The speech act of gratitude in dialogic discourse

Act of gratitude and its peculiarities. Specific features of dialogic discourse. The concept and features of dialogic speech, its rationale and linguistic meaning. The specifics and the role of the study and reflection of gratitude in dialogue speech.

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Diploma paper

The speech act of gratitude in dialogic discourse


gratitude dialogue discourse

Speech act in very important in our lives.

According to the theory of John Austin & Searle

1. Speaking a language is engaging in a highly complex rule-governed form of behavior.

2. All linguistic communication involves linguistic acts.

3. The study of meanings of sentences and the study of speech acts are not two independent studies, but one study from two different points of view.

4. The speech act is the basic unit of communication.

5. The principle of expression - while language doesn't have a word for everything, we are capable of describing anything by using language or adding to it.

6. Based on 4 & 5, there is a relationship between the notion of speech acts, what the speaker means, what the sentence uttered means, what the speaker intends, what the hearer understands, and what the rules governing the linguistic elements are.

There are 3 types of speech acts forces:

1. locutionary forces: the actual speaking / hearing of words

3. illocutionary forces: stating, questioning, commanding, promising, etc.

(speaker's meaning)

4. perlocutionary forces: correlated with illocutionary acts - the effects on others

(meaning as heard by hearer)

(may or may not be the same as the illocutionary act)

Types of Speech Acts (from Dr. Aune's Summary of Speech Acts):

- Directives - world to words (hearer); requesting, ordering, interrogating.

- Assertives - words to world; asserting, concluding, informing, reporting, predicting.

- Commissives - world to words (speaker); promising, threatening, guaranteeing.

- Declaratives - world to words & vice versa; performing a marriage, declaring war, calling a runner «out.»

- Expressives - null; thanking, complaining, greeting, apologizing [39].

In my opinion: telling people what we think they should do (directive), just telling something we think (assertive), telling ourselves what we think we should do (commissive), telling a fact or idea (declarative), telling an emotion (expressive).

Gratitude is, in essence, the expression of a thought in which our heartfelt emotions go out to others for the role they have played in bringing about good fortune in our lives. The object of our appreciation and thanks may be one other person, a group of people, a social entity, or even life itself. (In its highest form, it is to recognize a Divine hand at work - i.e. Grace.) Because gratitude is a higher emotion, a spiritual emotion, even an attitude of the soul, it has the power to not only create a stronger bond, e.g. a sense of harmony and unity with others, but it can to elicit the infinite possibilities of life. In other words, expressing our heartfelt appreciation and thanks can attract magnificent positive responses from life.

Gratitude is a spiritual emotion, an attitude of the soul, which puts us in touch with the Spirit and has the power to attract the action of the Spirit, i.e. positive responses of life, continuously in our lives. For one who wishes to make such action of Spirit a permanent feature of his own life, a good beginning is to review one's past and locate at least one such event in which one was blessed by unexpected luck or escape from expected misfortune as a result of the invocation of Spirit. To feel gratitude for these occurrences enables the permanent Spiritual action that infinitely benefits our lives [28, p. 234].

When we offer our thanks and appreciation for the efforts of others - whether individuals or organizations or society - we move from the ego plane to the universal and transcendent planes.

One way we express the spirit in life is through an act of gratitude. When we offer our thanks and appreciation for the efforts of others - whether individuals or organizations or society - we move from the ego plane to the universal and transcendent planes. It is that movement that releases concentrations of energy that align with powerful positive conditions that come back to us as instances of sudden good fortune.

Thus, the topic of our investigation is «The Speech Act of Gratitude in Dialogic Discourse».

The topicality of our investigation is predetermined by the importance to research thoroughly the nature of gratitude in the dialogic speech. The matter is also topical because of the lack of theoretical and practical investigations on our diploma subject matter.

The object of the investigation is speech act of gratitude.

The subject of the investigation is functioning of gratitude act in the dialogic discourse.

The purpose of the investigation is to research specific features of speech act of gratitude in dialogic discourse.

To reach the purpose of the investigation we have specified the following tasks of the diploma essay.

- consider the act of gratitude and its peculiarities;

- investigate the dialogue act;

- determine specific features of dialogic discourse;

- identify the meaning of gratitude in dialogs;

- find examples which illustrate functioning of gratitude expressions in dialogic discourse.

The structure of the diploma paper includes introduction, two chapters, conclusion, and bibliography.

1. Theoretical aspects of gratitude act and dialogic discourse

1.1 Act of gratitude and its peculiarities

We live in an era of compulsory gratefulness. Ministers scold us to thank God for all His blessings. New Age gurus demand an «attitude of gratitude.» We're told we must give thanks for the slightest of gifts. It's all about being grateful, if we want to create a life lived humbly yet well.

