The study of the Russian-language computer-mediated communication regularities in the framework of foreign-language classroom shows that the use of the rhetorical models of the interaction between the blogger and the respondents provides the students’ intellectual development based on their involvement in the joint processes of constructing the dialogical statement semantic content and the new linguistic knowledge. The aim of the study is to identify those rhetorical patterns of unfolding of Russian-language computer-mediated communication, which are effective in the study of the dialogic forms of communication in a foreign-language audience based on discursive methods of analysis of language and speech phenomena. Taking into account the logic of the joint generation of the text of the blog, in which the actual knowledge is interpreted by the interlocutors as a temporary fixation of some ideas, constructed by the game of different voices, in the context of the educational foreign-language audience contributes to the development of students’ practical skills aimed at the personal decision nomination and argumentation. The increased attention to the discursive activity of the interlocutors in the blogosphere is due to the fact that the study of the texts generated in it contributes to the systematization of the students’ efforts in the process of developing skills to express the critical assessment of the events and phenomena discussed.
Keywords: Russian-language computer-mediated communicationRussian as a foreign languagedialoguerhetorical concessive relationscritical thinking
Philosophers, psychologists, specialists in the field of education, often resorting to an interdisciplinary perspective of research, focus their attention on the art, science and practice of dialogue, the integral importance of dialogic thinking as a cognitive ability of the individual, in particular, based on such a concept as «interactivity» (Gavronskaya, 2008; Korchazhkina, 2008). In the context of computer-mediated communication, the system characteristics of the dialogue are manifested in the blog text, jointly generated by the participants of the virtual communication. Co-production of text is manifested through the interaction of bloggers and their readers in the comments section. Respondents provide feedback, ask their questions, express personal opinions. Bloggers read the comments, react to them and, in turn, request the required information from the respondents, incorporate the content generated by the respondents in their subsequent messages. Bloggers also read and comment on texts posted on other blogs, actively discuss the rules of creating virtual texts and the tone of individual messages. Interactivity and joint generation of virtual texts is considered as an essential characteristic of both the public sphere and the «invisible College»: the interaction of authors and readers focuses on problems of public importance, attempts are made to verify and test the required knowledge in the field of politics, technology, culture and everyday life (Jaroslavceva, 2011; Stepanov & Shkirtil’, 2012).
Interactivity within the blogs is understood as the absence of boundaries in the production and receipt of messages. New technologies allow the simultaneous communication between a blogger and several respondents. Participation in commenting on stimulating blogger posts transforms the mass audience into active interlocutors. In this regard, as an innovative characteristic of blogs is considered not so much the content of jointly generated texts, as those ways, based on which the communicative process between the author and the reader, as well as between two or more readers.
The blogs show obvious social characteristics, since Internet users not only generate the relevant content through the initiation of messages and their subsequent commenting, but also create new online communities that have a strong linguistic and cultural identity (Kudryashov & Kalashnikova, 2015). In addition to this, blogs are characterized by us as alternative media, since their creators and respondents are not considered to be representatives of a socially passive audience. The blogs are channels for interactive collaboration, an area in which Internet users with similar preferences and interests come together. The relative openness of the blogosphere — voicing a wide variety of heterogeneous voices — implies that every Internet user can take part in discussing and commenting on an actualized problem, the most effective and reasoned one.
Dialogues and discussions are carried out with open access to both the original messages of bloggers and subsequent readers’ comments. It should be noted that the sarcasm, harsh criticism and not always relevant humor are interpreted as the dominant stylistic characteristics of communication within blogs. At the same time, an implicit agreement is found between bloggers and readers about when the «hot-tempered» tone is appropriate and effective: along with actual problems, participants of virtual communication also openly discuss the rules of virtual narrative style and etiquette of communication among Internet users.
A blog is «the voice» of a single person who, in an attempt to find absolute truth, transforms an online message into a dialogue, capturing the echoes of the previously heard and seen. At the same time, truth becomes an individual project, and not an absolute value, sanctioned by competent authorities. Being a product of the era of deconstruction, the blogs offer an outsider a constant stream of opinions, interpretations of events, facts and phenomena that do not always correspond to generally accepted concepts and categories, which are directly reflected in their language design. The nontrivial semantic position, in turn, is generated as a reaction to the increasing complexity of interpersonal relationships in everyday reality, the incommensurability of various ideas about this reality and the lack of mutual understanding about its origins and driving forces.
