THE USE OF CONNECTORS AND THE CONSTRUCTION OF SEMANTIC RELATIONSHIPS IN THE LINGUISTIC DISCOURSE OF "SÜDDEUTSCHE ZEITUNG" MAGAZINE

Review article
DOI:
https://doi.org/10.18454/RULB.2022.32.6
Issue: № 4 (32), 2022
Suggested:
05.07.2022
Accepted:
26.07.2022
Published:
01.08.2022
204
1
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Abstract

The research and study of connectors in written media texts in general, and in our case in the German written media in particular, integrates a considerable range of problems, which in the type of these texts appear in different semantic contexts. This study includes in detail the acquisition of semantic structures in the direct language used in one of the most widely read German media, "Süddeutsche Zeitung". Initially, in the study, the connecting structures in the texts were detected; their sorting and semantic analysis was done, relying on formative and analytical theories as well as the types of connectors standardized by different world researchers, and at the end of the study, conclusions were drawn in relation to all these issues.

1. Introduction

Language is one of the most important intercommunication issues in the discourse of the media world. The interpretation of data, expressed through language, as the primary means of communication, especially in the media community, should be as accurate and as clear as possible. The media data decoder is the key factor that will receive clear information from the linguistic viewpoint and evaluate it through the media text language, as the objective and complete social-communication reality of the language [6, P. 3]. Three essential features must be exclusively met and investigated for the successful realization of the media discourse: meeting the criteria of textuality, researching the language variant and determining the type of the text.

Language must inevitably construct integral texts with a totally acceptable coherence to its decoder in the media discourse of all levels [9]. Coherence in the text and discourse represents their semantic relationships, and it is the result of the cognitive processes of the text performer [1, P. 51]. Its two pillars are: the global coherence and the local coherence. The global coherence includes text links as a whole, whereas the local coherence includes propositional links in the text [3, P. 42-43].

Text-building signs are of special importance in the production of the text and discourse. They have the power of constructing the thought starting with simple expressions up to the expressions with a high level semantic complexity. This phenomenon depends on the level of the decoder or of the social groups that the information is dedicated to [2, P. 56-86], because the text is a part of a written or spoken discourse, which linguistically presents a situation as a relatively closed unit of meaning according to the communication plan, in order to achieve a certain purpose of communication [8, P. 155]. Therefore, in the media discourse, in addition to its coherent constitution, the cohesive text-building signs have an indisputable role, as an element with an important character in the unification of the discourse.

In our study, we relied on the detection of the types of connectors and in the examination of semantic relationships in the linguistic discourse of the German magazine, Süddeutsche Zeitung, whereby it was noticed that the information of different fields is displayed with discourse in addition to being transparent, but also with an extremely compact linguistic discourse in the prism of semantic relationships constructed by connectors.

The use of a high semantic range of phrases in the media linguistic discourse is determined by the level and the ability of the decoder to receive that information. In this context, language variants have a special role, including: dialect, sociolect and idiolect, and the style of the language as communication media. These communication media imply the collective, individual and social production of the language [7, P. 54].

The identification of semantic relationships in the linguistic discourse by connectors is also another equally important feature. It is clear that there is a difference of semantic relationships and relations realized by connectors in the discourse between the language of literary works and the language of the media discourse. The semantic relationships in the language of literary works, expressed between sentences and long paragraphs, turn out to be more complex in the aspect of semantic relationships in the spectrum of the media linguistic discourse. This happens because literary texts have a narrative character, a developed topic and a slow flow of narration. On the other hand, factual texts and, in our case, informative texts, have a concise informative content, mainly expressed with short sentences. Therefore, the determination of semantic relationships in the media linguistic discourse is done accurately [7, P. 54].

2. Methodology

The study “The Use of Connectors and the Construction of Semantic Relationships in the Linguistic Discourse of Süddeutsche Zeitung Magazine” involves the investigation on the use of connectors, their detection, and ascertains semantic relationships built by connectors in the linguistic discourse of articles of various fields published in the German magazine Süddeutsche Zeitung. In this context, several working methods have been introduced, such as: research method, statistical method, selective method and analytical method. The research method has helped to research a considerable number of different articles of Süddeutsche Zeitung magazine starting from the publications of 2011 to date. A part of the research work was related to the field research.

The use of connectors in Süddeutsche Zeitung magazine varies by type. Therefore, the statistical method provides accurate information on the use of the types of connectors in the linguistic discourse of this magazine. This information is also defined semantically in this study, with statistical diagrams on the use of connectors.

