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A discourse analysis of presuppositions in the declaration of independence made by president ho chi minh = phân tích diễn ngôn các tiền giả định trong tuyên ngôn độc lập của chủ tịch hồ chí minh

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  • A discourse analysis of presuppositions in the declaration of independence made by president ho chi minh = phân tích diễn ngôn các tiền giả định trong tuyên ngôn độc lập của chủ tịch hồ chí minh

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Acknowledgements For the completion of this work, I have been fortunate to receive invaluable contributions from many people. First of all, I would like to express my deepest gratitude to my supervisor – M.A. Phan Van Huong for her useful advice in choosing the topic, necessary assistance in reference materials and detailed feedback she gave on each of the pages of this thesis. Without her enthusiastic help, I would not have completed my thesis. I would like to express my thanks to dear teachers in Foreign Languages Department-Vinh University for giving the opportunity and creating favorable conditions for us to do graduation thesis. I would also like to extend my sincere thanks to my teachers at Foreign Languages Department for their undeniably useful lectures during the course, whereby I have accumulate basic and necessary knowledge for doing a research. Finally, my warmest thanks are due to my family and my friends for their indispensable support and encouragement. Vinh, May 2009 Le Thi Thao 1 Table of Contents Page Acknowledgements i Table of contents ii Part I: Introduction 1 1.Justification of the Study 1 2.Aims of the Study 2 3.Scope of the Study 2 4.Methods of the Study 3 5.Design of the Study 3 Part II: Development Chapter 1: Theoretical Background 4 1.1.Discourse Analysis 4 1.1.1.Discourse and Text 4 1.1.2.Discourse Analysis 5 1.1.3.Spoken Discourse versus Written Discourse 5 1.1.4.Discourse Context 6 1.2. Presupposition: the Discursive Strategy 8 1.2.1.What is Presupposition? 8 1.2.2.Presupposition Triggers 10 Chapter 2: Ideological Discourse Analysis 13 2.1.Ideologies 13 2.2.Ideological Discourse Analysis 13 2.3.Structures of Ideologies 14 2 2.4.Ideology and Presupposition 15 Chapter 3: A discourse analysis of presuppositions in the declaration of independence made by president ho chi minh 17 3.1.Background of the Speech 17 3.2.Data Analysis 18 3.2.1.In the Perspective of Semantics 18 3.2.1.1.Expressions of Temporal Relations 19 3.2.1.2.Change of State Verbs and Adverbs 21 3.2.1.3.Expressions indicating repetition 22 3.2.1.4.Complex Adjectives of Time 23 3.2.1.5.Comparatives 23 3.2.1.6.Quantifiers 24 3.2.1.7.Definite Descriptions 26 3.2.2.In the Perspective of Pragmatics 28 3.2.3.Ho Chi Minh’s Ideology in the Speech 33 Part III: conclusion 35 1.Findings of the Study 35 2.Applications of the Study 37 3.Suggestions for Further Studies 37 References 38 Appendix 3 Part I: introduction 1. Justification of the Study People may study language by examining the way that words relate to each other or investigating what words mean by themselves. These are the things syntax and semantics do. However, these do not take into account the outside world or context in which an utterance is made. They do not show us who said it to whom, where, when, or why. Studying language in the perspective of discourse analysis can help the researchers understand more about language use. Discourse analysis considers how humans use language to communicate, how they construct linguistic messages for others and how others work on the linguistic messages in order to interpret them. It is closely attached to the purposes and intentions of the speaker. Thus, this field opens up many interesting issues. Political discourse is one kind of discourse which promises a lot of appealing research. Politics is particularly important to a nation and when a person conducts a political speech, he really has to take linguistic means into careful consideration so that his political intentions can be revealed. President Ho Chi Minh is not only a famous leader but also a talented person in using language to gain the political purposes. Many of his speeches have been translated into English as well as many other languages. Among them, the Independence Declaration of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam on September 2, 1945 catches the author’s attention. The author’s choice, firstly, originates from her feelings of honor and gratitude toward a preeminent leader of the nation. Moreover, the independence declaration not only contains nationally and internationally historic values but also makes a great contribution to the world on the new concept of human rights. During the course of her study, the author found interest in pragmatics and discourse analysis, of which presupposition is an interesting issue. This is the reason for the author’s choice to study presupposition. This study will analyze the 4 presuppositions embedded in the discourse. Presupposition appears to be a more related concept to pragmatics and has not been mentioned a lot in the study of discourse. This paper will show why the discourse was made in that moment and how intended meaning is communicated. For these reasons, the author decides to conduct a discourse analysis of presuppositions in president Ho Chi Minh’s Independence Declaration. The data was retrieved from the homepage of the Vietnamese Embassy in the United States of America. The original record is published in HoChiMinh, Selected Works (Hanoi, 1960 - 1962) (vol.3, pp.17-20). 