unimaginable.

(He 2003: 428)


  1. Introduction

The focus of this issue is discourse and the way it is molded by homo loquens in different spheres of human activities. The authors of the issue throw light on how language, culture and ideology are intertwined in diverse discursive practices and how these practices are shaped by people representing various cultures, ideologies and social entities. This is not the first issue of our journal that is devoted to discourse and discursive practices (see issues 2006, 4; 2017, 1; 2018, 1; 2019, 4). But there is a certain reason why we continue this quest. Discourse is a cover term including all forms of language use, which makes discourse the only known real linguistic object (Kibrik 2009: 1). Notwithstanding the fact that many a book (Blommaert 2005, Fairclough 1992, 2003, Gee 2007, Johnstone 2018, Karasik 2002, Schiffrin 1995, van Dijk 2006, 2009, 2011 and many more) is devoted to discourse, it has not lost its attraction to linguists due to several important reasons. It enables researchers to focus their effort on a human engaged in any kind of activity or interaction. In discourse studies speakers acquired diverse characteristics as biological, social, cultural, ethnic, professional beings and, as a consequence, the understanding of the significance of all types of environment in speech production led to the awareness of its formative role in the use of language at large. Discourse made it possible to ‘put language, action, interaction, values, beliefs, symbols, objects, tools, and places together in such a way that others recognize you as a particular type of who (identity) engaged in a particular type of what (activity), here and now’ (Gee 1999: 27). Thus, le langage, the ethereal and insufficiently substantiated notion which was put forward by Saussure, became more tangible.


  1. Major tenets and objectives of discourse theory

For several decades, linguists had been concentrating their effort on the structure of language (Saussure’s la langue) until it became evident that linguistics could not stay within those rigorous borders (Yule 1999: 139—140). First the mesmerizing effect of language in use made scholars shift their attention to speech (Saussure’s parole). Then the combination of diverse factors, including the emergence of the term discourse in Harris’s work in 1952 (Harris 1952), Chomsky’s revolution in linguistics with his emphasis on competence vs. performance (Chomsky 1965), the study of discourse by French scholars (e.g. Foucault 1981, 1994), to name just a few — all led to an understanding of discourse as some kind of fabric produced by homo loquens (Hagege 1985) with two major interwoven threads, those of language and reality (Foucault 1994).

A comprehensive study of discourse began with the scholars’ search for the universal definition of this phenomenon which is characterized by a complex and multidimensional nature. In this respect eight approaches to the definition of discourse outlined by Sériot (Seriot 1999) are still quite representative and expository, starting with the interpretation of discourse as an equivalent to Saussure’s parole and going to the conditions under which a certain text is generated, with all the restrictions set by the former (ibid.: 26—27). Eventually, discourse got its interpretation as a human activity aimed at creating some meaningful thought in a verbalized form. This approach brought to the fore the circumstances discourse is created in and the individual it is connected with. As a consequence, linguists turned to the study of an interplay of different factors that operate in discourse, shaping and molding it in the speaker’s mode. In the long run, a human being became the centerpiece of linguistic studies with discourse as the major manifestation of human activities and their multifarious relations.

In the network of the relationships between humans, language and culture, humans are defined as biological, social and cultural beings with all these aspects closely bound together and constituting a single integral, inseparable package. Biological characteristics of humans determined by the evolution and genetic data are gradually transformed in the accommodation-assimilation processes and modified through social interaction and socialization, thus converting humans into social and cultural beings (Dolník 2015). The awareness that people as biological, social and cultural beings use language to mediate all their activities encouraged linguists to study language in various contexts, which they believed would help to untie that tight knot. The statement made by Nunan (1993) that “discourse brings together language, the individual producing the language, and the context within which the language is used” (1999: 6—7), is shared by all those who these days deal with discourse in linguistics. It is generally agreed that the term “discourse usually refers to the interpretation of the communicative event in context” (Dijk 2009: 1). This makes context an essential concept in discourse analysis (Nefedov & Chernyavskaya 2020). Context as “a set of relevant properties of the communicative situations of verbal interaction” (Dijk 2009: vii) refers to the situation giving rise to discourse, and within which discourse is embedded. In this light discourse “refers to the set of norms, preferences, and expectations relating language to context, which language users draw on and modify in producing and making sense out of language in context” (Saville-Troike 1994: 358).

