Vol 24, No 2 (2020): Language, culture and ideology in discursive practices


Language, culture and ideology in discursive practices

Bilá M., Ivanova S.V.


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.

Russian Journal of Linguistics. 2020;24(2):219-252
pages 219-252 views

Seven essential messages for the time of the coronavirus

Wierzbicka A.



Russian Journal of Linguistics. 2020;24(2):253-258
pages 253-258 views

Addressing God in European languages: Different meanings, different cultural attitudes

Wierzbicka A.


All European languages have a word for God, and this word means exactly the same in all of them. However, speakers of different European languages tend to relate to God in different ways. Each group has its own characteristic ways of addressing God, encoded in certain words, phrases and grammatical forms, 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. In this paper I will compare the meanings of the vocative expressions used for addressing God in several European languages, including “Gospodi” in Russian, “O God” in English, “Mon Dieu” in French, “Herr” in German, and “Boże” in Polish. But to compare those meanings, we need a common measure. I believe such a common measure is available in the “NSM” framework, from Natural Semantic Metalanguage (see e.g. Goddard and Wierzbicka, 2014; Wierzbicka 2014a and 2018a; Gladkova and Larina 2018a, b). The data is taken mainly from well-known works of literature, such as Lev Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina and Boris Pasternak’s poem “V bol’nice” (“In Hospital”) for Russian, Charles Peguy’s Le mystère de la charité de Jeanne d’Arc and its English translation by Julien Green for French and English, and Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s prison poems and Heinrich Böll’s novel Billard um halbzehn for German. The results have shown 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. The exact nature of all these links remains to be investigated.

Russian Journal of Linguistics. 2020;24(2):259-293
pages 259-293 views

Exploring the linguistic landscape of Cameroon: Reflections on language policy and ideology

Pütz M.


This contribution focuses on the study of Linguistic Landscapes in the Central/Western African state of Cameroon, with particular reference to its capital, Yaoundé. Linguistic landscapes is a relatively recent area of research, and can be broadly defined as the visual representation of languages in public space. This paper will show that the field of linguistic landscapes can act as a reflection of linguistic hierarchies, ideologies and acts of resistance in multilingual and multicultural communities. At the same time, the sociolinguistic situation in the country will be investigated, which is paramount to understanding the linguistic and ideological conflicts between the anglophone minority and the francophone government. Cameroon’s linguistic landscape will be explored via the various spaces that English, French, Pidgin English, Camfranglais and, to a minor degree, indigenous African languages occupy in its sociolinguistic composition. The methodological design is quantitative in nature, involving collecting more than 600 linguistic tokens (digital photos) in various public places mainly in and around the Cameroonian capital of Yaoundé. It will be demonstrated that the deployment of languages on signs and linguistic tokens, apart from serving informative and symbolic functions for the audiences or passers-by they target, also has social and political implications in an ethnically heterogeneous and linguistically hybrid society such as Cameroon. Whereas in some other former British colonies there are indications that the public space is being symbolically constructed in order to preserve some of Africa’s indigenous languages (e.g. in Botswana, Rwanda, Tanzania), 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 government.

Russian Journal of Linguistics. 2020;24(2):294-324
pages 294-324 views

Political Discourse, Code-Switching, and Ideology

Moody S., Eslami Z.R.


Language and Ideology is an area of critical discourse analysis that has increasingly gained importance in the linguistic sciences. The vast influence of the media has provided a need for the explicit analysis of common linguistic mechanisms, particularly those in political discourse. Codeswitching, general pattern in a speech community of switching between two or more available languages or dialects with respect to certain extralinguistic factors (Blom & Gumperz 1972) is strategically employed by politicians to gain support for elections (Jarraya 2013; Craig 2013). Senator Tim Kaine was one of the first White politicians to engage in code-switching during the 2016 presidential election, however his use of Spanish when engaging in political discourse was met with great resistance and skepticism by the media and voters, many of whom felt that he was pandering to Spanish-speaking citizens. Using a language ideologies framework, the present paper seeks to determine how code-switching was used as a political discourse device by Senator Kaine, and how its use varied based on the context of each speech. To answer these questions, four speeches given by Senator Tim Kaine during the 2016 presidential campaign were transcribed and translated. Following descriptive coding procedures by Saldaña (2015), two raters coded instances of codeswitching in each speech for key features of political discourse: a) dissemination of personal information or background; b) repetition; c) hyperbole; d) metaphor; e) metonymy; f) comparisons; 1. promises for the future; h) solidarity; i) legitimization of self as authority; and j) florid verbiage. Results show that Senator Kaine relied most heavily on code-switching during his speech in Miami, Florida, and used it as a tactic to gain support and build solidarity between himself and members of the audience. Additionally, Senator Kaine engaged in much repetition through code-switching to emphasize key points of his speech and political goals. The present study illustrates how codeswitching can be used to cultivate political favor, forge alliances, and demonstrate cultural similarities between White politicians and biand multilingual voters.