Herded toward the corral of gratitude, most of us routinely mouth about how grateful we are. Then we show how deep our gratitude is in the most insubstantial, inadequate, even inane ways.

Gratitude is cognitive and emotional reaction arising from noticing and appreciating the benefits that one has received. The sources of the perceived benefits that lead to gratitude are diverse and include (a) direct help, (b) tangible possessions, (c) positive relationships, (d) the positive in a given moment, and (e) doing well compared to others [34].

This implies that gratitude arises from both direct aid from a specific other and more general appreciation of the positive aspects in one's life. Gratitude can be considered both as a state, defined as a reaction at a given single time point, or as a personality trait, defined according to individual differences in how frequently and intensely a person feels the state of gratitude. In recent years gratitude has emerged as a key clinically relevant personality trait due to a strong link with well-being.

Throughout history gratitude has been given considerable attention in philosophical and theological accounts of human functioning, being a focus of all major religious practices, and considered by the economist and philosopher Adam Smith as essential to the running of society through motivating the reciprocation of aid when there are no other legal or monetary incentives to do so.

Within psychology, the systematic study of gratitude only began in earnest in after 2000, being one of many understudied traits highlighted by the positive psychology movement. In recent years, state gratitude has been shown to operate much as Adam Smith suggested, and trait gratitude has been shown to be predict well-being strongly, uniquely, and causally.

State gratitude appears to have three functions. First, gratitude acts as a «moral barometer» occurring after aid is received. Second, gratitude acts as a «moral motivator», encouraging the repayment of aid. Third, gratitude acts as a «moral reinforcer», motivating people who have been thanked to give more aid in the future. Taken together, the research suggests that gratitude has an important function in regulating fairness behaviours associated with giving and receiving with help, suggesting a possible evolutionary function of the emotion.

Trait gratitude is linked to interpersonal state gratitude through specific information processing biases. State gratitude occurs in response to aid that is interpreted to be costly (to the benefactor), valuable (to the receiver), and intended altruistically (rather than ulterior ally motivated). People who experience a lot of gratitude in life feel more gratitude in a given situation as they habitually interpret the help they receive as more costly, more valuable, and more altruistically intended. Whilst a reaction to interpersonal help is only one form of state gratitude, and other mechanisms may link trait gratitude to other aspects such as appreciation of the present moment, the basic finding that grateful people have positive information processing biases is consistent with wider work suggesting the strong link between trait gratitude and well-being [24, p. 48-49].

Trait gratitude correlates with a large array of well-being indicators. Whilst many personality traits predict well-being, gratitude is unique in that it predicts substantial variance in both life satisfaction and psychological well-being above the 50 facets of the Five Factor Model, suggesting that the relationships cannot be explained by the influence of other commonly studied personality traits. The relationship between gratitude and well-being also appears to be causal, with higher levels of gratitude leading to less depression, less stress, and more social support during a life transition. Finally, gratitude is related to other aspects of life known to be important to well-being including positive coping and good quality of sleep. Given the strong link between gratitude and well-being there has been much interest in increasing gratitude therapeutically in order to decrease clinical levels

of distress.

There are several techniques, the most common of which is maintaining «gratitude diaries» where people list 3 things for which they are grateful on a daily basis. This technique appears to encourage people to focus on the benefits they have throughout each day. The technique is highly effective, working as well as some of the most common clinical techniques in reducing stress and body image problems whilst being more likely to avoid people dropping out of treatment.

In fact, gratitude may be the smuggest of sentiments, the world's most selfish act this side of suicide. Its adherents are too often filled with an oozy glow devoid of any corresponding action. As we expand the grasp of our gratitude, we do little to show we actually mean it.

Thankfulness is the beginning of gratitude. Gratitude is the completion of thankfulness. Thankfulness may consist merely of words. Gratitude is shown in acts. (Henri F. Amiel) [37]

Words matter. We should give thanks, of course, but that's different. Those are words, hopefully heartfelt. We should practice acts of gratitude, not just hollow attitudes of gratitude. Attitude is nothing but show. Until you've earned it, don't use it. And don't gloat about how much of it you have, either, because that isn't the point.

As a small example, what happened the last time you were treated to a lovely dinner in someone's home, where they created a fabulous meal wrapped in lively conversation? They went to a lot of trouble. You had a wonderful time. Then you went home.

Did you

a) begin planning how to create in turn a similarly wonderful experience;

b) dash off a crappy little 20-word email and hit «send»; or

c) uh, forget to do anything?

Chances are, you said «b» and counted yourself a well-bred yet technologically modern person. Or maybe you just said «c» and forgot to count at all. Could you at least have taken the time to write a thoughtful thank-you card in longhand, stamp and address and mail it?

There's little in the way of actual gratitude on display here. And it only gets worse the more we embrace the attitude without the action.

