Social Power and Textual Strategies

Manizheh Alami, Nayera Khosrofar, Maryam Sabbah


Language is a crystal being shaped by the society and the rules in a society are mostly under the control of power. Language is a complex system having lots of choices for negotiating meaning which are motivated by the social rules specifically by power. According to Hudson (1980) and Wardhaugh(1986) power can directly be embodied in the choice of pronouns (tu vs. vous) , address forms (name only, title and last name) and some other choices from lexicogrammar. The way power is reflected in everyday use of language is crucial and this study attempts to underscore some of the methods the speakers manipulate to express themselves hinting their degree of power to their addressee(s). In order to find the interrelationship between social power and textual strategies this study tries to examine a novelette entitles" The short happy life of Francis Macomber" written by Earnest Hemingway on the basis of Halliday's Systemic-Functional Grammar (1994) and observe the number and length of utterances and turns. In detail the novelette is analyzed according to the number of special process types, the preferred mode type and the length of turns each character with varying degree of power interacts in the story. The analysis shows that the dominant character manipulates more material process type and imperative mode types, makes utterances and takes longer turns than the dominated one.

Key Words: Power- Negotiation of meaning- Halliday's Systemic_ Functional Grammar- Ideational function- Interpersonal function – Material process- Imperative mode


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