Church sermon and epitaph encourage people to reflect upon the most serious things. Time has come to consider the revival of moral principles, ethics and spirituality. We should pay much attention to corresponding words and phrases to express people’s desire to unite and show examples of noble behavior. Such forms as sermon and epitaph can be of great help in this.
Death is considered by many scholars in different branches of science. The end of one man life is often a crucial moment in the thoughts of many people. They meditate about their own lives, to be more exact, about how much they managed to achieve in it. These thoughts are connected with the problem of service to society, people's memories, dignity, glory, etc. All of these is reflected in sermon and epitaph.
Recently, in the field of religious communication in its discursive manifestations, interest from various linguistic trends has increased. The purpose of the research is identification of the pragmalinguistic specificity of sermon and epitaph as a variety of communication. The relevance of this problem lies in the fact of its importance for people’s virtue and not only. It’s also of great importance to turn to the speech peculiarities of sermon and epitaph.
The discourse of the matter lies in the consideration a set of texts of sermons and epitaphs. They are regarded as common study by the fact of general conditions of their creation. The participants of the communication, as well as purposes, themes, valuable orientations have specific means of speech influence on the target audience.
The research corps are complied of Russian-speaking Christian priests’ church sermons and epitaph texts. All preachers are authoritative representatives of Orthodox church. Their sermons are widely disclosed in the media. The epitaph examples are taken from literary sources and tombstones. These aspects characterize the research material nature and reflect common features of church sermon and epitaph.
Pragmalinguistic approach to the sermon and epitaph study let us answer the following questions:
1. How can the authors influence the target audience in the given speech situation?
2. What linguistic means must be used to reflect the author’s desire to hold the reader’s attention?
3. Why must the reader or listener answer to this influence?
The study of the sermon and epitaph essence is based on the speech behavior of religious preachers and epitaph senders in the framework of implicit pragmalinguistics , , .
It’s not a secret that man behavior evolves from his ways and habits. It is not very much controlled by his mind. We can call them almost automatical. Speech behavior in pragmalinguistics is understood as “an automated stereotyped speech manifestation, devoid of conscious motivation” [9, P. 28]. We can define them as “the speech experience of the sender of the message, formed as a result of repeated statements in typical situations and updated by the sender instantly and automatically” [6, P. 48].
Speech behavior is developed during all the life period and is an individual speech manifestation. It is formed according to the language rules. In speech the influence of socio-psychological conditions of communication made people use habitual speech patterns. This speech is developed circumstantially. It is influenced by different factors, such as place of birth, education, upbringing, age, gender, situational roles, etc. The speech behavior of an individual contains imprint characteristics of the society, of which he is a part. We can affirm that there are definite stereotyped speech patterns, which can be expressed as a speech manifestation typical to the particular social group under typical conditions of communication. Nevertheless, to identify the features of the stereotyped speech behavior of a particular society, it is necessary to analyze the speech behavior of its individual representatives.
We analyze the authors' speech behavior according to the speech strategy "Accentuation of statement elements". Accentuation, or emphasis is a sharp selection with the help of special means (phonetic, syntactic, morphological, lexical and graphic) of those elements of speech that, in the speaker’s opinion, are of particular communicative significance [8, P. 111]. Here the mechanism of the pragmatic «principle of priority» is included . This creates the focus of the statement, which has an impacting potential , when not the logical forms in the language come to the fore, but the emotionality and expressiveness of speech [1, P. 36].
The Accentuation strategy has two planes of expression – accentuated and unaccentuated planes – and is associated with the usual, unconscious choice of speech signals by the addressee, that is, the choice of forms of textual categories that organize the text. This choice is defined by the importance for the sender and reader or listener of the text of certain elements of the statement. You can find out the conativeness of this plan when the author chooses the definite elements of the utterance: forms of imperative mood, interrogative sentence models, inversions, when making the subordinate clause before the main one, etc. , , .
Here are some examples:
1. Сей камень ставьте над могилой в знак памяти об ней! (Put this stone over the grave as a sign of memory of her! – authors’ translation) [10, P. 45];
2. Твой кроткий ангельский дух тамо обитает, где добродетели творец определил (Your meek angelic spirit there dwells where the virtues creator defined. – authors’ translation) [10, P. 46];
3. Тебе воздвигнули мы крест (For you erected we a cross. – authors’ translation) [10, P. 46].
We calculated the speech signals of the accentuated and unaccentuated planes in the statements of the authors. The accentuated plan for the Russian epitaph senders is 60.4% and the unaccentuated plan is 39.6% . These results indicate the usual isolation of elements in the composition of this statement among the epitaphs addressees.
Analysis of absolute speech indicators reflecting the preferences of the authors, on the basis of which an idea of the stereotyped speech behavior of members of the social group of religious preachers is formed, shows that in analysed language group, each sender also has the accentuated plan . Here are some examples from sermon texts.
4. Смотрите, други мои, как мы с вами счастливы, что принадлежим Православной Церкви! [Johann Krestyankin]. (Look, my friends, how happy we are that we belong to the Orthodox Church! – authors’ translation).
5. Почему же так жаждали духоносные подвижники благочестия добродетелей? [Johann Snychev]. (Why did the spirit-bearing ascetics of the piety of virtues so crave? – authors’ translation).
The indicators of four of the six Russian-speaking preachers are within the confidence interval: Archimandrite Johann Krestyankin – 73.1%, Metropolitan Johann Snychev – 69.8%, Archpriest Artemiy Vladimirov – 71.4%, Patriarch Kirill Gundyaev – 67.5%. The accentuated plan in the group of Russian priests is 70%, the unaccentuated plan – 30%, respectively . The indicated priests demonstrate stereotypical speech behavior for the social group being studied, which corresponds to the genre norm according to the criterion of accentuation and is standard. From the point of view of the implicit pragmalinguistics, the fact of dominance of emphasis plan markers in speech behavior proves the sender’s ability “to interact effectively with readers and listeners, that the author skillfully owns speech means of influencing the addressee and skillfully controls the attention of his interlocutor” [6, P. 239].
The sender’s wish to use the emphatic plan is related to the specification of the discursive genre of church preaching as well as to the laconic epitaph words. Thus accentuation is performing pragmatic functions: to arouse interest to the theme of speech; to focus the addressee’s attention to the most important elements of the priest's speech and epitaphic text; to define the correctness of the utterance from the religious, dogmatic point of view; to interpret real happenings.
Emphasis is given to the essence of the sermon and epitaph. It helps to create persuasiveness and emotional influence. Clarifying the religious doctrine of “teaching morality” is one of the main task of the church sermon and epitaph. So, receivers are encouraged to do things that are in harmony with the standards of Christian morality. In such a way they influence their mind and feelings. It is for this purpose that the speech emphasis plan is used. The preacher can control the audience attention and perception, highlighting certain elements of the statement. In such a way he can model people behavior in accordance with the Christian doctrine.
It should be mentioned that senders of texts of two speech genres – sermons and epitaphs – choose the accentuated plan. However, the preachers demonstrate it increasingly. We believe that it is connected with the features of public speech. So, we can identify the linguistic and cultural specifics of their speech behavior.
To cut it short, the stereotypical speech behavior of Russian religious preachers and epitaph senders research showed that the dominant line of speech influence of the sender on the target audience is the accentuated plan, the pragmatic effect of which is regulation of people’s emotions and the text perception.
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