Traditionally, linguists single out two different types of context. The first of these is linguistic or verbal context (also referred to as micro-context or co-text), i.e. the language that surrounds or accompanies a piece of discourse under analysis. The second is non-linguistic or non-verbal or experiential context within which discourse takes place (also referred to as macro-context). It is shaped by a number of factors including the type of communicative event (e.g. a joke, a story, a lecture, etc.); the topic; the purpose of the event; the setting; the participants and the relationships between them; and the background knowledge underlying the communicative event (Nunan 1993: 7—8). As Kecskes (2014) points out, in linguistics “contexts usually refer to any factor — linguistic, epistemic, physical, social — that affects the actual interpretation of signs and expressions” (Kecskes 2014: 35). He suggests distinguishing between prior context which is in our mind (pragmatic context) and actual situational context, emphasizing that “meaning is the result of the interplay of prior experience and current, actual situational experience, which are both socio-cultural in nature” (ibid: 129).

The use of language in a variety of contexts (situational, geographic, historical, structural, institutional), a discourse, is also understood as a three-dimensional concept (as text, discursive practice and social practice) (Fairclough 1992). As a social practice discourse is an entity embedded in social and historical context. What is more, it subsequently participates in the social construction of reality and is responsible for socially modeling a community and creating social identities, enhancing knowledge, shaping social relations and generating complex discursive practices and discourse conventions (Resta 1998, van Dijk 2006).

Another important finding that came with discourse studies was the understanding of cognition and discourse closely tied together. It became clear that “discourse intervenes between thought and reality” (Williams 1999: 23). Within the cognitive framework of discourse theory, it is argued that humans mentally capture their environment and integrate it into concepts, systems and relationships, i.e. conceptualize it. Conceptualization can be understood as a mental grasp, segmentation, specification and categorization of data pertaining to the material and abstract world and subsequently processing it in thought and language. In individual lingua-cultural communities, these processes take place within specific interpretation frameworks governed by the internalized cultural patterns and conventions. Thus, in different cultures, people schematize their experience and knowledge of the world differently. As a result, languages differ on the basis of “accumulated declarative knowledge <...> and culturally conditioned schemes” (Kecskes & Papp 2000), in other words, languages are socially and culturally embedded entities.

Discourse analysis became a dominant paradigm ranging over all the human sciences, an air du temps, in Sériot’s terms (Sériot 2012: 18). Researchers belonging to different linguistic schools tried to describe formal and functional features of the latter (Schiffrin 1995). Later on, a third dimension of the discourse was added, that was the description of topoi underlying its certain types (Dobrosklonskaya 2014: 182). Thus, discourse made an overwhelming object of analysis uniting the humanities in their search for semiotically expressed (Fairclough 2004: 225—226) social psychological, sociological, and anthropological patterns (Dijk 2009) of reproducing social identity.


  1. Modern challenges for discourse theory

Modern linguistic discourse studies develop in several directions predetermined by a complex nature of the phenomenon under scrutiny. Scholars have been trying to achieve more precision in defining the object and the subject matter of discourse theory. Besides, another challenge is elaborating reliable methods which could be used in linguistics to explore the sphere of analysis, to describe types of discourse and discursive practices engaged in order to maintain existing or emerging social relations.

In compliance with the socio-philosophical understanding of discourse, initially, linguists turned to those spheres of communication where power and domination in society was consistently reproduced (van Dijk 2011: xvii). These were political (van Dijk 2006, Fairclough 1989), news (van Dijk 1988, Fowler 1991), mass media (van Dijk 1985), and legal (Goodrich 1987) discourses. Very soon this list grew and linguists’ interest turned to such spheres as advertising (Cook 1992), marketing (Skålén et al. 2008), medical (e.g. Good, Del Vecchio Good 1981, Locher 2017), classroom (e.g. Christie 2002), academic (e.g. Hyland 2009) discourses. All these types of discourse retain their scholarly significance, with the scope of research only widening when it comes to political (e.g. Beard 2000, Chilton 2004, Ponton 2016, Sheigal 2004, Solopova & Chudinov 2018,), mass media (e.g. Bell & Garett 1992, Dobrosklonskaya 2014, Dubrovskaya & Kozhemyakin 2016; Larina et al 2019, Macdonald 2003, Matheson 2005, Ozyumenko 2017, Talbot 2007), news (e.g. Bednarek 2006, Montgomery 2007), religious (e.g. Bobyreva 2007, Naydenova 2018, Wierzbicka 2018) and judicial / legal (e.g. Gotti & Williams. 2003, Dubrovskaya 2017) discourses. Moreover, linguists started reconnoitering new spheres, including Internet discourse (Crystal 2010), entertainment / leisure and consumer discourse (e.g. Fullagar 2002, Molodychenko 2016), lifestyle discourse (e.g. Ivanova 2019, Molodychenko 2020), tourist discourse (e.g. Jaworski, Thurlow 2010), gender discourse (e.g. Mills 2003), sports discourse (e.g. Koshkarova 2019), gastronomic discourse (e.g. Olyanich 2003), urban discourse (e.g. Leontovich 2019), green discourse (e.g. Alexander & Stibbe 2014) and many others. This all proves the statement made by Issers that the list of types of discourse can never be complete (Issers 2011: 227).

