Norm And Uzus In The Theory Of Media Discourse


The article is devoted to the revealing of norm correlation and literary uzus as a speech practice in the aspect of the modern theory of media discourse. Based on the small-format text and analytical interviews published in the authoritative German journal “Der Spiegel”, it is determined that the interaction of codified norms and real language reality inevitably gives rise to a whole range of problems. The study is essential for solving the issue of increasing the pragmatic effectiveness of communicative activity of members of society with regard to the category of politeness. The concept of norm is complicated by the transition of research to the level of text and discourse, within the framework of which communicative and pragmatic norms operate, that are both linguistic, socio-historical categories. It was established that politeness as a moral and behavioral category, which implies the presence of the ability to communicate respectfully and tactfully with people, as well as the willingness to compromise, inevitably leaves an imprint not only on the uzus, but also on the textual norm of the German print media interview. For example, since the cult of universal youth does not exist in the German linguistic and cultural tradition and in the pretext of the interview after the heading not only the topic of the upcoming conversation is presented, but also the information about the interviewee, including his age, regardless of gender. The communicative and pragmatic norm of interview texts allows interruption of the interlocutor, as well as the use of counter-questions.

Keywords: Media discoursenorminterviewpolitenessuzus


The scientific interest in the problems we are considering is due to the anthropocentric scientific paradigm, whose dominance is characteristic of modern linguistics with its close attention to the linguistic personality and its speech behavior in various types of discourse ( Tayupova, 2018). One of the most influential institutional discourses in modern society is media discourse. Since this type of discourse is associated with the social context of language use ( Kozhemyakin, 2016; Tayupova, 2017), media texts continue to strengthen their communicative-pragmatic status, realizing the potential for influencing the speech consciousness of the recipients. But when it comes to the functioning of linguistic and verbal means, including texts of various discursive affiliations, we inevitably come to the concept of a norm, without which the process of communication is practically impossible.

The existing general concept of a language norm splits into more particular norms, including the norms of types and subspecies of texts. Speaking about the norm of a certain type of text, it should be noted that it differs from other language norms, since it is a communicative-pragmatic phenomenon that is associated with the communicative activity of individuals and ensures the effectiveness of verbal communication in the framework of the corresponding discourses. Accumulating in itself the entire set of parameters inherent in the type of text as the highest communicative unit, the communicative-pragmatic norm exists in two forms - constructive and functional. And if in the first case an abstract invariant is presented, which reflects the most essential, dominant features of the type of text, then in the second it is a combination of some rules and recommendations for the motivated use of language tools and extralinguistic elements in the process of organizing a particular type or subspecies of a text. The selection of funds in the organization of texts of various types (subspecies) and genres is carried out in order to achieve maximum pragmatic impact on the recipient. Knowledge of communicative-pragmatic norms is an integral part of the communicative competence of a native speaker. However, this does not negate certain selection criteria aimed at preserving the norms of the literary language.

The language of texts of written high-quality media is perceived as a representation of the literary language, which determines the close attention to it from readers ( Rogova, 2018), and also increases the responsibility of addressees. Using media texts, a specific world is created that affects not only the rational, but also the emotional state of the recipients. German researchers are very active in analyzing not only types, but also subspecies of texts in the media sphere, for example, on the newspaper material ( Speck, 2016).

At the same time, both theoretical and practical terms do not sufficiently cover the issue of politeness / impoliteness on the basis of texts of various kinds and their communicative and pragmatic norms. The special interest of modern linguistics in the media discourse is also explained by the fact that the language of media texts affects the development of the literary language and the change in its norm. Karasik ( 2002) rightly emphasizes that communicative behavior, expressed with the help of texts, characterizes the participants in communication not only as belonging to a certain ethnocultural and sociocultural community, but also as individuals. The task of the researchers is seen not only in identifying negative phenomena in terms of reducing language media culture and negative phenomena of media discourse in general, but also in providing recommendations for their elimination.

Problem Statement

The objective of this work is to identify the specifics of the communicative-pragmatic norm in the framework of the media discourse presented in the article by the texts of two subspecies of interviews, in particular, analytical and small-format interviews published in the German weekly magazine “Der Spiegel”. The language parameters of the communicative-pragmatic norm of the discussed subspecies of the media interview are analyzed.

Any discourse, including a media discourse, is situationally determined by a combination of not only social and pragmatic, but also cultural factors, so the task of the article is to analyze the cultural component in terms of politeness theory ( Locher & Larina, 2019; Stepykin, 2014).

The solution of the above problems is essential for increasing the pragmatic effectiveness of the communicative activity of members of society.