It's a sign of mediocrity when you demonstrate gratitude with moderation. (Roberto Benigni) [40]

This imbalance occurs because we actively misread what many different spiritual teachers and practices have long said. And we do it because it's easier this way.

There is one final way to connect with others and thereby evoke the miraculous. It is to express our deepest thanks and appreciation towards others - i.e. our gratitude.

Gratitude is to communicate our heartfelt emotions for the role others have played in bringing about positive conditions in our lives. The object of our gratitude may be one person - such as a friend, relative, teacher, boss, or business associate - or a group of people, such as members of our project team, or the organization we are part of, or the state or nation we reside in. Gratitude can even go out to life itself.

Because gratitude is a higher emotion - a spiritual attitude of the soul, - it has a great power to attract powerful positive conditions. In fact, if that expression of thanks and appreciation is sincere and heartfelt, then there is no limit to what can come in return.

There's a whole cluster of related characteristics that seem to go together - things like optimism, hope, gratitude, and happiness. Some of this, I would guess, is genetically determined. Some of it is going to be based upon early life experiences and positive relationships with other people. Very little of it, interestingly, seems to depend upon circumstances or life examples. So there are just these ways of framing life experiences that transcend good or bad things that are happening to a person.

There's a cluster of positive characteristics and then there's another set of characteristics which block those positive characteristics. A sense of entitlement, or deservingness, is something that's going to block this recognition that other people are partly responsible for the good things that happen to us. When I take all the credit for the good things that happen to me it's going to be hard to feel a sense of indebtedness or sense of gratefulness in life.

Sometimes there's an assumption that if one is grateful then almost by definition one is less autonomous or less self-motivated. That gratitude leads to complacency, you know, accepting one's situation no matter what it is (unhealthy, abusive, etc.) and not doing anything about it. I've never seen a case where that's happened.

Showing appreciation is very important in our day to day activities. We show appreciation to exhibit our contentment or satisfaction to any good deed someone does for us. Most religious bodies admonish the practice of thanking the Almighty God for everything He has done in our life before asking for something from Him. This makes us understand that the Almighty God expects us to be grateful for everything He has done for us and then express it by thanking Him. So it is with us human beings; we really want to be appreciated hence the essence of saying 'Thank you' can not be overlooked.

It is imperative to say that when we show appreciation to people we have to make it very sincerely and make them feel that their effort of trying to help was worthwhile. When people feel that you say 'thank you' as a necessity and not sincerely, the chance of helping you another time is very low. A very warm smile followed by 'thank you' is just enough to make the person feel appreciated. Remember, it should not just end there. There is a saying that «One good turn deserves another». Hence when someone offers you help at one point and the person comes to you for help, it is appropriate that you reciprocate the kindness showed to you.

Another important thing to take note of is that, it is never too late to show appreciation. Sometime we think that once we were not able to show appreciation at a particular time when a good deed was done towards us, then there will be no need of going back to show appreciation. This assumption is very wrong. It is never too late to show appreciation; the beauty of showing appreciation is that the person will be glad that after all you remembered to thank him or her. Let us all go out there and show appreciation for the good things that people have done in our lives. Always remember Leonado Davinci's words «Knowing alone is not enough, we must apply. Willing alone is not enough, we must do.»

I think of gratefulness as really anchored in spirituality. And so a secular perspective is going to tend to erode that sense of gratefulness. Also, with increasing expectations and material comfort one tends to be less reflective. It goes with the territory, and it makes it difficult to spend the time to acknowledge where things come from and the people to whom one is indebted.

Merriam-Webster Online dictionary gives the following definitions to gratitude:

Definition of GRATITUDE: the state of being grateful: thankfulness

Definition of THANK: 1: to express gratitude to <thanked her for the present> - used in the phrase thank you usually without a subject to politely express gratitude <thank you for your consideration> or sometimes to emphasize a preceding statement especially by implying that it is not subject to question <likes her job just fine, thank you> - used in such phrases as thank God, thank goodness usually without a subject to express gratitude or more often only the speaker's or writer's pleasure or satisfaction in something

2: to hold responsible <had only himself to thank for his loss> - thank·er noun [35]

Thus we can see the meaning of these words from the linguistic point of view.

1.2 Dialogue act

Dialogue Acts are also referred to as moves, or illocutionary acts. They mark important characteristics of utterances, indicate the role or intention of an utterance in a specific dialogue, and make relationships between utterances more obvious.

Speech is more often a dialogue, a communication between two or more speakers and this influences the grammar choices made. We can see this in the dialogue transcribed below.

A: Oh well she wouldn't be there after the bingo then would she? Probably went to I know that she does go. She there most of the evening and she goes to bingo and

B: Yeah

A: Cos they live down round near Tina's but not like Tina's house before that off Allard Avenue round the back of Allard Sherwood is it?