Russian Journal of Linguistics. 2020;24(2):325-343
pages 325-343 views

The encounter of two cultural identities: The case of social deixis

Bilá M., Kačmárová A., Vaňková I.


In contact with foreign environment, the encounter of two (or more) cultures is common in situations with an incompatible cultural aspect. A typical example is T-V distinction. In most languages, mainly European ones, conveying social deixis oscillates between two poles: T and V forms. Present-day English is the only mainstream language with the absence of morphological markers for conveying T/V relationships. The present research examines the concept of expressing social distance in Slovak and in English, languages respectively having and lacking overt T/V markers, in order to specify the distinctiveness of English vs. Slovak lingua-cultural identity and/or discursive practice of the respective culture with regard to expressing social distance. This is done in two steps. Firstly, the underlying concepts (a lingua-cultural identity, social distance, T/V forms) are studied by means of the conceptualizing scheme (Kačmárová, Bilá, Vaňková 2018); its essence lies in accounting for and in aligning four sub-processes: frame establishment, encoding (pre-understanding), contextualization (salience), and code configuration. The conceptualization process utilized a set of principles (adopted from Clyne, Norrby & Warren 2009). Secondly, based on the theoretical results, the questionnaires were designed. The questions for native speakers of Slovak examined the preferences in the usage of T vs. V forms; the questions for native speakers of English examined the preferences in the usage of informal vs. formal ways of communication. The present study indicates that the conceptualizing process may as well be of hierarchical nature. Thus, the mere conceptualization of T vs. V or informal vs. formal may emanate 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).

Russian Journal of Linguistics. 2020;24(2):344-365
pages 344-365 views

Multimodal IT marketing discourse: An integrated approach investigation

Sokolova N.V.


Websites of software vendors feature verbal and nonverbal means providing for a number of parameters to be taken into account in order to gain more comprehensive insights into the range and interplay of the means in use. This paper investigates the multimodal website marketing discourse of Microsoft , Oracle, and SAP 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 consisting of key ideas and aimed at the locutionary target. The intention of such discourse is to persuade consumers to purchase IT solutions which is manifested in the persuasive function. The textual content has been investigated in terms of a set of categories such as: the theme, including IT terms; tonality, made explicit through positively charged words and imperative sentences; time and space, emphasizing time saving efforts to deal with challenges enterprise-wide. The findings are similar to those revealed in the verbal content of customer testimonial videos, with audio-visual techniques such as invigorating music, company settings, contrast colors, etc. being alike. It is of particular interest that the linguistic means in these three marketing discourses 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.

Russian Journal of Linguistics. 2020;24(2):366-385
pages 366-385 views

Celebrity gossip as a genre in English-language mass media discourse

Ivanova S.V., Khakimova G.S.


The multidimensionality of rumours as part and parcel of mass communication has stipulated the research in their linguistic nature. The present paper studies this specific communication phenomenon and the discursive practices by means of which it is realized across the Anglophone mass media discourse continuum. The theory of discourse-analysis underpinning the present paper predetermines an integrative approach with various methods employed. This approach makes it possible to gain an insight into the complex nature of the object under study. The research is targeted at media rumours, namely celebrity gossip, manifested in on-line versions of the printed press and original web outlets in 2015-2018. The main goal of the research is to reveal specific features of media rumors as a speech genre in the Anglophone media communication. Celebrity gossip texts make up the empiric material for the present study. This aim is achieved via the description of the content and form of the text-type structure supplemented by an application of stylistic analysis. In terms of the topics, the findings demonstrate a wide variety of topoi comprising both public (social interactions) and private spheres of celebrities’ life with an emphasis on privacy, sensationalism and scandalous impropriety as dominant discursive characteristics of the text-type samples under study. The structure of the celebrity gossip discourse is represented by texts in different journalistic forms: 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 results of the study enable us to argue that within the mass media communication there exists a specific discourse which is hybrid by nature and non-evidential by verification.

Russian Journal of Linguistics. 2020;24(2):386-418
pages 386-418 views

Discursive realization of threat in pre-election communication

Romanov A.A., Novoselova O.V.


