The interest in the legacy of politicians of different epochs is largely determined by the importance to analyze deep text producing dominants and text constants, which highlight the specific features of the discourse inherent in certain political regimes, historical periods and a particular world order. Studying the past teaches the present not to repeat its mistakes in the future. The article gives an insight into the most frequent linguistic features and systematizes the dominants and specific characteristics of W. Churchill’s speeches within the axial model. The material of the study is two well-known speeches delivered by Winston Churchill in 1940 and 1949. The main research method is semantic, cognitive and rhetorical analysis of the text. The article explores the content of the “war” concept, which is considered on the basis of the “field model” and English-English dictionaries definitions, as well as describes its core and periphery. The detailed analysis shows that W. Churchill made an active use of rhetoric tropes and figures of speech, especially metaphors. W. Churchill clearly demonstrated the features of an elitist language personality as, along with being proficient in codified language, ethical, communicative-pragmatic and rhetorical norms of a standard language, he skillfully and creatively used the devices of functional styles, speech genres, and special techniques of oral and written forms of speech.
Much of the research of a contemporary national political discourse is dedicated to idiostyles and idiolects of prominent political leaders of the present and the past.
Russian and foreign linguists join their efforts in investigating the specific features of the discourse inherent in certain political regimes, historical periods and a particular world order. They distinguish propaganda, militarism, party, terrorist, as well as new multipolar world types of discourse. “Presidential rhetoric” and “presidential discourse” are two concepts that are also singled out in some research.
The Stylistic Encyclopedic Dictionary of the Russian language defines ‘idiostyle’ as a collection of all typical personal linguistic and stylistic devices of the text, while the term ‘idiolect’ is considered one of the possible synonyms of it. The concept of idiostyle is being developed by scholars in three main dimensions. The semantic and stylistic approach focuses on idiostyle as a system of individual choice and use of expressive language tools, typical of a specific period of development of fine literature. The advocates of linguistic and poetic approach explore the forms of text organization, mostly lexical ones, and find out common universal patterns of the author’s words usage. The communicative approach studies how a specific language personality, the author, interacts with the reader, directs him to a certain objective featured in a communicative strategy of the text, its communicative genres and its author’s intention.
Our research analysis is based on the idiostyle concept developed by Chernysheva (2010) who believes that idiostyle has a special hierarchy structure, which can be defined as a certain “chain of dependencies” reflecting idiolect characteristic features. Chernysheva (2010) highlights the following basic idiostyle characteristics: 1. the selection of linguistic devices by an individual and the frequency of their use; 2. speech-style characteristics of the individual language personality, which are influenced by extralinguistic factors, such as functional-stylistic, genre-stylistic and individual-stylistic ones; 3. relationship between mental phenomena and the ways of their verbalization; 4) observing and describing specific features of an individual style inherent in a particular discourse; 5) chronological sequence of texts; 6) a natural trend when several styles exist in the same text is a specific reflection of different styles in the same text, often associated with discourses that overlap within the text.
Chernysheva (2010) also suggests describing the idiostyle phenomenon by means of the axial model, where the X-axis is the selection and frequency of use of the language devices; the Y-axis is the dominant functional structure of the idiostyle, the motivation for the language devices usage based on the systematization of dominants and their functional fields, an attempt to search for the deep connections that determine idiostyle formation; the Z- axis is the specific features of the idiostyle which corresponds to the discourse concept; it is here that “deviation” from the most common norms of the first two axes occurs.
In recent years the study of the national world image has been given special importance because of the ongoing geopolitical processes. The process of globalization has stimulated interest in national cultures, the features that collectively form the world view that unites the members of a linguistic community and distinguishes it among others (Shurygina, 2014). The national world image (NWI) is, on the one hand, some abstraction, and, on the other hand, a cognitive and psychological reality found in mental, cognitive, physical and verbal activities of the people. The NWI reflects a historical experience of a specific nation, which manifests itself in the national and cultural identity of the people. As a result, the NWI is defined as a part of the national world view, representing a holistic, systematic view of the world by representatives of a certain national community in diachrony. According to the definition, the NWI is reflected in the language world view (LWV), as a set of people’s perceptions of reality at a certain stage of the nation development, formalized in the units of the language (Popova & Sternin, 2002).