B: Sherwood, yeah Sherwood Avenue

A: Yeah

B: Yeah they live up yeah.

In natural speech, people often speak at the same time as each other, or complete each other's remarks. There are therefore many utterances that seem incomplete when read on the page. Although transcripts of conversation may seem `ungrammatical' in comparison to text specifically composed to be read, the participants in them have no problem understanding and responding. This indicates that the grammatical choices made in speech are often just different from those we make in writing. The use of the context surrounding the participants means that they do not need to make everything explicit. In fact, they need to do different things in conversation and therefore need different grammatical resources. For example, in the context of a face-to-face conversation we see grammatical features such as question tags (would she? is it?) which invite a response, either verbally or through gestures such as nodding the head, from the other member of the dialogue. This helps to keep all participants in the conversation involved. Missing out words such as personal pronouns is common, e.g. Probably went to, where the pronoun she is omitted. This is allowable in conversation because such words can be inferred from the surrounding text. It also helps to create a feeling of closeness between the participants. They can leave out words because they can rely on their shared understanding to fill in the meanings [23, p. 50-52].

The basic unit of a dialogue is a turn. This chapter examines the turn as the basic unit of dialogic texts through the analysis of spontaneous and planned conversations. The analysis examines the structural features of the turns on the basis whether they are closed or open and it also takes into account the complexity of dialogues. It also takes into account the typical occurrences of adjacency pairs together with the characteristic features of the embedded sequences and speech acts. On the basis of the findings of the analysis of spontaneous and planned dialogues, the following main differences can be identified:

* As far as the structure of the turns is concerned, in spontaneous texts one - and twolevel dialogues occur most frequently, while in dramas two - and three-level dialogues are the most widespread. In spontaneous texts there were more open dialogues, while in dramatic texts the ratio of open and closed dialogue-types was equal.

* Examining the sequential organization of dialogue-types, in both cases the dominance of question/answer pair sequences was the most characteristic, but in spontaneous conversations the rate of yes/no questions was higher, while in dramatic texts there were more wh-questions. In dramas the negative answers were more frequent. Their sequential organization was more varied than that of spontaneous conversations.

* Spontaneous conversations were characterised by a more frequent occurrence of interpolated sequences and sidesequences. The function of communicative interpolations was different in the two types of dialogues.

* The topic of the mezzo-level paragraphs in spontaneous conversations was implicit, while that of dramatic texts was present in an explicit form. The paragraphs in spontaneous conversations usually did not relate to the previous and the following turns, while in the text of the drama this relationship usually existed. Spontaneous conversations were generally characterized by the use of Reported/Indirect Speech, while in the text of the drama often narratives in Direct Speech occurred.

* As far as direct speech acts are concerned, in spontaneous conversations the preparatory strategy was more frequent, while in dramatic texts the suggestory formula occurred more often [18].

The micro-level elements of dialogues and their macro-level implications. In the structure of dialogic texts the chapter examined two basic micro-level features. One of these phenomena is the deixis, which plays an outstanding role in the formulation of personal relationships on mezzo - and macrolevel, moreover, it also has an important role in the establishment of the network of time - and spatial relationships. These relationships usually cannot be separated from the points of view applied by the speaker and/or recipient, and this way deixis shows a close correlation with the concept of perspective. The first part of the chapter aims at showing perspectives and time - and spatial relationships applied in spontaneous conversations and dramatic dialogues, and in the analyses it lays the emphasis on the analysis of the relationship between the phenomena mentioned above and deixis. The second part of the chapter deals with coreference, another micro-level feature, and it examines conceptually elaborated and schematic modes of appearance together with perspective, texttopic and text-focus. The analyses also provide examples of the points where the two components show a close correlation, and how it can be used in text-typological research as a text-typological variable. From the analysis of the micro-level components, the following can be stated with regard to the difference between spontaneous texts and planned texts:

* The deixis in spontaneous conversations is most often exoforic by nature, in dramatic dialogues, however, we can find endoforic deixises, as well.

* The most significant difference between the relations of perspective in dramatic dialogues and spontaneous dialogues appeared in the question of the «subject of awareness».

* The most important characteristic of dramatic dialogues is perspectivisation, while in spontaneous conversations different forms of subjectivisation occurred fairly often.

* Normal conversations more often contained examples of Direct and free Reported Speech, while in dramatic texts Reported (Indirect) Speech more often occurred.

* In spontaneous conversations verbal inflections were used to indicate possible variations of viewpoints, while in dramatic texts personal pronouns served the same purpose.

* Coreference proved to be basically anaphoric in both types of dialogues, in their attitude to viewpoint no significant difference could be seen between the two types of dialogues.

* The most significant difference between dramatic dialogues and spontaneous conversations can be seen in their characteristic means of highlighting text-focus and text-topic.

* The relationship between deixis and coreference appeared to be closer in dramatic dialogues.