The framework of discourse theory provided an important perspective for many objects of linguistic description. One of these new fields of discourse theory expansion became the study of emotions (e.g. Alba-Juez & Larina 2018, Mackenzie & Alba-Juez 2019, Shahovsky 2015, 2018; among many others). Linguists saw a link between emotions and certain contexts which generate “a multimodal discourse process, which permeates all linguistic levels but also manifests itself in non-verbal ways, presenting different stages and forms (influenced by variables such as pragmatic expectations or common-ground knowledge) according as the discursive situation and interaction changes and evolves” (Mackenzie & Laura Alba-Juez 2019: 18). The discourse approach to emotion made it possible to show this phenomenon as a dynamic, discourse-pragmatic entity. This “emotional turn” inevitably caused some changes in the subject matter of discourse analysis — it went far beyond current knowledge of how a human being constructs their social identity in different types of interaction (e.g. Langlotz & Locher 2017, Larina et al 2017).

A salient field of exploration discourse analysis borders on is communication. What do spheres, types and forms of communication, on the one hand, and types of discourse, on the other —have in common and what are their distinctive features so that linguists could tell them apart? Interestingly, discourse analysis gave rise to a term that unites these two notions, i.e. a discursive practice. The scope of interpretation of this Foucauldian term ranges from “the production, distribution and consumption of texts” (Fairclough 1992: 5, 73, 2010) to “the practices (or operations) of discourses, meaning knowledge formations” without any reference to linguistic practices or language use (Bacchi & Bonham 2014: 173). In spite of this contradiction between scholars, the majority of linguists follow the “linguistic turn” according to which discursive practices are a linguistic reflection of social practices defined as “a relatively stabilised form of social activity” (Fairclough 2001: 231). Therefore, scholars delve into the analysis of discursive practices as mechanisms of discursive construction of various types of relations, starting with power distribution and going into diverse types of communication. In this respect it is only logical that the study of discourse turned out to be closely connected with the study of communication with its various communication strategies.

Another case of the extension of the discourse analysis field is incorporating the study of im/politeness strategies converting them into discursive practices. The discursive approach to politeness (Eelen 2001, Mills 2003, Watts 2003) gave a new impetus to the development of the theory of politeness, significantly widening its scope. The most important contributions of the discursive turn were “to remind us of the evaluative and situated nature of concepts such as impoliteness or politeness, the importance that emotions play in assessments and to argue for the link of identity construction with these processes of judging” (Locher & Larina 2019: 875).The study of impoliteness also emerges from the discursive focus on language (e.g. Bousfield & Locher 2008, Culpeper 2011, Garcés-Conejos Blitvich & Sifianou 2019). As Culpepper (2011) rightly states, impoliteness is an important aspect of social life and it plays a central role in many discourses which are rarely described in detail (Culpeper 2011: xiii). Both politeness and impoliteness involve the study of particular communicative behaviour in social interaction with the focus on context (e.g. Bousfield 2008, Fernández-Amaya 2019).

Within linguistics, discourse analysis posited another set of acute questions since it was necessary to fit in the new object of analysis and find its own niche in relation to traditional spheres of linguistic analysis. Discourse understood as a Gestalt-cognitive entity having a certain invariant model and characterized by prototypical properties, was confronted with the long-existing and well-established notions recognized by the scholarly community of linguists and philologists, in this case that of genre as ‘as a set of expectations that a reader acquires from his/her reading’, ‘a self-contained system with its own codes and conventions’ (Corbett 2009: 287). There was an opinion that linguistics should shun the notion of genre and replace it by the term discourse. It took time to work out a balanced approach and make the terminology compatible. Now genre studies within discourse analysis (e.g. Dementyev 2016, Fuentes Rodríguez &  Álvarez-Benito 2016, Garcés-Conejos Blitvich, 2010, Ivanova 2017) is a topical issue (Dijk 2009: 8). It should be understood that this seems to be not only a problem of terminology but also of what we, linguists, really work with when it comes to studying units larger than sentence, the embodiment of language in use.