Experts in the field of education make a significant contribution to the discussion of the problem of developing critical thinking based on various dialogical forms (Bylkova, Chubova, & Kolmakova, 2018; Kudryashov & Klemenova, 2016). In the method of teaching Russian as a foreign language, this phenomenon is discussed primarily on the material of studying the means of argumentation: there are gaps in the students’ cognitive processes and methods for correcting them are proposed (Borisenkova, 2006). The predisposition to the critical thinking is interpreted as consecutive intrinsic motivations for the dialogical realization of initiating and stimulating statements in a discussion. This predisposition is based on such psychological characteristics of an individual as open-mindedness, desire for justice, awareness and recognition of the interlocutor’s point of view, curiosity, communicative flexibility, a tendency to establish the cause-effect relationships between the events and facts.
Recognizing the specific abilities that predetermine the critical thinking, the presence of an individual’s predisposition to this type of thinking, experts in the field of education solve the problem of how to teach a trained subject to think critically. First of all, the necessity of active involvement of the subject in the dialogue is asserted. In connection with this, the concept of the dialogical critical thinking is introduced. The dialogue itself is interpreted, among other things, as the moment of meeting of two individuals with the purpose of reflecting on reality in the light of their own individual views on this reality (Bylkova & Kudryashov, 2017). The dialogue communication is an invariant component of the methodology of teaching the critical thinking, since it is in the dialogue that the interlocutor’s perspectives are taken into account, the truth of his judgments is evaluated, and new effective knowledge is generated together. Methods of teaching the critical thinking in dialogue and through dialogue are actively developed. Thus, critical thinking is a dialogic process, enabling the speaker to objectively evaluate both his / her own opinion and the interlocutor’s point of view in terms of the problem being discussed.
The use of the problematic forms in education, and, consequently, the activation of the dialogical critical thinking, is predetermined by such two research prospects as:
cognitive perspective: social interaction constructively influences the processes of cognitive processing of incoming information, the explanatory function of the language stimulates thinking and is the basis for generating new knowledge;
the socio-constructivist perspective: the individual seeks to become a full member of a certain social community, in this context, learning is a dialogue, a form of joint construction of direct and indirect semantics.
Based on the above perspectives, it can be said that the dialogue in Russian is not only an effective mechanism for achieving certain cognitive results, but also a means of transforming social relations in the context of a foreign-language educational audience. In this connection, the actual problem is whether the activation of critical thinking can optimize the teaching / learning processes of such a complex communicative skill as a reasoned oral dialogic speech. Acknowledging the complexity of this phenomenon, the researchers argue that dialogic speech is a skill that requires students to master the entire set of rhetorical and linguistic conventions, and oral speech registers. In particular, when learning the Russian language in a foreign language audience, an urgent problem is the analysis of subordinate unions no / but, chotya / although as the markers of rhetorical concessive relations within the respondent’s responding comments in the blog texts, as they shed light on the implementation of the language phatic function in the virtual conversation.
Purpose of the Study
The purpose of this study is to reveal the methodological effectiveness of structural and pragmatic parameters of concessive rhetorical relations in the blog texts in the process of teaching Russian in a foreign language audience.
The following research methods are used in the work: theoretical analysis of the current literature on the professional pedagogy and psychology, its semantic determination; special literature on the teaching of foreign languages and learning, communicative computational linguistics, computer technologies; idealization, modeling, scientific forecasting and design, diagnostic and monographic description; logical and epistemological methods (observation, study of experience, pedagogical experiments); diagnostic methods (testing, questioning, generalization of independent characteristics), based on the method of correspondent data collection, compilation of innovative teaching experience in teaching foreign languages and Russian as a foreign language using a computer, empirical methods of monitoring communicative speech and foreign students using computers, psychological, pedagogical and diagnostic and statistical analysis of students’ learning activities.
The study of the rhetorical concessive relations in the foreign language audience, carried out on the material of the blog texts, covers two problem of learning Russian:
the analysis of the connecting means between the stimulus and the reaction;
the modus dictum coordination of stimulus and response.
The concept of the virtual text coherence coordinates with the problems of organizing the microtexts that is separate text segments that include messages from two or more interlocutors. Based on frame analysis, we single out the basic way of organizing text, namely the principle of message pragmatic combination into a structural-semantic integral unity. The blog text should be analyzed in the foreign language audience in terms of identities and differences. The aggregate mechanism of language functioning is based exclusively on systems of identities and differences, and these systems turn out to be the flip side of each other. Each language level is characterized by isomorphism: similar and different multi-level units of a language (identity and difference) turn out to be the invariant that binds together the separate layers of the language and the system of the language as a whole.
