The Topos of “Precaution” in the German Discourse on Assistance to Ukraine: Iconic Reproduction through Linguistics and Pragmatics / O topos da “precaução” no discurso alemão sobre a assistência à Ucrânia: reprodução icônica por meio da linguística e da pragmática

Nataliia Kravchenko, Oleksandr Yudenko, Olena Zhykharieva, Iryna Kryknitska


Abstract: The study of mitigation in political discourse deserves the closest attention since it concerns the manipulative dimension of politics in the modeling of public consciousness. This research is aimed at identifying linguistic and pragmatic mitigators associated with the topos of Precaution and its manifesting strategies in the discourse of assistance to Ukraine. It reached the main finding about the correlation of mitigators with the implementation of discursive strategies mediated by the influence of bushes, hedges, and shields on the illocution of speech acts. Since the illocution is influenced not only by hedges distinguished by this criterion, but also by other types of mitigators, we have introduced, in addition to the propositional, illocutionary, and deictic coordinates of the utterance, an additional criterion for the distribution of mitigators – their correlation with discursive strategies. Bushes implement the strategy of reducing the speaker’s responsibility for the asserted facts, promises – indirect commissives and recommendations – implicit directives by triggering conventional implicatures that imply the conditions for these acts feasibility. Shields transfer, generalize or depersonalize the speaker’s responsibility for assertive facts, implicit promises and indirect recommendations, “blurring” the deixis to a denotative situation. Hedges in assertives transfer responsibility to the sphere of subjective epistemic modality with increasing probability instead of the certainty about what is being asserted. In directives, hedges generalize / depersonalize the speaker’s responsibility thereby intersecting with the functional scope of shields. Polyfunctional mitigators implement several discursive strategies. The article specifies each group of mitigators in terms of its constituent linguistic devices.

Resumo: O estudo da mitigação no discurso político merece a maior atenção, pois diz respeito à dimensão manipuladora da política na modelagem da consciência pública. A pesquisa visa identificar mitigadores linguísticos e pragmáticos associados ao topos da Precaução e suas estratégias de manifestação no discurso da assistência à Ucrânia. O estudo chegou à principal conclusão sobre a correlação dos mitigadores com a implementação de estratégias discursivas mediadas pela influência de arbustos, sebes e escudos na ilocução dos atos de fala. Como a ilocução é influenciada não apenas pelo critério de cerca (hedges), mas também por outros tipos de mitigadores, introduzimos, além das coordenadas proposicionais, ilocucionárias e dêiticas do enunciado, um critério adicional para a distribuição dos mitigadores – sua correlação com as estratégias discursivas. Os arbustos implementam a estratégia de reduzir a responsabilidade do locutor pelos fatos afirmados, promessas – comissivas indiretas e recomendações – diretivas implícitas, acionando implicaturas convencionais que implicam as condições para a viabilidade desses atos. Os escudos transferem, generalizam ou despersonalizam a responsabilidade do locutor por fatos assertivos, promessas implícitas e recomendações indiretas, “embaçando” a dêixis para uma situação denotativa. Cerca (hedges) em assertivas transferem a responsabilidade para a esfera da modalidade epistêmica subjetiva com probabilidade crescente em vez da certeza sobre o que está sendo afirmado. Nas diretivas, os cerca (hedges) generalizam/despersonalizam a responsabilidade do locutor, cruzando-se com o escopo funcional dos shields. Os mitigadores polifuncionais implementam várias estratégias discursivas. O artigo especifica cada grupo de mitigadores em termos de seus dispositivos linguísticos constituintes.


bushes; hedges; shields; speech acts; discursive strategies; political discourse; arbustos; cerca; escudos; atos de fala; estratégias discursivas; discurso político.

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