This broadening of the subject matter and diversification of the object of analysis brought about another challenge for linguists involved in discourse analysis, i.e. the choice of methods and the veritability of results they yield. Needless to say, the extent and the severity of the methodological problem are predetermined by the multidimensional nature of discourse and its status in the humanities. It is common knowledge that linguistic discourse analysis is an outcropping of discourse analysis in the humanities which emerged in the 1960s. Due to French structuralism discourse came into research as an object of sociology. Thus, it was first studied in social sciences with the help of sociological methods. It took linguistic discourse analysis some time to elaborate its own approach to research. The seminal publications (Jørgensen & Phillips 2002, Titscher et al. 2000) made quite a step in this respect expounding a whole array of methods which could be employed by discourse analysts.

Another difficulty with methodology stems from the inter- or even transdisciplinary status of discourse analysis. The focus of discourse theory or discourse analysis on language, society and a human being requires research within overlapping boundaries of different research fields. It brings in interdisciplinary methods and interdisciplinary teams to work on the problems put to the fore. Interdiciplinarity has always been an integral tenet of discourse analysis, critical discourse analysis (CDA) or critical discourse studies (CDS). Unger (2016) finds this approach as the manifestation of linguistic scholars’ natural need to cross “the sometimes staid and rigid disciplinary boundaries of linguistics” (Unger 2016: 2). This approach is taken at theoretical, methodological and research context levels in that discourse analysis or CDS draws on other fields of inquiry (such as sociology, psychology, cognitive science, philosophy, etc.), makes use of methodologies also applied in different fields (text linguistics, corpus linguistics, ethnography, etc.) and explores all kinds of phenomena which share an affinity with the use of language. As a proponent of interdisciplinarity, he claims that “looking sideways” may be beneficial for discourse analysts in making an effort to incorporate theories from different disciplines into their analysis in order to better grasp discursive practices in their social contexts (Unger 2016: 2). In his analysis of diverse CDS approaches, Unger (2016) observes that they are aligned to three dimensions, namely textual, social and cognitive/mental. These dimensions are interrelated and involved in each approach, though to varying degrees, thus laying varied emphasis on investigating and clarifying phenomena that are respectively textual, social or cognitive/mental.

All these problems have been actively discussed in the framework of discourse theory and scholarly fields adjacent to it. In the recent years, more often than before, scholarly publishing on the problems of discourse theory has significantly expanded in volume and the number of conferences on this topical issue has been only increasing. The idea of this issue was born at “Language in Modern Discursive Practices”, within the Firsova Readings — IV, a traditional biannual conference that was held on October 22—23, 2019 at the RUDN University supported by the Institute of modern languages, intercultural communication and migrations. The international team of plenary speakers — Miriam A. Locher (University of Basel, Switzerland), Laura Alba-Juez (UNED, Madrid), Magdaléna Bilá and Ingrida Vaňková (University of Prešov, Slovakia), Dániel Z. Kádár (Hungarian Academy of Sciences & Dalian University of Foreign Languages), Monika Kopytowska (Lodz University, Poland) — covered many of the problems addressed in this issue. The reports presented showed that discursive practices are being researched in different types of discourse and they could be analyzed from different perspectives: the way they are employed to express emotions, politeness and impoliteness, hate speech, etc.

  1. Issues covered in the collection

This issue is coming out in hard times and we are thankful to everyone who, at this difficult time of corona virus pandemic, continues to work and share their thoughts and ideas, including those related to challenges that go beyond the field of linguistics. The issue opens with Anna Wierzbicka’s address to all of us united in our fight against the pandemic which acquired the shape of a global social event, with seven essential messages. Using her Natural Semantic Metalanguage method, which allows thoughts to be accurately conveyed in all languages of the world (Goddard and Wierzbicka 20014, Wierzbicka 1996), Anna Wierzbicka has found simple, transparent words — words that can be understood and taken in instantaneously, by anyone. We can only hope that these words can help us cope with the hardships and difficulties of this period, find new prospects and stay positive.

