||A Discourse Analysis of the Inclusive Pronoun ‘We/Lan2’ in Taiwan Southern Min: Its Pragmatic Functions in Radio Dietary Supplement Advertisements
||Department of Foreign Languages & Literature
Taiwan Southern Min
First Person Plural Inclusive Pronoun
Dietary Supplement Advertisements
This study examines the pragmatic functions of the Taiwan Southern Min first person plural inclusive pronoun‘lan2/we (including the addressee)’ used by three male radio program hosts in dietary supplement advertisements. By analyzing the semantic referent of lan2 in the hosts’ narrative world versus that in the real world and the thematic role lan2 plays in the discourse context it occurs, we observed the following patterns. The hosts’ use of lan2 which recruits himself as one of the audience member occurs in two typical contexts: ‘negative health situation’ (55%) and ‘action for preventive health measures’ (29%). Such usages portray the hosts as a partner who experiences the same health problem (i.e., the thematic role of ‘EXPERIENCER’ 74%) and takes therapeutic or preventative measurements for better health (i.e., the thematic role of ‘AGENT’ 64%). These two patterns lead to our first argument that lan2 in Taiwan Southern Min dietary supplement advertisements functions as ‘problem sharing’ since it designates the speaker as ‘a stakeholder in negative health situations’. The above findings demonstrate two pragmatic implications of lan2: ‘shortening the social distance with the audience’ and ‘reducing face-threatening effects on the audience’.
The hosts’ use of lan2 which recruits the audience as their team members occurs in two typical contexts: ‘product information’ (63%) and ‘positive description of products’ (30%). In the former context, the hosts portray the audience as a partner who possesses the product (‘POSSESSOR’, 70%) and a colleague who produces the product (‘AGENT’, 27%). While in the latter context, the hosts not only portray the audience as a partner who possesses the product (‘POSSESSOR’, 45%) but recruit the audience as the one who benefits from the product (‘PATIENT’, 37%). The patterns above lead to our second argument that lan2 functions as ‘credit sharing’ because it designates the audience as a solution provider who shares the achievements accomplished by the host and his team members. The above findings demonstrate two pragmatic implications of lan2: ‘showing modesty to the hosts’ self-claimed healing effects’ and ‘sharing the discourse responsibility with the audience’.
Although, seeking help for health problems via the dietary supplement advertisements in radio programs is not regarded as the mainstream approach and is even regarded as an inappropriate or harmful approach to users’ health, its popularity among the Southern Min elderly speakers in Southern Taiwan in some ways proves the hosts’ effective discourse strategy. Thus, it is possible to apply the above findings to the healthcare context involving Taiwan Southern Min elderly speakers in the following way. Appropriate use of lan2 may be helpful for health professionals to embody their role as a partner who shares the suffering of the patients (i.e., ‘empathy’) and the agent who help patients work out their health predicaments (i.e., the healer).
TABLE OF CONTENTS
ABSTRACT (CHINESE) i
ABSTRACT (ENGLISH) iii
TABLE OF CONTENTS vii
LIST OF TABLES ix
CHAPTER ONE INTRODUCTION 1
1.1 Background and Motivation 1
1.2 Purpose of the Present Study 5
1.3 Research Questions 8
1.4 Preview of the Following Chapters 9
CHAPTER TWO LITERATURE REVIEW 10
2.1 The Pragmatic Functions of FPPI Pronouns in Advertising Discourse 10
2.2 The Pragmatic Functions of FPPI Pronouns in Political Discourse 13
2.3 The Pragmatic Functions of FPPI Pronouns in Academic Discourse 16
2.4 The Pragmatic Functions of FPPI Pronouns in Other Discourse Genres 18
2.5 Summary 21
CHAPTER THREE METHODOLOGY 23
3.1 Data Collection 23
3.2 Data Analysis 26
3.2.1 Topic-Comment Construction 26
3.2.2 The Context and the Stage of Advertisement in Which lan2 Occurs 28
3.2.3 The Categories and Definitions of the Thematic Roles lan2 plays 38
3.2.4 The Semantic References of lan2 40
CHAPTER FOUR RESULTS 44
4.1 The Semantic References Designated by lan2 44
4.2 The Thematic Roles lan2 Plays 45
CHAPTER FIVE DISCUSSION 49
5.1 Problem Sharing 49
5.1.1 Shortening the Social Distance with the Audience 51
22.214.171.124 The Hosts Include Themselves in the Possible Roles to Achieve Cross-Role Alignment 52
126.96.36.199 The Hosts Include Themselves in the Impossible Roles to Achieve Cross-Gender Alignment 57
188.8.131.52 The Hosts’ Social Status Downgrading 62
5.1.2 Reducing Face-Threatening Effects on the Audience 66
184.108.40.206 The Choice and Switch of Personal Pronouns 67
220.127.116.11 The Use of Probability Words 74
18.104.22.168 Avoiding Accusing the Audience as the Agent of Poor Health Behavior 76
5.2 Credit Sharing 77
5.2.1 Showing Modesty to the Hosts’ Self-Claimed Healing Effects 79
5.2.2 Sharing the Discourse Responsibility with the Audience 81
CHAPTER SIX CONCLUSION AND IMPLICATIONS 84
6.1 Summary of the Main Findings 84
6.2 Implications of the Present Study 86
6.3 Limitation of the Present Study 90
6.4 Suggestions for Further Studies 90
6.5 Contributions 91
English References 95
Chinese References 103
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