When learning Russian in a foreign language audience, the concessive relation markers (as a means of cohesiveness in the blog text) can be differentiated as typical and atypical ones. The typical markers are used exclusively in the function of indicating the concessive relationship between the segments of the utterance (chotya / although, nesmotrya na / in spite of). The atypical markers combine this function with the function of indicating the adversary relationship (no / but). The markers that frequently manifest the concessive relationships are difficult to classify, since different researchers have equally different opinions about these markers. Thus, the possibilities of classifying the conjunction no / but are revealed, but at the same time as marking the relationships of contrast and concession. The boundaries between contrast and concession are not always clearly visible, and therefore these types of relationships can be labeled by the same means.
The main purpose of the conjunction no / but is the expectation negation (in the concessive meaning), and the marking of the contrast relationship and clarification characteristic of this conjunction is the function derived from the concession expressing. As part of our research, it is interpreted as a marker of concessive rhetorical relations. The researchers are unanimous in that the conjunction chotya / although unambiguously marks the concessive relations between the utterance segments.
Blog texts are characterized by the fact that the respondent expresses opinions with the aim of convincing the author of the effectiveness of certain facts or ideas that highlight his / her private life and professional activities. The respondent presents arguments in favor of his / her opinion, introduces the rationale for this opinion and at the same time indicates that the point of view expressed by the blogger is also relevant in the context of the situation under discussion. The respondent, as a rule, agrees with the blogger’s opinion and at the same time presents his / her point of view, both of which are considered by him / her as relevant in the context of the situation under discussion. The concessive rhetorical relations, marked by the conjunction no / but, project the conflict-free development of casual communication, give the respondent the opportunity to present the semantic positions that are made public in the jointly generated blog text, as both effective and relevant in the context of the everyday issues discussed.
As a result, the points of view put forward by the blogger and the respondent are not contrasted, but complementary to each other, since they are presented as reflecting not a different vision of the same situation, actualize various aspects of this situation related to its positive and negative perception. It turns out that the same situation potentially generates both positive and negative emotions, and this is emphasized in the virtual communication based on the implementation of the language phatic function. The concessive rhetorical relations within the blog text contribute to the combination of different epistemic positions expressed by the interlocutors.
The concessive constructions, which are actualized in the blog text, reflect the transition of the casual conversation from objective methods of categorizing facts to connotative methods, which, in turn, predetermines the focus of interest in the text, namely this structure:
limits the validity of the proposition, which was previously initiated at the level of a single dialogical move;
introduces implicit additional information that is important to readers of the blog text;
prevents possible objections from the blogger;
summarizes the information that was updated in the previous course of expanding the blog text.
The implicit meaning manifested by the concessive rhetorical relations sheds light on the information about the responder’s identity, since it reflects the once acquired life and professional experience. The interlocutors’ focus of attention is shifted to the emotional experience of this experience. The concession initiated by the respondent in favor of the blogger’s point of view provides an opportunity to inform the blogger and other respondents about what was recorded in his / her memory about the events or facts under discussion. The pragmatic function of rhetorical concessive relations in the indicated context of conducting the virtual conversation is seen in the presenting important details of the discussed issues from the point of view of the respondent’s subjective perspective, which differs from the corresponding perspective expressed by the blogger. The responsive replica, reflecting the memorized event, is perceived by the blogger and other respondents as an intensified emotional experience, which confronts the respondent with the problem of reproducing events, allowing them to overcome a spectacular state and maintain a distance to the source of the memorized event. Constructing a rhetorical concessionary relationship, the respondent reproduces «himself / herself of the past» as an outside subject. He does not so much remember himself / herself as he / she surveys everyday reality in the measurement of the past tense, i.e. It represents not only the everyday reality of the world, but also the unique way of this reality emotional perception.
As the smallest semantic and structural unit of the blog unison text the dictum / modus unity of the two messages, stimulating and reactive ones. The opposition «blogger–respondent» is associated with the problem of the border separating the internal and external space in the linguistic personality’s speech consciousness. The blogger’s tasks while initiating messages are choosing the proposition (modus and dictum) that meets his / her interaction purposes. Accordingly, for the respondent, the task is to recognize this proposition and purposes. The blogger’s communicative behavior is focused on the respondent, on his / her accepting the communicative intention and the corresponding understanding implicating speech actions required from him / her. In this case, the blogger’s pragmatic goal is associated with achieving projected version of understanding. In this regard, one of the main targets of the blog text is the respondent’s interpretation of the stimulating message dictum / modus component in the context of the current interlocutors’ contact.
The stimulating message contains may contain both dictum and modus component. This message may contain a dictum, a modus and a dictum with a modus. However, the case of «pure» dictum or modus can be interpreted as the implicit dictum or the implicit modus in the message. Dictum is the fact of the massage, modus is the interlocutor’s reaction on the dictum component. The facts of the reality are reflected in the message in the form of the axiological and mental potential. Dictum is the fact of the entity space; modus is the fact of the dialogical communication axiological space.