All the works presented on the pages of the special issue focus on the analysis of discursive practices. Studying different angles of the language, culture and ideology interaction through the prism of discourse, the authors thereby expand and refine our knowledge about the processes of social life occurring at the micro and macro levels. The basis for research of this kind stems from the idea that discourse “involves focusing upon a social construction of meaning” (Williams 1999: 5).

Anna Wierzbicka’s address is followed by her article “Addressing God in European languages: Different meanings, different cultural attitudes” in which she investigates how speakers of different European languages tend to relate to God. The aim the author sets complies with an understanding that as cultural beings, humans manifest themselves through standardized manners of accommodative behavior. In the course of socialization, humans develop a variety of (verbal) behavior patterns and various modes of interpreting the world, which results in the emergence of an array of lingua-cultural communities (Dolník 2015). The relationship between humans, language and culture has been the focus of research in humanities from the very beginning. This interest has been an ongoing feature of modern linguistics for quite a while and it reveals the way language is used to serve its purpose according to the aim of the user, the context of use and the internalized cultural patterns governing its mechanisms. Thus, each lingua-culture has their own characteristic ways of addressing God, encoded in certain words, phrases, grammatical forms, and formulae which both reflect and shape the speakers’ habitual ways of thinking about God and relating to God. Often, they also reflect some other aspects of their cultural memory and historical experience. The results of the study show that each European language offers its users a range of options for addressing God. Some of these options are shared; others appear to be unique to the language. All are underpinned by broader historical phenomena. Still as the author maintains, the exact nature of all these links remains to be investigated.

During socialization, people develop different (verbal) patterns of behavior and different ways of interpreting the world, which leads to the emergence of many language communities (Dolník 2015). The next three articles of the current issue examine the relationship between ideology, identity and language in various discursive practices in different language communities. Ideologies represent social groups, define and are defined by their social practices.

Language is all around us, permeating our public and private lives, materialized in the form of speech sounds and displayed in texts taking the form of shop signs, public and private notices, posters, commercial slogans, etc. Martin Pütz explores the linguistic landscape of Cameroon sharing his reflections on language policy and ideology. He dwells on linguistic landscape as a relatively recent area of research, which he defines as the visual representation of languages in public space. Cameroon’s linguistic landscape is composed of English, French, Pidgin English, Camfranglais and, to a minor degree, indigenous African languages. This paper shows that the field of linguistic landscapes can act as a reflection of linguistic hierarchies, ideologies and acts of resistance in multilingual and multicultural communities. Besides, in Cameroon the linguistic landscape almost exclusively focuses on the dominant status and role of one single language, i.e. French, and to a lesser extent English, whose speakers therefore feel marginalized and oppressed by the French-favouring government. The paper presents certain interest from the point of view of its methodology as the author analyses more than 600 linguistic tokens (digital photos) that he collected in various public places mainly in and around the Cameroonian capital of Yaoundé.

Stephany Moody and Zohreh Eslami turn to political discourse, code-switching and ideology. The authors concentrate on mechanisms of manipulation, suggestion, and persuasion inherent in language. They study code-switching in political discourse, which is considered as one of the discursive practices employed by bi- and multilinguals. Through these practices, they utilize their entire linguistic repertoires to create meaning by way of switching between two or more available languages or dialects with respect to certain extralinguistic factors to gain support of their political followers. Code-switching captures the historical, political and social embeddedness of language practices and the manners in which these practices are intertwined with ideologies. Based on language ideologies framework, the paper seeks to determine how code-switching was used as political discourse by Senator Kaine, and how its use varied based on the context of each speech. The study illustrates how code-switching can be used to cultivate political favour, forge alliances, and demonstrate cultural similarities between white politicians and bi- and multilingual voters.