It is interesting to point out that during the research work in detecting connectors and in examining the semantic relationships that they construct in the linguistic discourse of Süddeutsche Zeitung magazine, the semantic relationships of connectors, including all articles from each publication of the magazine, were not examined. However, articles from the political, social, economic, educational, health and various fields of the German world and beyond were selected during the work of this study.

The central part of the study is based on detecting the types of the connector mechanism in the texts of this magazine and their semantic relationships. So, our analyses are spread across all types of publications of this magazine, mainly in the November - December publications, from 2011 to the end of 2020.

The methodological work that was applied in the study has helped and enabled to give fruitful results and conclusions in shedding light into the semantic issues, created by connectors, in the German magazine, Süddeutsche Zeitung, as untreated issues.

3. About "Süddeutsche Zeitung" magazine

Copies of Süddeutsche Zeitung magazine were first published in October 1945 in Germany. At the very beginning, this magazine had a limited number of interested people. Whereas today, it has a mega-coverage, as the second most read newspaper in Germany, with an extremely high number of buyers and subscribers, right after the “Der Spiegel” magazine. Currently, over 76,000 subscribers are subscribed to the Süddeutsche Zeitung application. This phenomenon identifies the seriousness, accuracy, intellectual level, attractiveness, interesting topics, standard language and, in a nutshell, its supraregional quality. It should be pointed out that, during its evolutionary journey, especially in the last decade, this magazine presents various events from the field of politics, art, science, economics, health and other fields. In this context, it decorates personalities from these fields for their contribution to this magazine. Among the events realized by Süddeutsche Zeitung magazine are the jubilee events, whereby the successes of its many years of work are crowned. Jubilee events are manifested with the publication of the best works of the year, sponsored by this magazine. During these jubilee events, the editorial staff awards different prizes and, at the same time, shares their opinions dedicated to the people with special needs: “To see that people are ready to help and share with the others what they have, by giving them hope, this is the greatest motivation for me” – (Zu sehen, dass Menschen breit sind, das was sie haben, mit anderen Menschen zu teilen und damit Hoffrung zu schenken, das ist für mich die graöβte Motivation) [10]. This phenomenon explains, among other things, the humanitarian and solidarizing character and mission possessed by the most read magazine in Germany, Süddeutsche Zeitung. Therefore, the functions, messages and tasks of this magazine have polyhedrical dimensions in the German society and beyond. All these dimensions are the result of a positive media discourse, which, without noticeable divergences, serves as an information bridge between the giver and its recipient.

4. Corpus analysis

The study “The Use of Connectors and the Construction of Semantic Relationships in the Linguistic Discourse of Süddeutsche Zeitung Magazine” is based on a voluminous corpus of this magazine. First of all, it is important to point out that Süddeutsche Zeitung magazine is a German daily newspaper, and all the articles have been researched in this magazine, mainly from November to December, over a period of ten years. But, since a repertoire of methods has been used in this study, the selective method has helped enormously in the selection of topics from different spheres of the German world and beyond, which were tackled in this magazine, in order to ascertain the use of the types of connectors in different articles, on the one hand, and the selection of examples with connectors of all kinds for analysis, on the other hand. In this context, the object of our study will be stretched in a very rich corpus of connectors, by means of which the use of connectors and the semantic relationships that they build in the linguistic discourse of this media, as one of the newspapers with the highest rate of readership in Germany, will be noticed through the analyses.

5. Analysis and analysis criteria

The German theoretical opinion about connectors, as the main mechanisms of the text cohesion, is linked to the scholars Robert de Beaugrande and Wolfgang Dressler, who have given important explanations on the main criteria of the text structure, whereby conjunctions are considered of first-hand importance, as the superficial criteria of the text. The joining mechanism between the sentences of the text is a mechanism that clarifies connections between the development of situations and the events of the text. [1, P. 76]. The junction between the clauses is done by means of conjunctions and, in this regard, they divide conjunctions in four groups. The first group includes additive conjunctions (Konjunktionen - und), as a mechanism of additive relationships; the second group includes alternative (disjunctive) conjunctions (Disnjunktionen - oder), which have an alternative function in the text; the third group includes adversative conjunctions (kontranjunktionen - aber), which represent adversative relationships; and the subordination (Subordinators - weil, denn, deshalb...) appears in different subordinating functions and contexts in texts [1, P. 76-79].

We have tried to detect and examine the semantic relationships of connectors in our study based on the classification criteria of conjunctions according to the well-known German scholar De Beaugrande/Dressler. Samples selected from the articles of this magazine will be given as an annex at the end of the study, due to their large volume.

