Address: office 1410a, 17 Naberezhnaya Severnoy Dviny, Arkhangelsk, 163002, Russian Federation, Northern (Arctic) Federal University named after M.V. Lomonosov

Phone: (818-2) 28-76-18
E-mail: vestnik_gum@narfu.ru
http://gum.narfu.ru/en/

ABOUT JOURNAL

Pragmatics of the We-Pronoun in Russian Legal Discourse. P. 90–98

Версия для печати

Section: Philology

UDC

81’367.626

Authors

Olga A. Krapivkina
Irkutsk National Research Technical University;
ul. Lermontova 83, Irkutsk, 664074, Russian Federation; e-mail: koa1504@mail.ru

Abstract

The paper analyses the use of the we-pronoun in Russian legal discourse and reveals its pragmatic functions. One of the characteristic features of this pronoun is its atypical multiple nature, which, in itself, implies certain semantic vagueness. The semantics of the we-pronoun can be revealed only in concrete communicative-pragmatic conditions of the utterance. We does not strictly determine the number of implied persons: it can both refer to all the communicants, including the addressee (an inclusive we) and a certain group of persons including the speaker but excluding the addressee (an exclusive we). The paper emphasizes that the we-pronoun in legal discourse is used to eliminate the egocentrism of an utterance and emphasize the sacred nature of the speaker’s power. It also serves as an empathy tool to form a discourse of concord with the addressee and solidarize with an undefined referent or as an opposition mechanism. For the analysis, the author used Russian legal texts of different genres dated to the 18th – 21st centuries available on the Internet. These include legislative acts, judicial decisions, dissenting opinions, courtroom speeches, and complaints. The research results indicate that the first person plural pronoun is a meaningful pragmatic and discourse unit expressing meanings related to different roles of the speaking subject. This proves the pragmatic variety of the we-pronoun and implies entropy diffusing the semantics of we in legal discourse.

Keywords

legal discourse, we-pronoun, reference, pragmatics, subject of discourse
Download (pdf, 4MB )

References

1. Graneva I.Yu. Semantika i pragmatika mestoimeniya “my” vo vtorichnykh referentnykh funktsiyakh [Semantics and Pragmatics of the Pronoun “We” in Secondary Referential Functions]. Sistemnoe i asistemnoe v yazyke i rechi [The Systemic and the Nonsystemic in Language and Speech]. Irkutsk, 2007, pp. 284–289.
2. Ivanova A.I. Pragmalingvisticheskiy analiz lichnogo mestoimeniya “my” kak formy publichnogo obrashcheniya Baraka Obamy v Internete [Pragmalinguistic Analysis of Personal Dialectic Pronoun “We” as a Form of Online Public Address by Barack Obama]. Politicheskaya lingvistika, 2012, no. 2, pp. 84–87.
3. Kashkina O.V. Funktsional’nyy analiz samootsenochnykh vyskazyvaniy kak sredstva verbalizatsii Ya-kontsepta (na materiale interv’yu nemetskoy pressy) [Functional Analysis of Self-Assessment Statements as a Means of Self-Concept Verbalization (a Case Study of Interview in the German Press)]. Voronezh, 2005. 212 p.
4. Reznikova E.V. Lichnye mestoimeniya v politicheskom diskurse [Personal Pronouns in Political Discourse]. Yaroslavskiy pedagogicheskiy vestnik, 2012, no 1, vol. 1 (Gumanitarnye nauki), pp. 180–183.
5. Adetunji A. Inclusion and Exclusion in Political Discourse: Deixis in Olusegun Obasanjo’s Speeches. J. Lang. Linguist., 2006, vol. 5, no. 2, pp. 177–191.
6. Fairclough N. Language and Power. London, 2003. 259 p.
7. Wilson J. Politically Speaking: The Pragmatic Analysis of Political Language. Oxford, 1990. 203 p.
8. Zupnik Y.-J. A Pragmatic Analysis of the Use of Person Deixis in Political Discourse. J. Pragmat., 1994, vol. 21, no. 4, pp. 339–383.
9. Norman B.Yu., Plotnikova A.M. Konstruktsii s mestoimeniem my: formirovanie aktual’noy ili okkazional’noy kollektivnoy identichnosti [Structures with the Pronoun “We”: Formation of Actual and Occasional Collective Identity]. Vestnik Novosibirskogo gosudarstvennogo pedagogicheskogo universiteta, 2016, no. 6, pp. 126–138.
10. Benveniste É. Obshchaya lingvistika [General Linguistics]. Moscow, 1974. 448 p.
11. Graneva I.Yu. O referentnom i nereferentnom upotreblenii mestoimeniya “my” [On Referential and Non-Referential Usage of the Pronoun “We”]. Vestnik Nizhegorodskogo universiteta im. N.I. Lobachevskogo, 2008, no. 4, pp. 206–209.
12. Bühler K. Sprachtheorie: Die Darstellungsfunktion der Sprache. Stuttgart, 1965. 434 p. (Byuler K. Teoriya yazyka: reprezentativnaya funktsiya yazyka. Moscow, 2000. 502 p.).
13. Sinel’nikova L.N. Mestoimenie v diskurse [Pronouns in Discourse]. Lugansk, 2008. 476 p.
14. Dronseyka R.P. K voprosu ob egotsentrizme lichnogo mestoimeniya “ya” i al’truizme lichnogo mestoimeniya “my” (na primere prozy B. Akunina) [On the Question of Egocentrism of the Personal Pronoun “I” and the Altruism of the Personal Pronoun “We” in Boris Akunun’s Prose]. Yazyk. Slovesnost’. Kul’tura, 2012, no. 1, pp. 8–32.
15. Harwood N. (In)appropriate Personal Pronoun Use in Political Science: A Qualitative Study and a Proposed Heuristic for Future Research. Writ. Commun., 2006, vol. 23, no. 4, pp. 424–460.
16. Hyland K. Bringing in the Reader: Addressee Features in Academic Articles. Writ. Commun., 2001, vol. 18, no. 4, pp. 549–574.
17. Pennycook A. The Politics of Pronouns. ELT J., 1994, vol. 48, no. 2, pp. 173–178.
18. Luchitskaya S.I. Dva tela korolya. Ocherk politicheskoy teologii Srednevekov’ya [The King’s Two Bodies. A Study in Mediaeval Political Theology]. Istoriya mental’nostey, istoricheskaya antropologiya [The History of Mentalities, Historical Anthropology]. Moscow, 1996, pp. 142–154.
19. Khutyz I.P. Signaly interaktivnosti v akademicheskom diskurse: inklyuzivnye mestoimeniya [Interactivity Signals in Academic Discourse: Inclusive Pronouns]. Vestnik Maykopskogo gosudarstvennogo tekhnologicheskogo universiteta, 2012, no. 3, pp. 64–68.
20. Paducheva E.V. Semanticheskie issledovaniya (Semantika vremeni i vida v russkom yazyke; Semantika narrativa) [Semantic Studies (Semantics of Time and Species in the Russian Languge; Semantics of the Narrative)]. Moscow, 1996. 464 p.
21. Stepanov Yu.S. Konstanty. Slovar’ russkoy kul’tury. Opyt issledovaniya [Constants. A Dictionary of Russian Culture. A Study]. Moscow, 1997. 824 p.
22. Krapivkina O.A. Mestoimennye markery sub’’ekta vyskazyvaniya v yuridicheskom diskurse [Pronoun Markers of the Subject of the Utterance in Legal Discourse]. Vestnik Irkutskogo gosudarstvennogo tekhnicheskogo universiteta, 2010, no. 7, pp. 331–336.