The characteristics of spontaneous and planned dialogues. Summarising the findings of the analyses that have been carried out so far, this chapter tries to give a global description about the most important textual characteristics spontaneous and planned texts. After the description of spontaneous conversations, which is intended to serve as a kind of summary, there comes the description of planned dialogues with a restriction that the conclusions drawn on the basis of the text cannot be applied generally or categorically. When discussing the two types of dialogues, it is worth pointing out that these categories are gradual as far as their nature is concerned, which means that each characteristic feature should be interpreted as a relative concept. According to this a given characteristic can be valid for a given conversation to a different extent, therefore planned and spontaneous conversations can be placed at different points of an imaginary line. At one end of this line we can find prototypical spontaneous dialogues, while at the other end we will find prototypical planned dialogues, and the given dialogues are situated between the two endpoints according to their extent of planning. According to this viewpoint, the prototypical spontaneous text adjusts to schemes that structure conversations to a minimum extent, and applies as few elements of that scheme as possible (e.g. the greeting or the leading-up topic is missing), in prototypical planned dialogues, however, parties continuously adjust to the given scheme, and continuously apply the rules of conversations (e.g. they generally build up dialogues with a closed structure and they follow the script related to the situation.). Spontaneous and planned texts are characterized by gradual position, not only from the point of view of planning, but other textual features also follow it. As a result of this, the summarizing statements related to dialogues should be interpreted in the light of this.

As a result of the analysis, some relative concepts can be identified with the help of which a better description of spontaneous and planned texts can be given. On the basis of the corpus that has been examined the following relative concepts can be identified:

(1) the occurrence of schemes of conversation

(2) the complexity of spatial and time structures

(3) the relationship between linguistic and non-linguistic actions

(4) the nature and frequency of topic switches

(5) the extent of deviation from the norm

(6) the rate of adjacency pairs

(7) the structural characteristics of turns

(8) the function on interpolations

(9) the question of the «subject of awareness»

(10) the role of deixis and coreference [13, p. 122-124]

According to the extent and/or the way these characteristics are implemented, each given dialogue shows a gradual position between the two endpoints of the spontaneous and the planned.

Dialogue tends to develop in relationships, groups, and communities characterized by:

* Immediacy of presence. Presence implies that dialogue partners speak and listen from a common place or space from which they experience access to each other. Communicators sense that, for each other, they are relating here (a shared space) and now (an immediate moment in time). In many situations, the first task of communicators or planners is to clear such a space, but the clearing doesn't guarantee dialogue so much as it enables it.

* Emergent unanticipated consequences. Dialogue presumes a certain spontaneity and improvisation linking communicators. The reason dialogue often seems to repair manipulation is that, in it, all parties enter without full knowledge of the directions that may be taken within the conversation. They are willing to invite surprise, even at the expense of sacrificing strategy at times.

* Recognition of strange otherness. By strange otherness we mean that a dialogue partner assumes not only that the other person is different (that is often obvious, of course), but is different in strange - that is, in essentially and inevitably unfamiliar or unpredicted - ways. Strangeness means the other cannot be reduced to an adjusted version of a `me'; there is always more, and confronting the strange implies imagining an alternate perspective. Such strangeness is not necessarily a threat, but is as often an invitation for learning.

* Collaborative orientation. By collaboration, we suggest that dialogue partners stand their own ground while they remain concerned about the current and future ground of others. Dialogic collaboration, however, does not suggest happy two-way backscratching. Indeed, collaboration embraces conflict, because by recognizing accurately the other's perhaps antithetical position in relation to one's own, we confirm each other.

* Vulnerability. Dialogue finds participants open to being changed. We speak from a ground that is important to us, but we do not defend that ground at all costs. Dialogue makes participants willing to be persuaded; dialogue makes us protean creatures. Personalities, understood from a dialogic perspective, are less things that we `have' than they are patterns of changingness.

* Mutual implication. A process of dialogue means that speakers anticipate listeners or respondents and incorporate them into messages. In a dialogic process, speaker and listener interdepend, each constructing self, other, and their talk simultaneously. John Dewey and A.F. Bentley similarly used the word trans-action to suggest a new sense of human causality. Humans aren't changed by actions traded back and forth from one individual to another, but by the very existence of relationship itself. Communication isn't primarily `caused' by either party, but develops through the relation of both, in concert. Even when one person might seem to be the sole speaker, the voices of listeners are already present, said Russian language theorist Mikhail Bakhtin. For the same reason, Martin Buber referred to the term I-Thou as a `primary word' (not words, plural); what he called `the between, ' the relation, was a unified phenomenon.

* Temporal flow. Understanding dialogue always involves understanding the past out of which it flows and the future that it unfolds so persistently. As we have written elsewhere, it `emerges from a past, fills the immediate present (and thus is experienced as `wide, ' `deep, ' `immersing, ' or `enveloping' by participants), and prefigures an open future'.