6. The detection of connectors in the linguistic discourse of “Süddeutsche Zeitung” magazine and the diagram on their use

The detection of connectors for analysis in our corpus entailed a dedicated research work. Although connectors have no meaning, as words on their own, the fact that they are widely used in media texts and in other texts should initiate and draw the attention of scholars for their treatment in different prisms of review.

The diagram on the use of connectors reflects the intensity of the use of connectors in the linguistic discourse in one of the most read magazines in Germany.

Table 1 - The diagram on the use of connectors reflects the intensity of the use of connectors in the linguistic discourse in one of the most read magazines in Germany

Type of connectors

Conjunction - und

Disjunction - der

Conjunction - aber

Subordinator – weil/denn

Number of connectors in the linguistic discourse

41

6

9

11

 
The detection of connectors in the linguistic discourse of Süddeutsche Zeitung magazine, publications of November - December of years 2011 - 2021

Figure 1 - The detection of connectors in the linguistic discourse of Süddeutsche Zeitung magazine, publications of November - December of years 2011 - 2021

Connector relationships result in a significant disproportion of use between additive connectors, compared to the other types of connectors. The connector with the advantage of use in the linguistic discourse of this magazine confirms the fact that, in the discourse of the media, events and situations are listed one after the other with mainly coordinated semantic values, compared to the alternative, adversarial and causal semantic values. This finding seems to be only a reflection in support of the data in the diagram on the use of connectors. However, whether or not this will be the objective reality of the semantic relationships that connectors build in the linguistic discourse in the materials of the publications of November - December from 2011 to 2020 in Süddeutsche Zeitung magazine, this will be a problematic issue, which shall be examined thoroughly for each case separately and accurately, immediately below.

7. Analysis of semantic relationships built by connectors

The semantics of the text is a linguistic field, which consists not only in gathering the economic and routine expressions of language, but also in the exposure of linguistic ambiguities during the process of understanding them. In other words, the more we have implicative linguistic opinions and expressions during the communication act, in whatever form it is realized, the determinants of these expressions will appear more and more. In this context, explicit formulations of linguistic expressions will be exposed and clarified by establishing relationships or congruence between the content and expressions in texts [5, P. 27-29].

Our study deals exactly with the problem of semantic relationships or congruence between sentences in the texts of the media linguistic discourse, at the level of connectors. The exact investigation of semantic relationships between sentences and the text as a whole is one of the most complex issues in the theories of text analysis and discourse.

Although connectors function as cohesive tools in the connection of the text, whose status is primarily defined in the perspective “from sentence to text”, they are unavoidably involved in the common game with the context by connecting two textual elements with each-other, and, in this case, a certain substantive relationship becomes explicit [4, P. 17-26]. Based on this dimension, our study, which is already focused on the objective of additive coordinating connectors, includes various semantic relationships, which, in fact, they have built into the linguistic discourse of this magazine. The semantic repertoire includes: additive coordinating relationships, causal relationships, modal relationships, conditional relationships and conclusive relationships. All these semantic values ​​are the result of the communication at the media discourse level, as the aim of our analysis. Initially, we focused on some examples of additive coordinating relationships, which make up the largest number of samples in the magazine:

· "Der an der Unterseite des Helikopters angebrachte Laserscanner tastete die Landschaft im Südosten des brasilianischen Bundesstaats Acre nahe der Grenze zu Bolivien weiträumig mit Laserstrahlen ab und erstellte eine präzise 3-D-Karte der Oberfläche" [11].

· "Zwei Dinge gingen mir durch den Kopf. Erstens: Warum trinken alle Leute im Flugzeug Tomatensaft? Und zweitens: Bin ich eigentlich versichert?" [12].

· "Bei einer Bombenexplosion nahe einer Moschee im Norden Nigerias sollen am Freitag nach Polizeiangaben mindestens fünf Menschen getötet und mehrere verletzt worden sein" [13]. 

According to the semantic viewpoints, different situational connectors are used in the three samples, but with semantic equivalence, not constructing priority relationships or subordinating relationships on each-other. The connector “und” constitutes such relationships in a considerable part of cases, but the contextual and situational circumstances are not always expressed with the same semantic relationships. Within the scope of additive coordinating connectors in this magazine, it was noticed that causal semantic relationships, expressed with the additive connector “und”, are exposed immediately after the additive coordinating relationships, in terms of their number:

· "Sie haben Kopfschmerzen, die erst durch den häufigen und langanhaltenden Gebrauch der Pillen ausgelöst wurden - und nehmen deshalb ständig wieder welche ein" [14].

· "Er hat einen Fehler gemacht und muss dafür büßen" [21].

· "Denn der SPD-Politiker ist ein leidenschaftlicher Schachspieler, und Reizniece-Ozolo ist auf nationaler und internationaler Ebene spitze" [15].