Research Questions

The texts of interviews with famous personalities are one of the characteristic forms of both dialogical and polylogical interaction in the media, including magazines. Interviewing as a type of text is a very attractive way to obtain socially relevant information ( Deppermann, 2013; Maye, 2013). Given the important role of the interview and its influence on the recipients, we consider the correlation of the concepts of text, discourse, norm and uzus in relation to the media discourse; we clarify the essence of the communicative-pragmatic norm of analytical and small-format interviews published in a quality German press.

Among the questions of this study also include such as the ratio of communicative-pragmatic norm and literary uzus as a speech practice in the aspect of the modern theory of media discourse, the politeness category in refraction to the textual norms of various subspecies of the interview.

Purpose of the Study

The aim of the study is to identify the features of the communicative-pragmatic norm of German print interviews as a dialogical media text, taking into account the usual use of language in refraction to the politeness theory.

Research Methods

The leading research method in this article is the method of discursive analysis, which is characterized by interdisciplinarity, since the discourse analysis does not only take shape at the intersection of linguoculturology, pragma and sociolinguistics, but also absorbed the techniques and methods of various sciences of the humanitarian profile: rhetoric, linguistics, philosophy, psychology, political science, sociology ( Kozhemyakin, 2016). Only the use of a certain set of scientifically based approaches to the study of media discourse, which finds its embodiment in heterogeneous media texts, can contribute to the disclosure and description of its essence and basic characteristics. The study also used the method of linguo-pragmatic analysis, the cognitive analysis method and the continuous sampling method.


An analysis of empirical material showed that “Der Spiegel” magazine publishes both small-format blitz interviews of up to 1000 and very voluminous analytical interviews with an appropriate set of text attributes. Common to both subspecies of the interview is the presence of a pretext, which outlines not only the topic of the upcoming conversation, but also reports information about the interviewee, including age, regardless of gender, cf.:

1. FDP-Chef Christian Lindner, 40, sucht den Streit mit Klimabewegung, warnt vor einem Kulturkampf gegen das Auto und setzt auf enttäuschte SPD-Anhänger ( “Ich will nicht anmaßend sein“, 2019).

2. Ingrid Nestle, 41, Sprecherin für Energiewirtschaft der Grünen-Bundestagsfraktion, erklärt, wie Deutschland schneller zu neuen Bahnstrassen kommen könnte ( “Jeder kämpft für seine Umgehungsstraße“, 2019).

Cordula Löffler, 53, Sprachdidakterin an der Pädagogischen Schule Weingarten, erklärt, warum Dialektsprechende Kinder in der Grundschule keine Nachteile haben ( “Mucke statt Fliege”, 2019).

The second and third examples show the exact age of the ladies being interviewed.

At the same time, for example, in Russia, it is considered impolite and indecent to be interested in a woman’s age if you are not a personal doctor or a lawyer. In some cases, ladies, if necessary, can indicate the day and month of birth, but prefer to keep silent for several reasons. Since Germany does not have a cult of universal youth and age-related discrimination does not occur, Germans are not shy about age and this is not a taboo. We can conclude that this state of affairs has passed from normal communication, that which is accepted and understood in society from the point of view of the language use.

The difference in communicative-pragmatic norms of analytical and small-format interviews is manifested in the use of contact-setting statements, which contain an appeal to the interviewee. For example, a conversation between a journalist and Christian Lindner begins with an appeal from Herr Lindner, cf.:

SPIEGEL: Herr Lindner, Greta Thunberg ist vom Time-Magazin zur Person des Jahres gekürt worden. Zu Recht?

While the initial replica of the interview with Ingrid Nestle does not contain any appeal, cf.:

SPIEGEL: In der Union gibt es Pläne, zur Beschleunigung großer Infrastruktur das entscheiden zu lassen, ähnlich wie in Dänemark. Was sagen Sie dazu?

In addition, analytical interviews thank you for the conversation:

SPIEGEL: Herr Lindner, wir danken Ihnen für dieses Gespräch ( “Ich will nicht anmaßend sein“, 2019.).

The above phatic phrases are devoid of any special semantic load, but mark the beginning and end of the conversation. Adequate implementation of the phatic function of speech plays a large role in achieving the goals of interpersonal communication, contributing to the establishment and maintenance of contact ( Krysin, 2007). And it testifies other selectivity of the communicative and pragmatic norm of the text.

