Particularities Of Adopter’slinguistic Persona (On The French Forums Of Adoptive Parents)


This article presents the study and the description of the main characteristics inherent in the linguistic persona of the French adopter, as well as his linguistic picture of the world, the system of values, the culture and the totality of motives that were revealed as a result of the analysis of texts in the forum discourse. The author gives a brief description of the theoretical foundations of the study of the linguistic persona, gives definitions of this term, proposed by linguistic scientists. In addition, this paper offers some examples on the basis of which the conclusions of this work were drawn. The article corresponds to the goals and tendencies of the development of modern society and is associated with important social themes. In addition, when analyzing the characteristics of the linguistic identity of the French adopter, the author of the article refers to cultural values, realities and the social context.

Keywords: Linguistic personaconceptdiscourseadopterportrait


Currently, due to various social, economic and other reasons, there is an increase in the number of families with adopted children. A certain role in this is played by the process of globalization, which opens up an increasing number of countries for international adoption and thereby facilitates familiarity with new cultures. Adoptive parents who have the unique experience and have passed a difficult path can be considered as a special category of linguistic persona with their values, motives, worldview and verbal-semantic structures.

Problem Statement

The study of the specifics of the linguistic persona of the adopter is, therefore, relevant, as it corresponds to the tendencies in the development of the anthropological approach in linguistics, as well as to the modern views on social, demographic and cultural issues.

Research Questions

The identification of values, the ideology specifics of adoptive parents and their manifestation in speech that can be of practical importance for social and judicial bodies when drawing up and studying the documents of potential adoptive parents, for the psychological services responsible for adopted children.

The analysis of the linguistic persona of the adoptive parent that can help to determine the specificity of the perception of reality by the adopter, verbal and semantic organization of speech, both oral and written, and also to compile a general portrait taking into account social, personal, cultural characteristics.

Purpose of the Study

Analysis of the lexical and grammatical features of the speech of the adoptive parents that would make it possible to compile a generalized portrait of this "linguistic persona".

Research Methods

The analysis of the material for this study found on the French Internet forums for adoptive parents (, and others).


The concept of "linguistic persona" appeared in the 30s of the XX century in the studies of V. Vinogradov and J. Weisgerber. It was introduced in a wide scientific use by Y. Karaulov, according to which a linguistic persona is a person who has the ability to create and to perceive texts that differ by: "a) the degree of structural and linguistic complexity; b) the depth and accuracy of the reflection of reality; c) a certain target orientation" (Karaulov, 2010, p. 48).

Y. Karaulov also developed a level model of the linguistic persona, including, in his opinion, three structural levels: verbal-semantic which is reflecting the degree of fluency in everyday language; cognitive where there is place to the actualization and identification of knowledge and ideas inherent in the society and creating a collective and (or) individual cognitive space; pragmatic, which includes the identification and characterization of motives and goals, driving the development of the linguistic persona.

In this case, for example, the concept of "linguistic persona" may be considered as a generalized category, abstracted from a specific performer. The researchers believe that the linguistic persona is not the passportization of a particular person, but the model of the aggregate speech activity of a group of persons (Shirina, 2002), the specific characteristics of the individual correlate with the concept of "linguistic portrait".

The concept of a three-level structure of the linguistic persona in a certain way correlates with three types of communicative needs - contact-setting, information and influencing, as well as with three sides of the communication process - communicative, interactive and perceptual. In this regard, it can be noted that the Internet forum, chosen by us as a research material, allows us to realize all three needs - its participants communicate, share information, ask questions, receive and evaluate responses.

The content level of a linguistic persona usually includes such components:

  • the value, ideological component of the content of upbringing, i.e. system of values, or life meanings.

  • the culturological component, i.e. level of development of culture as an effective means of increasing interest in language.

  • the personal component, i.e. the individual, deep nature that each person possesses (Maslova, 2013).

Thus, it can be assumed that the linguistic persona is some combination of the global view of the world, the language culture and personal characteristics of a person. Levels of the linguistic persona are undoubtedly related, but there is no direct dependence here.