This article focuses on the question of pragmatic effectiveness of threat statements in political communication, in particular, the relevance of using threats in pre-election programs and intimidating voters with the goal of forcing them to vote for a certain politician. The aim of this article is to consider pre-election threat statements as verbal regulative actions and to propose a typology of such constructive menacives taking into account the targeted orientation of their consequent component. This study is based on a corpus of threat statements realized in the presidential candidates’ pre-election programs in Russia in 2018. The total number of menacives is 1. The study investigated the data from the perspective of the theory of speech activity, speech act theory and psychosemantics. The theoretical framework of the study is an action-related approach to the analysis of speech (dialogic) acts developed in Tver semantic and pragmatic research school (Romanov 1988; 2002; 2020). The study specified 18 targeted types of menacives that have a certain pragmatic and emotional effect on voters and are characterized by different frequencies in pre-election programs. This result demonstrates that the author of the pre-election program does not know mass voter’s preferences, their emotional state and feelings well; therefore, the politician directs their menacing influence on a wide range of potential voters. The authors conclude that politicians deliberately prefer to use threat statements with negative 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 proved to be a pragmatically effective tool in 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.

Russian Journal of Linguistics. 2020;24(2):419-448
pages 419-448 views

God and emotions: Experience of emotive analysis

Pashkov S.M.


The present paper accentuates the importance of holistic views of the world that is relevant for text studies. The purpose of the study is to establish what language means representing emotions which are attributed to God by biblical characters are utilized, and, subsequently provide their classification. Based on the study of the theological interpretation of the antinomy ‘“the immutability of God” - the emotions of God”, the paper 1) introduces the concept of ‘attribution of emotions’ into the conceptual and terminological apparatus of emotiology thus explicating the specificity of biblical emotive meanings; 2) provides the analysis of the depicted biblical space in the emotive aspect; 3) gives the interpretation of biblical characters’ activity as a cause of emotions attributed to God. Central to the text analysis is the notion of the emotional script. This notion is instrumental in presenting the systemic description of emotion development, i.e. the cause of its origin and the corresponding reaction. The language material of the present study is taken from King James Bible. The methods employed in the study include the definitional, contextual, emotive, and lingua-stylistic analyses with references to the historical and cultural context. The outcomes of the present study include the identification of the lexical means of emotions and the following typology of such lexical units: 1) lexemes denoting the cause of emotions attributed to God; 2) lexemes denoting the emotions attributed to God; and 3) lexemes denoting the biblical space perceived by characters as a ‘reaction’ to emotions attributed to God. Given the theandric nature of Jesus Christ, the depicted emotions of His are treated as manifestations of His human nature. The results obtained have made it possible to fill in linguistic content into one of the antinomies of Christian understanding of God and to outline the prospect of further linguistic research on Christian dogmata from the perspective of emotivity.

Russian Journal of Linguistics. 2020;24(2):449-466
pages 449-466 views

The conceptual environment of the frontier discourse in humanities

Sinelnikova L.N.


The concept of frontier has been formed for a long time and in different directions. The main characteristics of a frontier - its flexible borders, a zone of space development characterised by uncertainty and instability - have proved their importance for understanding and describing the current state of the environment with regard to its social, cultural, communicative and linguistic indicators. The interdisciplinary (transcendental) potential of a frontier is realised in a complementary combination of natural-scientific and humanitarian scholarship. The aim of the present paper is to justify the scholarly integrity of the term frontier discourse the conceptual milieu of which is created through two overlapping multi-layered phenomena: frontier and discourse. The paper names the vectors of expanding the interdisciplinary possibilities of a 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 family relations and in many other conceptual spheres the list of which remains open based on the ontological features of a frontier. Based on the examples from Russian and foreign 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 the 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 byborder territory is a place accumulating violations of traditional norms and providing the material which is necessary in order to anticipate the arising norm changes. The transformation of traditional genres and the formation of new ones also take place on frontier territories. It is concluded that frontier discourse ensures the understanding of norm movements in genre-stylistic characteristics.

Russian Journal of Linguistics. 2020;24(2):467-492
pages 467-492 views


Review of Culpeper, Jonathan, Michael Haugh and Dániel Z. Kádár (eds.). 2017. The Palgrave Handbook of Linguistic (Im)politeness. London: Palgrave Macmillan. ISBN 978-1-137-37507-0

Etsuko O.



Russian Journal of Linguistics. 2020;24(2):493-505
pages 493-505 views

Review of Mackenzie, J. Lachlan and Laura Alba-Juez (eds.). 2019. Emotion in Discourse. Amsterdam and Philadelphia: John Benjamins

Ryshina-Pankova M.



Russian Journal of Linguistics. 2020;24(2):506-514
pages 506-514 views

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