Speaker self-profiling through discursive indexation and syntactic encoding in Spanish radio talk

Miguel A. Aijón Oliva

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7557/1.6.1.4085

Keywords

syntactic variation; agreement; interactional profiling; subjectivity; objectivity; radio talk

Abstract

Syntactic and discursive choices in context can constitute resources for the interactional profiling of the direct participants. This study analyzes the frequencies with which speakers index themselves, as well as the syntactic functions they preferably accord themselves when doing so, in a corpus of Spanish radio discourse where a range of textual genres and speaker socioprofessional identities are contemplated. The analysis is restricted to central syntactic functions, i.e. those with the capacity to establish agreement with the verb. A dichotomy is proposed between subject and (accusative or dative) object self-encoding, based on the different morphological means through which verbal agreement is carried out in this language, namely verbal endings and clitics. Both the statistical patterning of variation and the discursive-pragmatic motivations of particular choices are subsequently examined. The selection of a specific syntactic function for the encoding of the speaker is found to often serve communicative goals related to the textual genre and to the kinds of socio-professional identities speakers intend to develop within it. Significant correlations are obtained between higher percentages of self-encoding as subject and higher rates of discursive self-indexation altogether, although speakers presenting themselves as political representatives diverge from this tendency for particular communicative reasons. The results are interpreted as being parallel to a discursive-cognitive continuum between subjectivity and objectivity that underlies speaker interactional self-profiling and discourse construction.

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Copyright (c) 2017 Miguel A. Aijón Oliva

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