2. Aims of the Study The study is aimed to: - Study presupposition in a greater depth and how it conveys implicit meanings to the audience - Probe into the relationship between language and ideology in president Ho Chi Minh’s declaration of independence - Suggest some practical applications in learning and teaching 3. Scope of the Study Types of discourse are various. Within the scope of this thesis, political discourse is chosen to be analyzed in order to explore how linguistic means are utilized to achieve communicative purposes. The data is an English version of president HoChiMinh’s declaration of independence. Thus, the study will entirely focus on dealing with the English record, ignoring any linguistic features related to Vietnamese and proposing no comparisons between the two languages. Since doing discourse analysis is involved in many domains, we necessarily have to impose constraints on our subject-matter. We only deal with presuppositions expressed in discourse and skip other tempting areas such as 5 lexicalization, referent, modality. Some of the related issues may be briefly presented here but they are out of the study’s focus. Even within the types of presupposition, only a few ones are discussed. 4. Methods of the Study - Collecting the data and materials - Reviewing related theories -Analyzing the data - Synthesizing 5. Design of the Study Except for acknowledgements, table of contents, references and appendix, this paper consists of three main parts: The first part is Introduction. This part presents briefly the justification, aims, scope, methods and design of the Study. The second part is Development of the study. There are three chapters covered in this part. Chapter one introduces the theoretical background, in which we will have a look at the theories related to discourse analysis and the theory of presupposition. Chapter two provides an overview of ideological discourse analysis. Chapter three deals with an analysis of president Ho Chi Minh’s declaration of independence by considering the data in the perspective of semantics as well as pragmatics; after that it gives a comment on the ideology conveyed in the text. The third and also the last part is Conclusion which summarizes the major findings, applications of the study and suggestions for further studies. 6 Part II: development Chapter 1: Theoretical Background 1.1. Discourse Analysis 1.1.1. Discourse and Text There has been some confusion in using the two terms “discourse” and “text”. Some researchers label their analysis “Discourse Analysis” while others claim they are doing “Text Analysis”. The following are some of common definitions: According to Crystal (1992: 25), discourse is “a continuous stretch of (especially spoken) language larger than a sentence, often constituting a coherent unit, such as a sermon, argument, joke or narrative”. Cook (1989: 156) views discourse as “stretches of language perceived to be meaningful, unified and purposive”. Crystal (1992: 72) also gives his opinion about text, saying “text is a piece of natural occurring spoken, written, or signed discourse identified for purposes of analysis. It is often a language unit with a definable communicative function, such as a conversation, a poster”. While Cook (1989: 158) states that text is a stretch of language interpreted formally, without context. From the points above, it can be asserted that the meaning of a text does not establish until it is actively employed in a context of use. This process of activation of a text by relating it to a context of use is what we call discourse. In these terms, text is treated as the observable product of the whole communicative process or it is simply a representation or a verbal record of discourse. In turn, discourse must be seen as the process that has created text. In brief, although discourse and text are different, they are related to each other. The difference and interrelationship between discourse and text is best 7 captured by Widdowson’s claim: “Discourse is a communicative process by means of interaction. Its situational outcome is a change in a state of affairs: information is conveyed, intentions made clear. Its linguistic product is Text” (quoted in Aston, 1988). 