While studying the messages on the forums, we highlighted the following features.

The authors of the reports are mainly middle-aged women (over 28 years old, according to the French adoption legislation), married or not married. It is noted that in the first case, women use the plural, emphasizing the participation of both spouses in the described activities (for example, nous avons adopté / we adopted, notre fille / our daughter ). The use of the plural to unite parents with children is much less common: in this case, the indefinite-personal pronoun on is predominantly used in the sense of we , for example, on décidera ensemble / we will decide together (Testimony of an adopting parent, 2007).

One can note a good level of education and, as a consequence, a correct written speech of adoptive parents who use compound sentences, various inclinations, approvals and, on the whole, respect the word. This can be explained by the high demands that the French government places on the social and material level of potential adoptive parents forced to undergo lengthy inspections and expect the authorities' decision for almost a year.

These messages are characterized by correct punctuation, not abounding with excessive question marks, exclamation marks or dots, which could increase the emotional impact. There are no emoticons that are an integral part of messages on most modern forums. On the contrary, the forums of adoptive parents are distinguished by messages using the courtesy formulas and appeals ( pour répondre à la dernière question / answering the last question, merci à toutes pour tous vos témoignages / thank you all for your stories ), observing the logic of constructing a standard personal letter. This again indicates the high cultural level of adoptive parents, their respect for language.

Adopters and those who are just preparing to adopt a child in their family are united by common values, the main one being the family. However, in view of the fact that adoption requires a lot of administrative conditions and a certain lengthy procedure, this process is called le projet / project . The corresponding concept includes not only bureaucratic formalities, but also thorough preliminary preparation, as in any project, consideration, study of possible options and ways to solve the problem ( faire mûrir un projet d'adoption / think carefully - literally "let mature" - the adoption project ) . Adoptive parents approach the moment of meeting with their child, being maximally convinced of their intention. That is why the lexical unit projet / project is used quite often and, in this context, has a certain connotation of " dream realization " (for example, Bon courage pour votre projet / Happy realization of your project ).

Separately it is necessary to allocate such concept, as la peur / the fear that is often meeting in messages on forums. Adoptive parents are afraid of an administrative refusal, the unknown origin of the child, they are not sure how to talk better about adoption, are afraid of reaction, etc. Despite the fact that France is an European country that has long turned to international adoption, we see that parents continue to suffer because of impolite views and tactless questions from strangers (for example, les questions maladroites and voire totalement indiscrètes / stupid and even completely tactless questions ).

In addition, it can be noted that for adoptive parents it is important to communicate: with their children, with acquaintances, with unfamiliar interlocutors at the forum that have had such an experience. They support and reassure each other, give advice and share their stories. One of the main motivations for applying to the forum is the desire to be the same as all / être comme les autres , to find like-minded people. Parents inspire their adopted children the same idea that they are "the same as everyone else" (The first post-adoptive rapport, 2017).


Summarizing, we can characterize the linguistic persona of the adopter as follows.

7.1. The linguistic persona of the adopter, existing in the context of a specific (in our case, French) culture, has a high cultural level and a strict system of values, an important place among which is the family, the continuation of the family and the protection of their children. Installations and motifs on the lingua-cognitive level are reflected in the process of creating texts and their content, as well as in the peculiarities of the perception of other people's texts. This persona is open to the process of globalization, which gives him the opportunity to become a parent.

7.2. On the personal plane, the adopter values ​​his life experience, but is ready to share it with those who can help. He is able to empathize and support. The verbal and semantic level of the linguistic persona of the adopter is characterized by the richness of lexical and grammatical means, which are no longer typical of contemporary forum discourse (courtesy formulas, complex syntactic constructions, etc.).


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30 April 2018

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Sociolinguistics, linguistics, semantics, discourse analysis, translation, interpretation

Cite this article as:

Bachurskaya, V. (2018). Particularities Of Adopter’slinguistic Persona (On The French Forums Of Adoptive Parents). In I. V. Denisova (Ed.), Word, Utterance, Text: Cognitive, Pragmatic and Cultural Aspects, vol 39. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 219-222). Future Academy.