In their paper, Magdaléna Bilá, Alena Kačmárová and Ingrida Vaňková address the encounter of two lingua-cultures through the perspective of social deixis. It is a well-known fact that in most languages, mainly European ones, conveying social deixis operates on a sliding scale between two extremes:
T and V forms. The paper reports on research on Slovak and English languages that respectively have and lack overt T/V markers. The uniqueness of English vs. Slovak cultural identity and/or discursive practice of the respective culture with regard to expressing social distance are examined in two steps. Firstly, the related concepts (a cultural identity, social distance, T/V forms) are analyzed by means of the conceptualizing scheme (frame establishment, encoding/pre-understanding, contextualization/salience, and code configuration). Secondly, the questionnaires were designed based on the outcomes of the conceptualization process involving a set of principles. The outcomes of the investigation show that conceptualization of T vs V or informal vs. formal may stem from the conceptualization of social distance in terms of a set of principles, the conceptualization of the specific principle in terms of the relationship types, the conceptualization of the relationship type in terms of a specific culture and the conceptualization of a culture-specific relationship type through language means (T or V).

Various discursive practices are discussed in a number of articles. Natalia Sokolova brings to the fore some methodological questions in her integrated approach investigation analyses of multimodal marketing discourse. The paper investigates the multimodal website marketing discourse relying on an approach which makes use of multimodal critical discourse analysis, pragmatics, and text linguistics. The integrated framework allows for consideration of the discourse-generating intention of the locutionary source, the discourse function, verbal content categories and audio-visual techniques employed in the nonverbal discourse contributing to the global category of ideologeme made of key ideas and aimed at the locutionary target. It is of particular interest that the linguistic means in the three marketing discourses under analysis are different only when it comes to metaphorical expressions. The global ideologeme is made explicit by urging customers to optimize data and feel IT-powered performance benefits. It is conveyed through multiple antitheses, such as data challenges vs. one solution, previously vs. now, old vs. new and slowly vs. fast. The antitheses in the three marketing discourses are similar as are the typical manifestations of categories and audio-visual techniques which may encourage further research in terms of making the specific discourse of a company stand out to its customers.

Svetlana Ivanova and Gulnara Khakimova investigate celebrity gossip as a genre in English-language mass media discourse. The paper studies rumours as a specific communication phenomenon and the discursive practices by means of which it is realized across the Anglophone mass media discourse continuum. The integrative approach with various methods employed makes it possible to gain an insight into media rumours, namely celebrity gossip, manifested in on-line versions of the printed press and original web outlets. The study reveals restrictions imposed on this text type and the range of topics discussed, i.e. what makes this genre distinct from others. The structure of the celebrity gossip discourse is represented by texts in different journalistic forms: ranging from informative genres to feature type variations used by authors as means of constructing celebrity culture. The information of trivial content and questionable validity because of its unverified character is disguised as reports of high testimonial trustworthiness and epistemic value with the help of a variety of language and textual resources. The authors argue that within the mass media communication there exists a specific discourse which is hybrid by nature and non-evidential by verification.

Aleksey Romanov and Olga Novoselova unveil pragmatic effectiveness of threat statements in political communication. The aim of the article is to consider pre-election statements with the meaning of threat as verbal regulative actions and to propose a typology of such constructive menacives taking into account the targeted orientation of their consequent component. The theoretical framework of the study is made up by the theory of speech activity, speech act theory and psychosemantics. The study identified 18 targeted types of menacives from the point of view of their pragmatic and emotional potential for influencing voters which are characterized by different frequencies in pre-election programs. The authors conclude that politicians deliberately prefer to use threat statements with consequent effect on an unfocused audience trying to win the attention and votes. The analysis shows that four types of threat statements with different targeting of consequent component was a pragmatically effective tool in the context of the Russian pre-election campaign in 2018. The results of this study can be used to predict the pragmatic effect of politicians’ threat statements on voters.

Sergey Pashkov in his work accentuates the importance of the holistic view of the world that is relevant for text studies. The purpose of the article is to analyze and classify the language means representing emotions which biblical characters attribute to God. On the basis of theological interpretation of the antinomy ‘God’s immutability-God’s emotions’ the author substantiates (1) the introduction of the term ‘attribution of emotions’ in the conceptual and terminological apparatus of emotiology explicating the specificity of biblical emotive meanings; (2) the analysis of the depicted biblical space in the emotive aspect; (3) the interpretation of biblical characters’ activity as a cause of emotions attributed to God. The language analysis is carried out with the help of the notion of the emotional script. This notion helps to present the systemic description of emotion development that is the cause of its emergence and the corresponding response. The methodological approaches employed in the study include the definitional, contextual, emotive, and lingua-stylistic analyses, with reference to the historical and cultural context. The study results in classifying the following types of lexemes: 1) representing the cause of emotions attributed to God; 2) representing emotions attributed to God; 3) representing the biblical space perceived by characters as a ‘reaction’ to emotions attributed to God. Proceeding from the theandric nature of Jesus Christ, His depicted emotions are treated as a manifestation of His human nature. The study has allowed the author to give linguistic substance to one of the antinomies of Christian understanding of God and to project a new prospect of further linguistic research on Christian dogmata from an emotive perspective.