As Boldyrev (2015) rightly points out, the implementation of the anthropocentric nature of the language in its interpretive function is fully represented in the LWV, in its structure and the particular character of linguistic experience of a person when he/she interacts with the surrounding world and learns about it in the process of a cognitive activity. However, Popova and Sternin (2007) remind us that the LWV is limited and, apart from that, represents a «naive» picture of the world; it does not fully convey the picture of the world that is present in national consciousness, because the language names and categorizes far from everything that is in the consciousness of the people who speak the language. Moreover, they emphasize that the LWV is not equal to a cognitive one, the latter is immeasurably wider, since not all the content of the concept sphere is named, far from all concepts have linguistic expression and become a subject of communication. It is therefore possible to study the cognitive world view on the basis of the language world view only on a limited scale, always bearing in mind that the language names only what has or used to have a communicative significance – people speak about it now or used to (Popova & Sternin, 2007). At the same time, the connection between consciousness, the surrounding world and the concepts that characterize that consciousness can be established only through the processes of conceptualization, categorization and representation, and the language here is assigned a significant role (Boldyrev, 2019). The LWV only partially reflects the concept sphere and gives only a fragmented analysis of it, although there is probably no easier access to the concept sphere than through the language (Popova & Sternin, 2007). It should be noted that language expressions acquire a specific meaning only within a certain conceptual framework, i.e. are the result of interpretive human activities (Boldyrev, 2019). Thus, by the concept we mean a “unit of conscious knowledge about objects or events, their individual properties, characteristics, relationships with other objects and events which a person operates in the process of verbal and cogitative activity” (Boldyrev, 2019, p. 48). The world cognition always implies the world division into specific objects, events, segmentation and recognition of different characteristics, properties, and patterns. Concepts are those units of knowledge in which the product of cognition is realized and represented “with the aim of their subsequent transmission in the language form or further accumulation” (Boldyrev, 2019, p. 62).
Purpose of the Study
We are going to systemize and study the most frequent language devices, dominants and specific characteristics of W. Churchill’s idiostyle using the material of his selected speeches from 1940 and 1949 with the help of the axial model by T.A. Chernysheva. Moreover, relying of the “field model” we will try to analyze the “war” concept realization.
To represent the content of the “war” concept, we need to analyze the definitions fixed in dictionaries. In English-English dictionaries, the basic name of the concept “war” is explained as follows: 1. an armed conflict among states or nations; 2. a situation in which there is aggressive competition between groups, companies, countries, etc.; 3. a fight or an effort over a long period of time to get rid of or stop something unpleasant or illegal. 4. a state of discord. The idea of armed struggle is present as a generic feature, the conceptual component can be presented as the following set of attributes: 1. an armed confrontation between warring parties within a country; 2. a competition; 3. a fighting against something; 4. a serious conflict; 5. dislike.
In our analysis we will rely on the “field model” concept, taking into account that the
Now we are going to consider
This analysis illustrates that a concept is a mental reflection of a changing reality, its content may change in the course of its operation: on the one hand, individual features change over time; on the other hand, new features may be introduced into the structure of the concept. By comparing different features of Churchill speeches it becomes obvious how much the content of the “war” concept transformed under the influence of different historical events: in the core, certain components (enemy and opposition) changed, which in turn led to substantial transformations in the near and far peripheries.
The core of the “war” concept of the British national world image (NWI) finds its reflection in the language world image of Churchill (LWI). In this regard, we can note that the LWI primarily conveys not so much the world itself, but the way the individual sees and understands objects and phenomena, the structure of the world itself, distinguishing specific aspects and characteristics, i.e. how he builds the world in his mind (Boldyrev, 2015).
A collection of different concepts creates an individual-author concept, as V.V. Abramenko notes. In turn, it creates an individual-author picture of the world which, according to various researchers, is a reflection (yet an incomplete one) of the real world in the language. Thus, the individual-author concept sphere represents the idiostyle of the author (Abramenko, 2017).
Let us focus on the analysis of the characteristics of the most frequent linguistic means encountered in
The infinitive of purpose and the infinitive as an attribute:to declare; to record; to form; to be considered; to act; to offer; to wage; to claim. Communicative modality of sentences: 1) narrative (affirmative): I may be pardoned; I can answer; I hope; I feel sure; I would say; I can say; I take up my task; 2) interrogative(question-and-answer constructions): You ask, what is our aim? … I can answer…; You ask, what is our policy? … That is our policy… 3) imperative: Come then, let us... ; let that be realized; Lexically expressed modality (modal verbs): should include; should be conceived; should be summoned; should be done; it must be remembered.
