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Polyphonie argumentative: Étude de la négation dans des éditoriaux du Figaro, de Libération et du Monde
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of French, Italian and Classical Languages.
2006 (French)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This thesis deals with the polyphonic and argumentative functions of the French negation marker, ne, in editorial texts from the daily press. The concept ‘polyphony’ relates to the presence of multiple voices within one and the same utterance. According to this view, negation triggers a subdivision of an utterance in two points of view. Thus the sentence Sweden will not be a part of the monetary union can be divided in two points of view, the underlying ‘Sweden will be a part of the monetary union’, and the explicit ‘Sweden will not be a part of the monetary union’.

First, I study the polyphonic structure of negative utterances, notably their division in two points of view, by taking into account their specific linguistic features. This is done so as to identify the relevant linguistic criteria that determine the polyphonic interpretation of the negation. The study demonstrates that contextual elements, including pragmatic connectors, presuppositions contrastive elements, and several other devices constitute the primary source of polyphonic markers.

Negation is furthermore approached from a textual perspective. I explore how the two opposite points of view that are associated with negation form polyphonic sequences with other points of view carrying the same semantic content, and how these dynamic points of view are associated to the different discourse beings that are found in the newspaper article. I found that these sequences often embrace the central polemic theme of the article and, also, that the polyphonic function is not restricted to the negative utterance but constitutes an element that ensures textual and argumentative coherence. These two analyses are carried out within Jean-Claude Anscombre’s and Oswald Ducrot’s Theory of Structural Argumentation, which has recently been formalised by Kjersti Fløttum, Coco Norén and Henning Nølke.

Finally in this thesis, I analyse the relation between the discourse beings associated with the negative utterance and real beings that exist outside the text, and then consider what rhetorical implications that correspondence or no correspondence has on the polyphonic interpretation of the negation. I also examine whether polyphonic negation can be considered to be a feature of newspaper editorials that identifies these texts as a genre. This study shows that the locuteur, the discourse being responsible for the enunciation of the negative utterance on a textual level, links to the real being, the editorial writer, who then refutes points of view associated to other discourse beings, often by use of nominalizations that refer to community voices. The locuteur also intrudes into an argument or claim, and refutes it in the name of a community or an authority.

By defining genre, as does the media researcher Patrick Charaudeau, as a correspondence between the constraints imposed by the discursive situation and the constraints imposed by the discursive features, and by considering that one of the editorial’s constraints is to persuade its readers, this study shows that the phrasal negation ne in its polyphonic function, constitutes a distinguishing feature in the genre of editorials. The refutations that are made by an editor constitute a distinctive argumentative strategy since it permits the editorial writer to present external points of view in order to refute them and thereby impose his or her own, subjective point of view.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Institutionen för franska, italienska och klassiska språk , 2006. , 228 p.
Forskningsrapporter / Stockholms universitet, Institutionen för franska och italienska: cahiers de la recherche, ISSN 1654-1294 ; 31
Keyword [en]
polyphony, negation, enunciation, polyphonic markers, polyphonic structure, sequences, dynamic point of view, discourse beings, dialogism, argumentation, intrusion, ethos, subjectivity, reported speech, refutation, rhetoric, constructivism
National Category
Specific Languages
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-1053ISBN: 91-85059-20-XOAI: diva2:189318
Public defence
2006-06-09, hörsal 7, hus D, Universitetsvägen 10, Stockholm, 10:00
Available from: 2006-05-18 Created: 2006-05-18Bibliographically approved

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