* Genuineness and authenticity. Dialogue partners base their relationship on the presumption of authentic or genuine experience. This means not that people always tell the truth, but that no sense of genuine dialogue can be based on a participant's self-consciously untruthful, hidden, deceptive, or blatantly strategic set of interpersonal calculations. Rather, in dialogue, communicators are assumed to speak and act in ways that match their worlds of experience. Where such trust breaks down, dialogic potential dissolves.» [37]

1.3 Specific features of dialogic discourse

Conversation, dialogue, discourse. Each of these terms names a form of communication in everyday life, yet each directs our attention in different ways. Conversation, ordinarily understood as informal, free-flowing talk, is what we do with friends, family, and coworkers when we have meals together, do joint tasks, or talk on the phone. Conversation is a descriptive term; it captures one kind of talking that is an alternative to others, such as interviewing, being in a meeting, or giving a speech. Dialogue is both a descriptive term and an evaluative one. As a descriptive term, dialogue is a synonym for conversation. This descriptive meaning traces its roots to the scholarship of Mikhail Bakhtin, a Russian scholar who wrote in the first half of the 20th century. Every utterance, the basic and fundamental unit of talk, is dialogic: responding to what was said before.

Discourse (Latin: discursus, «running to and fro») is the term that describes written and spoken communications; its denotations include:

In semantics and discourse analysis: A generalization of the concept of conversation within all modalities and contexts.

The totality of codified language (vocabulary) used in a given field of intellectual enquiry and of social practice, such as legal discourse, medical discourse, religious discourse, et cetera.

In the work of Michel Foucault, and that of the social theoreticians he inspired: discourse describes «an entity of sequences, of signs, in that they are enouncements (йnoncйs)».

An enouncement (l'йnoncй, «the statement») is not a unit of semiotic signs, but an abstract construct that allows the signs to assign and communicate specific, repeatable relations to, between, and among objects, subjects, and statements. Hence, a discourse is composed of semiotic sequences (relations among signs) between and among objects, subjects, and statements. The term discursive formation conceptually describes the regular communications (written and spoken) that produce such discourses. As a philosopher, Foucault applied the discursive formation in the analyses of large bodies of knowledge, such as political economy and natural history [39].

In the first sense-usage (semantics and discourse analysis), the word discourse is studied in corpus linguistics. In the second sense (the codified language of a field of enquiry), and in the third sense (a statement, un йnoncй), the analyses of discourse are effected in the intellectual traditions that investigate and determine the relations among language and structure and agency, as in the fields of sociology, feminist studies, anthropology, ethnography, cultural studies, literary theory, and the philosophy of science. Moreover, because discourses are bodies of text meant to communicate specific data, information, and knowledge, there exist internal relations within a given discourse, and external relations among discourses, because a discourse does not exist in isolation (per se), but in relation to other discourses, which are determined and established by means of interdiscourse and interdiscursivity.

Studies of discourse have roots in a range of theoretical traditions that investigate the relations between language, structure and agency. The notion of 'discourse' is the subject of heated debate. It has become one of the key critical terms in the vocabulary of the humanities and the social sciences, so it is not surprising that it is contentious. Discourse encompasses the use of spoken, written and signed language and multimodal/multimedia forms of communication, and is not restricted to 'non-fictional' (eg. stylistics) nor verbal (eg. gesture and visual) materials. Although early linguistic approaches judged the unit of discourse to be larger than the sentence, phenomena of interest can range from silence, to a single utterance (such as «ok»), to a novel, a set of newspaper articles or a conversation.

Approaches that are commonly included under the term 'discourse studies' (or have overlapping concerns) include critical discourse analysis, critical linguistics, text linguistics, conversation analysis, ethnomethodology, discursive psychology, stylistics, genre studies, mediated discourse analysis, discourse theory, sociolinguistics, rhetorical analysis, argumentation theory, polyphony theory

Major theories of text meaning have traditionally located its source in either the text itself (formalist theories), in the author's intention (expressive theories and cognitive theories of writing), or in the reader's cognition (reader response theories and cognitive theories of reading). By contrast, dialogic accounts of discourse, including principally the perspectives of Bakhtin (1981, 1986) and Rommetveit (1974, 1992), locate the source of text meaning in the unfolding dialogue, or interaction, between conversants, including writers and their readers. In this formulation, meaning is not «in» the text itself, nor is the text simply a representation of the writer's meaning [12]. Rather, the text functions as the vehicle or medium which mediates an exchange of meaning. That is, the text is necessary for but insufficient to the realization of its meaning, which is dynamically configured by the interaction of the conversants. In this view, meaning itself is both phenomenal and situated, coming about only within a particular exchange between a writer and a reader in a particular context of use. This is not to say that the text means whatever the reader wants it to mean-after all, the reader is constrained by what the writer has written. Rather, the text's meaning is «consummated» every time it is read, and each reading inherently reflects the particular contours and shadings of the writer's utterance and the reader's interpretation as these interact.