Projecting the message, the respondent reacts both to the stimulus content and to the blogger’ attitude to the stimulus content, i.e. to its modus component. In the process of expanding the blog text while implementing the unison frame, four slots of the modus-dictum coordination of the interlocutors’ speech actions are theoretically allocated.
Slot № 1. Modus reacting to the stimulating message modus component
The respondent supports the blogger’s opinion, which is the modus proposition of the original message. Cf. (for convenience here and further the stimulating and reacting messages are represented in the form of dialogical replicas): (1)
Slot № 2. Modus reacting to the stimulating message dictum component
In the form of an evaluative judgment, the respondent puts forward his / her personal point of view on the event, which constitutes the dictum proposition of the blogger’s message:
Slot № 3. Dictum reacting to the stimulating message dictum component
The respondent agrees with the informative content of the blogger's message, which constitutes the stimulus dictum proposition, and also covers additional information as the confirmation of his / her consent:
Slot № 4. Dictum reacting to the stimulating message modus component
The blogger expresses a certain modus assessment of some state of affairs; the respondent supports this assessment with information which is unknown to the blogger: (4)
The modus component of the blogger’s stimulating message inevitably entails the effect of intrusion into the boundaries of the respondent’s inner «Self» and, consequently, the effect of influence on his / her emotions. In parallel with the dictum content, the modus component of the stimulus provides the blogger with an opportunity to emphasize the power of persuasion of the impact, to appeal to the respondent’s attention, to win over him or her, or to engage in discussing the actual issues. Such significant extensions should, in our opinion, be considered as components of the stimulating message semantic structure, since the positive outcome of the virtual communication unfolding at the same time largely depends on their actualization in speech.
Processing the stimulating message modus component, the respondent not only establishes the subject of what speech impact he / she is planned to be, but also interprets the «grammar» of the emotional impact. It is the emotions concentrated in the stimulating message modus component that seem to have a decisive influence on the respondent’s natural-logical conclusion regarding his / her subsequent reaction, namely the possibility of implementing the frame of cohesion of unison messages in computer-mediated communication specific conditions.
We interpret the blog as an alternative type of the educational text, the study of which opens up the new opportunities for the developing the effective means of the personal position argumentation and initiating the dialogical discourse in a foreign-language audience. The extensive use of such texts in the framework of a foreign language classroom creates conditions for an effective dialogue space, jointly generated by the teacher and students, in the context of which the following parameters of interpersonal interaction in the Russian language are worked out:
instructing trainees on semantic and pragmatic principles and procedures for the joint generation of a coherent dialogic text;
developing the linguistic resources for the description of the facts and occurrences through the repeated repetition;
accumulation of linguistic knowledge through stimulating dialogue replicas aimed at activating in the long-term memory the information that was previously said, or the reactive reaction based on the «keys» contained in the original statement;
exchanging the opinions regarding the information under discussion or finding optimal output for the problem situation discussed;
achieving the mutual understanding through the implementing the question-answer units, limiting the multiple choice of optimal language means required for expressing an opinion and minimizing possible errors.
In the process of working out the above-mentioned educational dialogue parameters, the teacher is called to position himself / herself as an alternative source of information and language support, an intermediary between students entering into a dialogue. At the same time, the teacher’s priority communicative strategies are generalizing the discussed information and, if necessary, articulating the synonymous linguistic means for personal opinion expressing.
The concessive rhetorical relations bring together the genres of the virtual communication and spontaneous dialogic communication. In this regard, it is promising to study, with the involvement of some factual material, the peculiarities of the implementation of concessive rhetorical relations in the spontaneous everyday dialogue. The blog text takes a strong position in the virtual communication, reflecting the current trends in fashion, cinema, sports, everyday life in general. Mutually involved into the jointly generated text, the interlocutors actually focus on the image of the contrasting reality. The orientation to this image to a certain extent predetermines the frequency of concessive rhetorical relations in the blog text. In the casual everyday communication, there are no such restrictions, the sphere of interests of the interlocutors is the illocutive competition, the desire to solve their own non-speech problems. Perhaps this pragmatic factor predetermines the different specifics of labeling the concessive rhetorical relations, other models of their realization. In addition, the comparative aspect of the manifestation of concessive semantics in different language cultures appears relevant.
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23 January 2020
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Teacher, teacher training, teaching skills, teaching techniques
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Kovtunenko*, I. V. (2020). Blog Texts As A Source Of Russian Dialogic Communication Skills. In & R. Valeeva (Ed.), Teacher Education- IFTE 2019, vol 78. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 19-27). European Publisher. https://doi.org/10.15405/epsbs.2020.01.3