In the chosen aspect of the study, of an undoubted interest is the usage of the method of interrupting the interlocutor in the replicas of communicants. The ability to listen attentively and patiently to a person is a manifestation of politeness, and it is impolite to interrupt an interlocutor, this is a bad habit. But since the communicants want to share their thoughts or certain life experiences in the dialogue, the communicative and pragmatic norm of the interview allows the use of interruption. So, in the text of an interview with Christian Lindner, the interviewee, picking up a replica of a journalist, reports additional information, cf.:

SPIEGEL: Als Beleg zitieren Sie Magazin-Titelbilder mit Greta Thunberg und der Fluchtlingshelferin Carola Rackete…

Lindner: …Sie haben Juso-Chef Kevin Kühnert auf dem Cover des SPIEGELS vergessen ( “Ich will nicht anmaßend sein“, 2019).

In the following example, the replica of the interviewee contains a contrast, antithesis, cf.:

Nestle: Diese Bedarfe müssen dann mit dem Klimazielen in Einklang gebracht werden.

SPIEGEL: Schwer genug …

Nestle:… aber nötig ( “Jeder kämpft für seine Umgehungsstraße“, 2019).

In a stylistic sense, a replica can be either stylistically neutral or stylistically colored ( Arnold, 2016). Such discontinuity of speech testifies to its colloquial nature and, undoubtedly, has conventional sources. At the same time, journalists in the interviews, as a rule, have the ability to listen carefully and patiently to the interviewee.

Taking into account the peculiarities of speech in the media sphere and its focus on accessibility for the reader, it should be recognized that it is necessary to use the features of oral speech carefully, which can lead to a controversial understanding of the text as a whole ( Zasorina & Stroiteleva, 2016).

Another sign of the communicative-pragmatic norm of the texts of the interviews from the point of view of the theory of politeness are counter questions, for example:

SPIEGEL: Wie könnte es den zu so einem PR-Desaster kommen?

Lindner: Sagen Sie nie etwas, was missverstanden werden kann? Mir passiert das ( “Ich will nicht anmaßend sein“, 2019).

In the above example, the counter-question is a reaction of a journalist intervening to an asked question, which, according to Lindner, is not built correctly and requires some clarification. Braginа and Sharonov ( 2019) in the work, devoted to the dialogical speech, use the term pseudo-questions and include various rhetorical questions in this group, as well as questions that affect the initial assumptions of the addressee, and attribute them to manifestations of the so-called “pedagogical aggression”. Thus, the communicative-pragmatic norm of interview texts not only allows interruption of the interlocutor, but also the use of counter-questions.

At the same time, it is necessary to use the markers of oral speech in this type of text carefully, which can lead to a controversial understanding and interpretation of the interview as a whole or its individual fragments.


In modern linguistics, the study of media discourse and related issues is one of the most pressing problems, the study of which is carried out by scientists from different countries.

The media discourse is associated with the social context of using the language, while the interview, as a way of obtaining information, of course, allows us to judge the individual, personal, language features and the level of communicative competence of the interviewer and the interviewee. Mandatory and unchanged in any form of text is the accounting of the addressee.

At the same time, in the interview texts the boundaries between the traditional roles of the addressee and the addressee are erased. Due to the dialogue, communication appears as a mutually directed speech communication of subjects, as a special system of interpersonal interaction.

The similarities and differences that we identified between the communicative and pragmatic norm of two subspecies of journal interviews testify to its selective nature and significant influence on its formation of the uzus as a speech practice.

An appeal to an interlocutor by name at the beginning of a conversation is characteristic only for analytical interviews, but according to the norm of the text, it is not used in small-format or blitz interviews. In this subspecies of the interview, it is also not accepted to express gratitude to the interviewee for the conversation. The mentioned fatal means contribute to the establishment and maintenance of contact during the interview and the achievement of its communicative and pragmatic goal.

In terms of the theory of politeness, it should also be noted the tolerance of the communicative and pragmatic norm of small-format and analytical interviews, which manifests itself here when using counter-questions and interrupting the interlocutor. At the same time, interruption of the interlocutor indicates the inability to listen and conduct a conversation and is a manifestation of an impolite attitude to the communicative partner. Of course, the intermittent remarks and the usage of counter-questions testifies to the colloquial nature of the communicative and pragmatic norm of interview texts published in the magazine “Der Spiegel” and has a common source.


We would like to express our deep gratitude to the editor and to the anonymous reviewers. The reported study was funded by RFBR, project number 20-012-00160.


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03 August 2020

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

Cite this article as:

Stepykin, N., & Tayupova, O. (2020). Norm And Uzus In The Theory Of Media Discourse. In & N. L. Amiryanovna (Ed.), Word, Utterance, Text: Cognitive, Pragmatic and Cultural Aspects, vol 86. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 1360-1366). European Publisher.