The cases identified above, and not only those, show causal relationships in their semantic essence. The chain link between clauses with the connector “und” really demonstrates ranked facts, but with a semantically causal difference. Language, as a very rich source with implicative elements during the expression and in our case, connectors, as elements of firsthand importance in connecting thoughts, complemented with other causal reinforcing implicatives, provides the possibility for the expression or thought to take a semantic direction other than the additive one that the connector “und” really has. Semantic relationships that express modality take the third place, according to their frequency, in the aspect of their distribution in the texts of Süddeutsche Zeitung magazine.

· “Umso mehr sind wir alle gefordert, ganz besonders achtsam miteinander umzugehen und so Menschen im Winter vor dem Erfrieren zu schützen”, sagte Lucha [16].

· "Sie bekämpft die von den Vereinten Nationen (UN) unterstützte Regierung Somalias und will in dem ostafrikanischen Land ein islamistisches Regime errichten" [17].

· “Damit würden wir die Sozialkassen und die Kommunen maßlos überfordern und das Ziel der Sozialhilfe auf den Kopf stellen”, sagte der CDU-Politiker" [18].

The relationships in the above cases, expressed with the connector “und” and other constructions, realize modal relationships. These relationships coordinate or add facts, which semantically have modal value.

Conditional semantic relationships were also examined while researching samples with the connector “und” in the texts of the said magazine, but in a smaller number compared to causal relationships:

· "Aus meiner Sicht hat Putin sich vergaloppiert und wenn die Ukraine jetzt zur Nato will, kann man ihr das nicht verbieten" [21].

· "Und ich kann dort auch nicht mehr sitzen, ohne dass mir zu viele Dinge im Hinterkopf umherschwirren" [21].

Semantic relationships with conditional parameters have been clearly identified in these two samples, where the ranking of facts is realized by the formal connector “und”. These parameters are also exposed with other complexities integrated in the text, such as the conditional connector “wenn” and the preposition “ohne”.

Cases of conclusive semantic relationships were ascertained during the subsequent analyzes. These relationships are very limited in the number of their use in the texts:

· "Die grundmonetäre Voraussetzung ist im Fußball oft eine andere gewesen und das ist der springende Punkt, weshalb Bundesliga-Klubs aktuell noch besser überleben können als andere Wirtschaftsunternehmen" [19].

Although facts raised in the coordinating level appear in the structural aspect of this sample, conclusive relationships are accepted in its semantic aspect.

Based on all these semantic distributions obtained from the connector “und” in the texts of Süddeutsche Zeitung magazine and coping with a range of numbers grouped into separate semantic relationships, we have tried to present them in the following diagram in order to resolve the confusing question about quantitative proportions of semantic variations:

Table 2 - Quantitative proportions of semantic variations

Type of connector

und

und

und

und

und

und

Built semantic relationship

Additive

Causal

Conditional

Modal

Final

Adversative

Number by relationship

26

6

2

5

1

1

Semantic variants of the additive connector

Figure 2 - Semantic variants of the additive connector

The phenomenon of building different semantic relationships expressed with the connector “und” does not apply to disjunctive, contrajunctive and subordinate semantic relationships in cases of the linguistic discourse of Süddeutsche Zeitung magazine. We have, nevertheless, presented some of the samples analyzed with the abovementioned connectors:

8. Disjunction

· "Im Januar wird der Sachverständigenausschuss Verschreibungspflicht des Bundesinstituts für Arzneimittel und Medizinprodukte erneut darüber beraten, ob die Abgabe solcher Allerweltspillen wie Paracetamol, Acetylsalizylsäure (etwa 

), Ibuprofen, Naproxen und Diclofenac unter Rezeptpflicht gestellt oder zumindest stark beschränkt werden soll" [14].

· Ein Anruf bei der Polizei, beim Ordnungsamt oder im akuten Notfall beim Rettungsdienst kann Leben retten”, sagte der Minister" [16].

The alternative semantic function and meaning of these examples, realized by the disjunctive connector “oder”, presents alternative relationships of expressions. This means that one of the views expressed highlights the superiority or priority of the implementation, while the other one is singled out or completely eliminated. In this context, the text decoder gives priority to the thought, which, according to him, will be more acceptable, or simply accepts the information that represents two or more alternative expressions.

9. Contrajunctions

· "So etwas funktioniert vielleicht in den Medien, aber nicht in der realen Welt" [20].

· "Vieles erscheint einem erstmal negativ, aber wenn man genauer hinschaut, erkennt man auch hinter schlimmen Dingen Positives" [21].