Dialogue discourse is a compound discourse that contains both narrative discourse and repartee discourse.

The routine nature of everyday practical activities suggests that the implicit methods people use are taken-for-granted forms of social knowledge. Although they can be problematic on occasion, they work well and are effective precisely because they are taken for granted. In this respect a dialogue in everyday life is not much different from other mundane encounters. This does not mean that we never have problems in the business of having a talk with someone (e.g., about what to say and how to say it, depending on context), but such problems can be subjected to intuitive analysis and be routinely solved. Some sociologists, for example, Cicourel (1973), have compared this kind of intuitive social knowledge with the implicit knowledge social members of a speech community have about the grammar of their language, according to the views proponed by Chomsky. Much like grammatical rules, the rules of interaction allow social members to perform their acts according to mutual expectations and to understand each other by making sense of each feature of such acts. Hence it is one of the tasks of sociology to reconstruct this shared social knowledge [35].

Another important dimension of the interactive nature of discourse is its strategic organization. Many dialogues have purposes that participants try to realize optimally through a series of functionally related moves.

Such strategic moves are constrained globally by a purpose or overall goal and locally by moves of a previous speaker or by expectations about moves of a next speaker. In other words, talk is organized both locally and globally and both backward and forward. Each contribution in talk, then, is designed such that the hearer will understand as intended by the speaker and will use and display this understanding in the next turn (recipient design). One pervasive strategy in everyday life, and hence also in dialogues, is the optima] display of one's social self for other participants.

Finally, everyday talk, as well as formal dialogues, does not take place in isolation. Each turn or move of the ongoing discourse as well as the whole verbal exchange is an integral part of a situation and inextricably connected with a relevant selection of social objects, namely, the context.

Dialogic discourse analysis offers the powerful capability of examining both oral and written language within a common framework, and investigating their relationships and effects on each other.

2. Practical aspects of gratitude expressions use

2.1 Meaning of gratitude in dialogs

If we think about it, we will see that there are endless opportunities to express our gratitude. Perhaps a salesperson has gone out of his way and found a product we were eagerly searching for. Or perhaps someone has gone out on a limb and loaned us money that was instrumental in our business's success. Or perhaps our spouse has presented us with a most unexpected and wonderful gift. Or perhaps our boss has worked hard behind the scenes on our behalf. In each case, and in endless others, we are afforded an opportunity to express our deepest thanks and appreciation for something someone has done - rather than forget the matter or take it for granted. And when we do, we attract infinite-like positive results that arrive out of nowhere.

Because gratitude is such a powerful way to evoke life response, it would be helpful to consider various parties we can target. For example, we have already seen that gratitude can go out to another individual, such as a parent, friend, or benefactor. It can also go out to a collective or institution - such as the company we work for, or the education system we are passing through, or the country that is supporting our development and success. Whether the target of our gratitude is an individual or a collective, life will quickly responds to that effort. Here's a real life example:

One day after completing a training class for a client, I handed a staff member an invoice so she could find out when I would be paid. As I patiently waited for an answer, I figured it would likely take 30 days to process the bill, which is common in business. In the meantime, I had stuck up a conversation with one of the people who attended my class. At one point in the discussion, I expressed my admiration for the work Microsoft had done in the past: in particular, how the company consistently went the extra mile to insure that each new iteration of its software was backwardly compatible. That in turn has helped customers bring their older, «legacy» data forward into the newer, more dynamic environment. I then went on to express my sincere gratitude to Microsoft for having performed this great service for society.

Well, at the very instant I finished that sentence, the individual appeared on the scene with word about my invoice. However, instead of being given a future date for remuneration, I was paid by check on the spot! In addition, it was for an amount that exceeded my expectations. To put it simply, it was life responding to my expression of gratitude to a company that has brought so much benefit to myself and the world.

In addition to individuals and collectives of people, gratitude can also go out to developments in society we have benefited from - such as a breakthrough in medicine that has helped us, or a new technology like the Internet that has made our life easier, or a new economic or peace alliance amongst nations that has made our lives more secure.

Our gratitude can even go out to life itself, as we thank our lucky stars for the happiness and good fortune that has come our way.

Finally, our most profound gratitude can go out to the spiritual dimension of life - for providing sustenance and guidance; for continually bestowing Its grace, and for saving us in our darkest hours.

Gratitude often functions as a form of responses predominantly response to compliments.

T.W.C. Loh notes seven types of responses: appreciation token, agreement, praise downgrade, referent shift, disagreement, question response, no acknowledgement [5].

