Font Size: a A A

Evidentiality Of Chinese Government Press Conference Discourse-A Systemic-functional Approach

Posted on:2010-02-03Degree:MasterType:Thesis
Country:ChinaCandidate:T ChaiFull Text:PDF
GTID:2155360275458446Subject:Foreign Linguistics and Applied Linguistics
Abstract/Summary:PDF Full Text Request
Evidentiality,as a linguistic phenomenon,is pervasive in all languages.It is about the speaker's expression of source of information and his/her commitment to the reliability of information.The linguistic forms of evidentiality are termed evidentials or evidential markers, which include two subcategories:morphological evidentials and lexical evidentials.The evidential studies began to catch the attention of linguists in the beginning of the 20th century, with Boas(1911),Sapir(1921),and Swadesh(1939) being forerunners of this field of study. Since 1980s,the research on evidentiality bears witness to a dramatic progress with works done by various researchers such as Chafe and Nichols(1986),Saeed(1997),Mushin(2000,2001), Palmer(2001),Aikhenvald and Dixon(2003) and Aikhenvald(2004).Those studies are concerned with both highly inflectional languages(such as Tariana) and less inflectional languages(such as English),but researches on the former outnumber those on the latter ones. Domestically,evidentiality of modern Chinese has been studied by researchers such as Hu (1994a,1994b,1995),Fang(2005,2006),Zhu(2006),etc.Meanwhile,the discourse features of evidentiality have already begun to draw the attention of linguistic experts and researchers,such as Chafe(1986),Friedman(1986),Mushin(2000,2001),Precht(2003) and Aikhenvald(2003, 2004).Most studies in this field of study have been done in a piecemeal fashion and are in urgent need of improvement and supplement,especially with regard to the studies focusing on the relationship between evidentiality and discourse features.Chinese evidentiality has tended to be particularly neglected because it does not seem to be grammaticalized into auxiliaries as the other types of modality do.Therefore,the present study attempts to fill this gap in the study of Chinese evidentiality by presenting an empirical analysis of the motivation for evidential marking in a specific discourse context.One type of discourse that bears closely on the application of evidentiality is Government Press Conference(GPC hereafter) discourse. Evidentiality in Chinese GPC discourse plays an important part in persuading the public to believe in the governments' authority.The central communicative purpose of this type of discourse is to deliver to the public what the speaker knows or believes to be true and what the media thinks of the speakers' source of knowledge.The appropriate selection of evidential commitments is conditioned by a range of contextual elements originating from the conventional ideology and moral standards followed within the society.Thus,this study aims at finding out the ideational and interpersonal discourse features of evidentiality as a linguistic coding of epistemology through the analysis of the features of evidentiality in GPC discourse. The study mainly adopts the framework proposed by Chafe(1986) and SFL framework concerning evidentiality.It is a tentative study on the application of the functional approach of evidentiality to the modern Chinese discourse,and meanwhile a probe into the discourse features of evidentiality.The study tends to find answers to the following three questions:(1) How does the realization of evidential meaning work in GPC discourse?(2) How do the syntactic representations of evidentiality work in GPC discourse?(3) What are the discourse features of evidentiality in GPC discourse?We will analyze 30 Chinese GPC discourses collected on the basis of certain criteria,with a mixed research design comprising both quantitative and qualitative analyses.The research is conducted in a three-stage fashion,that is,following the analyzing process of meaning,syntax and discourse.To put it more precisely,the data is analyzed from meaning realization of evidentiality in GPC discourse,to syntactic representations of evidentiality in GPC discourse, and finally to the discourse features of evidentiality in GPC discourse.The discourse features of evidentiality in GPC discourse are described from both the ideational perspective and the interpersonal perspective.From the ideational point of view,we concentrate on the process features of evidentials.As to the interpersonal meaning,we mainly adopt the appraisal theory, focusing on engagement.It has been found that the major ideational effect of these process features is power naturalization and the engagement features of most of the evidentials are heteroglossic,which helps realize the covert persuasion.The significance of the study lies in that,the meaning,syntactic and discursive analysis of evidentiality in Chinese GPC discourse will not only help us gain a deeper understanding of this linguistic category,but also enable us to approach this linguistic phenomenon from a macroscopic perspective of a certain discourse,which may contribute to the development of the theory of evidentiality.Besides,the study further consolidates the position of linguistic category evidentiality as a justified and vital parameter for discourse analysis and proposes a tentative framework to the studies on evidentiality in other types of discourse.Lastly,by revealing the undercurrents of meanings associated with the different evidentials,this research also contributes to the understanding of the GPC discourse in a critical way.
Keywords/Search Tags:evidentiality, discourse features, GPC discourse, persuasion
PDF Full Text Request
Related items