The contraconjunctive connector “aber”, used in the second clauses of the expressions, contradicts the first part of the thought. Meanwhile, the second case constitutes adversarial-conditional relationships in the semantic aspect. Conditional semantic relationships are given through the typical conditional connector “wenn”, building thus bisemantic relations.

10. Subordinators

· "Der Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport ist so verkehrsstark, weil er ein wichtiges Drehkreuz für umsteigende Passagiere innerhalb der USA ist" [22].

· “Viele Menschen halten diese Mittel für unproblematisch, gerade weil sie frei verkäuflich sind”, sagt der Pharmakologe Kay Brune von der Universität Erlangen" [14].

· "Experten wollen den Verkauf von bislang rezeptfreien Schmerzmitteln wie Aspirin und Paracetamol erschweren. Denn die Medikamente können zu Magenblutungen, Leberschäden, Nierenversagen, Herzinfarkt, Schlaganfall und Asthma führen sowie süchtig machen" [14].

· "Eine große Überraschung, denn die bislang eher gängige Expertenmeinung war, dass der südliche Rand des Amazonasraums damals kaum besiedelt war" [11].

In all the cases, the subordinating connectors and precisely the causal connectors, establish causal contextual differentiations, which, in the given contexts, represent explanatory and clarifying situational causal flows. However, in some of the highlighted samples, the decoder accepts the information with semantic parameters of cause-effect.

11. Conclusion

The study “The Use of Connectors and the Construction of Semantic Relationships in the Linguistic Discourse of Süddeutsche Zeitung Magazine” is a problematic issue, which we have tried to shed some light on. This study belongs to a concrete field, which is directly linked to the language of an active informative discourse, and it extends in two segments. The first segment turns out to be a little more explanatory, and it has an etabulating character in the formal aspect, but which represents an important dimension, without which it would be impossible to realize semantic transformations, as another treated segment. In this context, the examination and analysis of the semantic relationships of connectors in the linguistic discourse is the organizational center of the project.

Since the object matter of the study was based on a rich corpus of connectors, then the possibility to address their semantic modifications or variations and to operationalize their analysis was easier, because the texts of the media discourse of Süddeutsche Zeiutung magazine consist of a wide group of connectors produced spontaneously at certain intervals of time. Therefore, given this range of consideration, it can be said that the communication produced in this spontaneous discourse, in our case that of media, implies the treatment of the implicatives of the original and direct language in the act of communication. As implicative cohesive elements of our discourse under consideration, connectors are of great importance for the connection of the text and, at the same time, for its coherent structure. Therefore, in this context, the use of connectors and their semantic relationships in the discourse of the prominent German media, Süddeutsche Zeiutung, leads to these conclusions:

· Connectors have an integrative character in the linguistic discourse of this magazine. They realize the connection of expressions and thoughts in texts by giving the text an acceptable cohesive and substantive format and a unique and compact structure, so that the decoder can accept it without any ambiguity.

· From the long research work, first in the collection of connectors, then in their selection and sorting, it has been concluded that connectors used in the texts of this discourse come out with disproportionate performances in terms of the number of their types. In this respect, the additive connectors have shown to be used more, compared to the use of alternative, adversative and causal connectors. In these reports of the distribution of connectors in texts, the implementation of connectors with coordinating relationships is noticed in general as a priority, compared to the distribution of subordinating relationships, or relationships that express semantic subordination in the texts of the discourse for analysis.

· The identification of semantic relations or relationships, which the connectors have realized in the texts of our discourse for analysis, represents a colossal work in this study. This is confirmed by the fact that there is a considerable number of text and discourse theories on the division of semantic relationships established by connectors in the text and discourse. But considering the actual sources, as one of the important pillars of this project and relying on the most modern theories for the text and discourse, after long-term reviews, we have come, without significant obstacles, to these acceptable key conclusions:

- In the texts of the media discourse of Süddeutsche Zeiutung magazine, additive connectors realize additive, causal, modal, conditional, final and semantic adversarial relationships.

- In terms of their appearance in the texts of this magazine, additive, causal and modal relationships lead, while conditional, conclusive and adversarial relationships appeared very rarely.

- In the texts of our discourse for analysis, alternative (disjunctive), adversarial (conjunctive) and causal subordinating relationships do not express semantic modifications, but alternative, adversarial and causal modifications. The adversarial connector (aber) shows adversarial - conditional bisemantic relations in one case only.

- Finally, it is interesting to point out the fact that the identification of semantic variations of connectors in the texts of the media discourse of Süddeutsche Zeitung magazine is realized based on the general context of expressions as well as on other implicative elements in opinions and statements, as precious pieces, which give a direction and orientation of meaning to the language expressions inventory.

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