It is only logical that the conclusive contribution by Lara Sinelnikova puts the final touch to the questions discussed. Lara Sinelnikova’s contribution delves into the conceptual environment of the frontier discourse in the humanities and, thus, finalizes the discussion of the problems touched upon in the current issue. The author argues that frontier concept has been familiar to scholars for a long time and its main characteristics, including its flexible borders, its conceptualization as a zone of space development characterized by uncertainty and instability, proved their importance for understanding and describing the current state of the environment in its social, cultural, communicative and linguistic indicators. The interdisciplinary (transcendental) potential of a frontier is realized in a complementary combination of natural sciences and humanities. The author aims at justifying the scientific integrity of the term ‘frontier discourse’, whose conceptual environment is created through two overlapping multi-layer phenomena: frontier and discourse. The article names the vectors of expanding the interdisciplinary potential of frontier under the conditions of a discourse approach. Frontier as a flexible border is presented in the internet communication, the socio-cultural space of the modern city, in the daily behavioural norms of the elite, in the in-family relations and in many other conceptual spheres, whose list remains open due to the ontological features of the concept in question. Based on the examples from literature, the author demonstrates the role of the frontier modus in the interpretation of literary texts, whose plot, style and images are projected onto national history, culture, mentality in their by-border characteristics. Such frontier features as instability, its ability to create an interaction zone, which, under certain conditions, can lead to integration, are important for understanding the problems of modern language, speech and genre norms. The by-border territory is a place of accumulating violations of traditional norms and the material necessary to forecast the arising norm changes. The transformation of traditional genres and the formation of new ones also take place on the frontier territories. It is concluded that frontier discourse ensures the understanding of norm shifts in genre-stylistic characteristics.

The current volume contains two reviews on the issues closely connected with the topic under study. Etsuko Oishi reviews the book edited by well-known scholars of the theory of politeness and impoliteness Jonathan Culpeper, Michael Haugh and Dániel Z. Kádár (2017) The Palgrave Handbook of Linguistic (Im)politeness. In her review she underscores a desired balance between theory and application which is achieved by the contributors. The book unfolds the concept of impoliteness and brings a new perspective to the (im)politeness research: impoliteness as well as politeness manifests as facework strategies achieved discursively.

Marianna Ryshina-Pankova reviews the book edited by two prominent researchers of discourse and emotions J. Lachlan Mackenzie and Laura Alba-Juez (2019) Emotion in Discourse. This collection of articles instantiates what has been called the “emotional turn” in the human sciences and specifically in the study of language (see also Alba-Juez & Larina, 2018, a special issue of this journal devoted to this theme). The volume focuses on the crucial importance of emotion in human communication and on the construal of emotions through language. Presenting the latest theoretical and empirical research on this matter, the book aims to provide a detailed account of the interaction of emotion, language, language proficiency, culture, and discourse.

  1. Discussion and outlook

The emergence of discourse analysis stems from the idea to explore a human being in their social environment. “Discourse analytical approaches take as their starting point the claim of structuralist and poststructuralist linguistic philosophy, that our access to reality is always through language” (Jørgensen & Phillips 2002: 8). With discourse analysis prescriptive and normative linguistics yielded its way to investigating language in use as the main prerogative and indisputable priority of linguistic studies. This paradigm has not exhausted itself; it still has a lot to explore to answer the eternal question of linguistics, how the human language functions when a human being uses it to achieve certain communicative aims. The current issue testifies that “discourse analysis is in constant evolution, and continues to expand in the range and scope of its research activities” (Ponton & Larina 2017: 12) and we cannot but agree more. Linguists are still elaborating and substantiating a full integrative framework of the theory of discourse with many variables falling into the picture.


About the authors

Magdaléna Bilá

University of Prešov

Author for correspondence.

Dr. of Philology, Full Professor at the Institute of British and American Studies, Faculty of Arts

Prešov, Slovakia

Svetlana V. Ivanova

Pushkin Leningrad State University


Dr. of Philology, Full Professor, Head of English Philology Department

Saint Petersburg, Russia


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