L. Ye includes a more detailed subcategorization: acceptance with amendment (downgrade, comment, confirmation, magnification, transfer, return); acceptance (appreciation, agreement, smile, pleasure); nonacceptance (denial, deverge, qualification, idiom, delay, avoidance); combination; non-reponse [10].

In our research responses to compliments are classified into several types, including appreciation, agreement, direct disagreement, downgrading, direct rejection, repair initiator, referent shift, laugh (playful response, outbreath), comment, and no acknowledgement. Let's analyse some of them.

One of the most common responses to compliment is appreciation.

A: This book is really written very well.

B: Oh, thank you, thank you.

In this example the compliment is received by an appreciation token «thank you. A. Pomerantz notes that the acceptance of compliments are «regularly accomplished with appreciations» which regularly «take the form of appreciation token». The other examples include: thank you, thanks, thank you so much.

The agreement has the features of a preferred response. By agreeing to the compliment, we at the same

time imply the acceptance of it:

A: How beautiful!

B: Yes. Thanks.


A: Hey, you are looking really well today.

B: Yeah, thanks, I am happy to say that that's correct.

An agreement can be scaled down to mitigate or minimize the force of the compliment:

A: I like your car. It's very good.

B: Oh. Yeah. Thanks. It's not bad.

In response the speaker proffers an utterance in the format of a repair initiator. These repair initiator responses appear to express the speaker's doubt towards thebasis of the compliments offered in the prior turns.

Another way to answer the compliment is to pay it back to the speaker:

A: You're looking good.

B: Thanks. So you are

There is another way of saying «yes» and «no» to a compliment which is by offering a response which shifts the referent of the compliment. Referent here refers to either the person or the quality complimented:

? I can see that you are performing well in your interviews

? I stole it from you.

Occasionally the speaker deflects a compliment by laughing it off or offering a playful response.

Another way to avoid expressing one's acceptance or rejection of a compliment is by offering a comment. In this case the complimentee impersonalises the complimentary force by giving further information, which may frequently be irrelevant, about the object of the compliment.

While most of the example show clear cut responses, it is common to find compliment responses containing more than one type of response. For example, an appreciation token is sometimes followed by an explanation, or an agreement followed by a referent shift.

There are other interesting ways to respond the compliment in English. For example, the complimentee redirects the praise offered by the complimenter to some third person or to something else:

A: By the way, you look good today.

B: Oh, thanks. It must be the new dress.


A: Your last article is really very good.

B: Oh, no. My supervisor actually helped me a lot.

The complimentee may respond to the compliment with laughter, fillers and no acknowledgement:

A: I wanna by an aeroplane one day

B: Heh heh


A: I've just read your book. It is interesting

B: Uhm


A: I've just read your book. It is interesting

B: (Silence)

In conclusion, compliments are not a trivial matter. Rather, they are highly organized speech acts. All discussed above response types do not have an equal chance of occurrence. It has been confirmed in many statistical studies of compliment responses that some responses occur more frequently than others. Many of these studies have also offered explanations for the occurrence of a few dominant responses. Considerations include politeness, principle of modesty, cultural specificity.

The particular expressions of gratitude in Early Modern English seem to have been the same as today.

Interestingly, the shift from a clearly performative speech act with a subject, eg I thank you or I give thanks to you to the shortened forms thank you and thanks, had not gone far in Early Modern English.

The shortened forms appeared in the 15th century and there are only five examples in my material.

Apparently, Aijmer (1996) found no expression other than thank you and

thanks in the London-Lund Corpus of Spoken English that was frequent enough to provide any useful data. She mentions the informal ta ta, which she considers a morphological variant of thank you (or thanks) with the meaning `goodbye', and the formal I am grateful.

Whereas the gratitude expressions themselves seem to have been the same

some centuries ago as they are today, the intensifiers show a few interesting differences. The intensifiers Aijmer found in the London-Lund Corpus, such as thank you/thanks very much (indeed), thank you so much, thanks awfully and thanks a lot, do not occur at all in the CED, except for many thanks:

I give you many thanks with all my heart

Thanking can also be intensified with what Aijmer calls compound thanks, and defines as `combinations of different strategies' [34].

In analyzing Modern English thanking, she uses Haverkate's (1984) model, where thanking strategies are classified according to what the expression shows gratitude for. The gratitude expression is thus combined with another expression, which defines what the speaker wants to achieve. For instance, thanks is used for explicit thanking, thank you, that's nice of you shows appreciation of the addressee, thank you, that's lovely expresses appreciation of the act, and, oh, thanks expresses emotion. Each of these strategies can be combined with each other and the gratitude expression itself to create an almost infinite number of thanking forms.

In Aijmer's material, 12.8 per cent of the thanking expressions consisted of combinations of thanking strategies, the most frequent combination being appreciation of the act and explicit thanking.

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