Repetitions We have before usan ordeal … ; we have before usmany, many; It is to wage war … with allour might and with allthe strength …; to wage waragainst …; It is victory, victoryat all costs, victoryin spite of all terror… , victory, however long and hard the road may be…; there is no survival; no survival for…; I feel sure, I feelentitled… . Metaphors
Taking X-axis as the basis for our analysis we will try to single out the most frequent linguistic means which are specific to the
Infinitives: to be guided; to enforce; to succeed; to overcome; to translate; to be industrialized; to avert; to blame; to sink; to share; to travel; to think; to prevent; ever be so wicked as to use… to adjust. Communicative modality of sentences narrative (affirmative): I wasso glad; It is certain;there might besome … disagreements …; the problems of victory may be…; we maywell…; (negative):I do not thinkmyself; I must notconceal; it may not beour nerve…; 2) interrogative(question-and-answer constructions): And the question is asked: "Are we winning the cold war?" " How coulda submarine it was asked… ?"… 3) imperative: Let usthen move forward Let usmake sure … Do not underrate… Do not suppose… . Lexically expressed modality (modal verbs) : canbe answered; cannotbe achieved…; cannotafford…; shouldtake part… ; should notshape; shouldbe achieved; … shouldbe taken now; … mustmake sure action; mustalso look …; must notconceal…; mustpersevere ; must notdespair; hope tosolve…; couldfeel…; neednot abandon …
3. Subjunctive mood: it is certain that Europe would have been communized; … .it is certain that mankind would not agree …, and there might be some very sharp disagreements … .
4. Conditionals: if … we find ourselves unable to avert world famine …; if we are to bring the broad masses of the people ;if we persevere steadfastly together…
Repetitions Wehave no hostilityto the Russian people and no desireto deny… Metaphors
Now we are going to analyze
In the earlier speech,
In both speeches modality, as different kinds of subjective attitude to an event, in particular «confidence/ uncertainty», «opportunity», «reality/unreality of the event», «desirability», «necessity» etc., is clearly expressed, that is, the position of Churchill is unambiguous, as evidenced in such constructions and modal verbs as:
The absolute majority of modal verbs in the first speech (
The choice of the
In both speeches Churchill uses narrative (affirmative) sentences, but also interrogative and imperative ones, depending on the purpose and the intention of the message. The question-and-answer constructions that are typical of interrogative sentences facilitate Churchill’s communication with the audience. Imperative sentences are certainly justified in that they call for action – resistance to the enemy.
Churchill’s stylistic techniques are also of great interest, for instance they can be viewed as vivid examples of an influential speech. Through repetitions Churchill focuses on the essential aspects of the strategy, while metaphors are an important means of influencing the mind, feelings and will of the audience.
W. Churchill makes an abundant use of metaphors. It is well known that, in addition to naming the objects, humans use other mechanisms to represent the meaning and reflect in the language their experience in conceiving the world. These mechanisms are conceptual and linguistic metaphors. The latter ones are more commonly used for secondary conceptualization and representation of the world knowledge. The metaphor is not limited to the sphere of the language; human
Grammatical, lexical and stylistic techniques used by W. Churchill indicate that he belongs to the category of an elitist linguistic personality (ELP). An ELP is fluent in codified linguistic, ethical, communicative-pragmatic and rhetorical norms of the standard language, and makes skilful and creative use of the possibilities of functional styles and speech genres, along with specific devices of oral and written speech. The main component of the psychological profile of an ELP is the absolute degree of freedom intrinsic to this type of a person and exercised by him/her in intellectual and spiritual development.
In his speeches, W. Churchill uses cognitive units of a different degree of complexity: along with the “war” concept he refers to such key concepts as “man”, “government”, “friendship”, “freedom” and many others, which represent his unique concept sphere and form his idiostyle.
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08 December 2020
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Linguistics, modern linguistics, translation studies, communication, foreign language teaching, modern teaching methods
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Znak, Y. E. (2020). Idiostyle & Realization Of “War” Concept In W. Churchill’S Selected Speeches. In V. I. Karasik (Ed.), Topical Issues of Linguistics and Teaching Methods in Business and Professional Communication, vol 97. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 516-524). European Publisher. https://doi.org/10.15405/epsbs.2020.12.02.69