1.1.2. Discourse Analysis Paltridge(2007) posits that discourse analysis focuses on knowledge about language beyond the word, phrase, clause and sentence that is needed for successful communication. It looks at patterns of language across texts and considers the relationship between language and the social and cultural contexts in which it is used. Discourse analysis considers the ways that the use of language presents different views of the world and different understandings. It examines how the use of language is influenced by relationships between participants as well as its effects on social relations. To sum up, discourse analysis involves the study of language in use. A wide range of linguistic texts are explored in the study of discourse. These might be in either spoken or written form, including a conversation or a letter, a speech or a report, a broadcast or an interview, a lesson, an advertisement or even a piece of gossip. 1.1.3. Spoken Discourse versus Written Discourse Spoken discourse and written discourse can be understood as speech and writing. In general, they share much in common, that is, both spoken and written discourses perform a similar range of broad functions. They are used to get things done, to provide information and to entertain. In spite of such similarities, they are distinguished from each other in some characteristics. Firstly, in terms of context, written language is used for communication among people who are removed in time and space or for occasions requiring a permanent or semi-permanent record. Meanwhile, most people in 8 different cities and countries can communicate directly by means of speech. They are also different in the way discourse is produced. While speaking, the speaker has to control what he says so that it fits his intentions, and prepare for what to say next. Every word uttered will be heard by the interlocutor, so the speaker might be under pressure. However, there are some advantages for the speaker, i.e., he can observe the listener’s reactions and can immediately modify what he is saying to make it clearer and more acceptable to the listener. The speaker may use facial expressions, postures, or gestures to increase the effect of what he speaks. On the contrary, the writer has the advantage of taking more time in choosing lexis and organizing ideas. He can rearrange what has been written and make changes if he wants. There is no fear of interruption by the interlocutor. But because of this, the reader has to imagine the reader’s reactions. [Besides, the linguists propose a distinction of written and spoken discourse in terms of their form. It is not our intention to discuss this here.] According to Brown and Yule (1983), the major differences between speech and writing derive from the fact that one is essentially transitory and the other is designed to be permanent. These differences, anyway, are not absolute and the characteristics that we tend to associate with written language can sometimes occur in spoken language and vice versa. This means that some spoken texts will be more like written texts than others, while some written texts will be more like spoken texts than others. 1.1.4. Discourse Context Discourse Analysis involves many aspects such as cohesion, coherence, text type and so on. Among them, context plays a key role in the analysis. Thus, Cook (1989) asserts: “there are arguments for limiting the field of study to make it manageable, but it is also true to say that the answer to the question of what gives discourse its unity may be impossible to give without considering the world at large: the context”. 9 What is context? Is it really as important in discourse analysis as Cook says? A brief definition of context given by David Nunan (1995: 7) is: “Context refers to the situation giving rise to the discourse, and within which the discourse is embedded”. The meaning of context is understood at two levels, namely, the linguistic level and the non-linguistic level. At the linguistic level, context refers to any linguistic items that occur before and after a word, a phrase, or even an utterance or text. At the non-linguistic level, context refers to the surrounding situation in which an utterance or a discourse occurs. It is the broader social situation in which a linguistic item is used. Linguistic context is what Joan Cutting (2002) calls co-textual context or co- text, which is concerned with such concepts as reference, substitution, ellipsis, repetition, .e.t.c. Cutting also mentions about the situational context. It is the immediate physical co-presence, the situation where the interaction is taking place at the moment of speaking. Simply speaking, it is what the speaker and hearer can see around them. However, within the scope of this study, these types will be not elaborated here. What we concern and serves the purpose of analysis is another sort of context: background knowledge context. This can be either cultural general knowledge that most people carry with them in their minds, about areas of life; or interpersonal knowledge, specific and possibly private knowledge about the history of the speakers themselves. To make it clear, let us study an example. The following is a conversation between a husband and his wife: Husband: I’m flying to Moscow with David tomorrow. At home, take care of yourself! Wife: Don’t worry! Everything will be okay,…except that I will miss you a lot Husband: Uhm, I’ll phone you regularly 10
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