On Socio-Cultural Situatedness in Style Attribution: A Study of Style in Hungarian

Szilárd Tátrai, Júlia Ballagó


Building upon the theoretical foundations of social cognitive linguistics, this paper makes the case for considering the speaker’s socio-cultural situatedness in the intersubjective context of joint attention as a key factor in the process of style attribution. Specifically, socio-cultural situatedness is regarded as a crucial component of the speaker’s perspective, playing a decisive role in the construal of style. In order to support this central assumption, the paper presents a two-phase empirical study of style in Hungarian. In the first phase, the authors conducted a questionnaire study to find out which everyday, intuitive labels of style give evidence of the speaker’s socio-cultural situatedness. The questionnaire made use of 12 excerpts of Hungarian university seminars to elicit reflections on style attributions. In the second phase, relying on the results of the first survey, a subsequent questionnaire was conducted. The aim of the second questionnaire was to operationalize folk categories of style attested in the first phase to describe style and measure stylistic markedness. Reconsidering earlier descriptive models, we found that the folk categories of style foreground different aspects of the speaker’s socio-cultural situatedness which – on a more abstract level – can be successfully described by the heuristic scientific categories of socio-cultural factors, which imply the speaker’s socio-cultural attitude to different aspects of style in the recipient’s interpretation. The speaker’s socio-cultural attitude comprises her attitude to the formation of discourse, to the discourse partner, to the value of the topic, to the temporality of constructions and to the norms of the register of the discourse.


joint attention, metapragmatic awareness, social salience, socio-cultural factors, socio-cultural situatedness, style attribution, stylistic markedness

Full Text:



Barlow, Michael, and Suzanne Kemmer ed. 2000. Usage based models of language. Stanford, California: CSLI Publications.

Bednarek, Monika. 2011. “Approaching the Data of Pragmatics.” In Foundations of Pragmatics, ed. Wolfram Bublitz, Andreas H. Jucker, and Klaus P. Schneider, 537–560. Berlin, Boston: Walter de Gruyter.

Croft, William. 2009. “Towards a Social Cognitive Linguistics.” In New Directions in Cognitive Linguistics, ed. Vyvyan Evans, and Stephanie Poursel, 395–420. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

Frank, Roslyn M. 2008. “Introduction: Sociocultural situatedness.” In Body, Language, and Mind. Volume 2: Sociocultural Situatedness, ed. Roslyn M. Frank, René Dirven, Tom Ziemke, and Enrique Bernández, 1–18. Berlin, New York: Mouton de Gruyter.

Langacker, Ronald W. 1987. Foundations of Cognitive Grammar. Theoretical Prerequisites, Volume 1. Stanford: Stanford University Press.

Langacker, Ronald W. 2008. Cognitive Grammar. A Basic Introduction. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Sanders, José, and Wilbert Spooren. 1997. “Perspective, Subjectivity, and Modality from a Cognitive Point of View.” In Discourse and Perspective in Cognitive Linguistics, ed. Wolf-Andreas Liebert, Gisela Redeker, and Linda Waugh, 85–112. Amsterdam, Philadelphia: John Benjamins.

Schmid, Hans-Jörg. 2007. CEntrenchment, Salience, and Basic Levels.” In The Oxford Handbook of Cognitive Linguistics, ed. Dirk Geeraerts, and Herbert Cuyckens, 117–138. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Schmid, Hans-Jörg, and Günther, Franziska 2016. “Towards a Unified Socio-Cognitive Framework for Salience in Language.” Frontiers in Psychology 7: 1110.

Sharifian, Farzad. 2008. “Distributed, Emergent Cultural Cognition, Conceptualisation and Language.” In Body, Language, and Mind. Volume 2: Sociocultural Situatedness, ed. Roslyn M. Frank, René Dirven, Tom Ziemke, and Enrique Bernández, 109–136. Berlin, New York: Mouton de Gruyter.

Sharifian, Farzad 2017. Cultural Linguistics. Amsterdam, Philadelphia: John Benjamins Publishing Company.

Sinha, Chris. 2014. “Niche Construction and Semiosis: Biocultural and Social Dynamics.” In The Social Origins of Language, ed. Daniel Dor, Chris Knight, and Jerome Lewis, 31–46. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Smith, Eliot R., and Diane M. Mackie. 2000. Social Psychology. Philadelphia: Psychology Press.

Tannen, Deborah. 2005. Conversational Style: Analyzing Talk among Friends. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Tátrai, Szilárd. 2013. “Attitude, Comparison, and Relation in Style. Remarks on the Socio-cultural Factors of Style.” Studia Linguistica Hungarica 28: 21–36.

Tolcsvai Nagy, Gábor. 2005. A Cognitive Theory of Style. Metalinguistica 17. Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang.

Tolcsvai Nagy, Gábor. 2013. “The Cognitive Linguistic Foundations of the Socio-cultural Factors of Style.” Studia Linguistica Hungarica 28: 7–20.

Tomasello, Michael. 1999. The Cultural Origins of Human Cognition. Cambridge MA: Harvard University Press.

Verhagen, Arie. 2007. “Construal and Perspectivization.” In The Oxford Handbook of Cognitive Linguistics, ed. Dirk Geeraerts, and Hubert Cuyckens, 48–81. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Verschueren, Jef. 1999. Understanding Pragmatics. London, New York, Sydney, Auckland: Edward Arnold.

Verschueren, Jef. 2000. “Notes on the Role of Metapragmatic Awareness.” Pragmatics 10: 439–456.

Verschueren, Jef, and Frank Brisard. 2009. “Adaptability.” In Key Notions for Pragmatics. Handbook of Pragmatics Highlights 1, ed. Jef Verschueren, and Jan-Ola Östman, 28–47. Amsterdam, Philadelphia: John Benjamins.

Zlatev, Jordan 1997. Situated Embodiment: Studies in Spatial Semantics. Stockholm: Gotab.

Zlatev, Jordan 2014. “The Co-evolution of Human Intersubjectivity, Morality, and Language.” In The Social Origins of Language. Studies in the Evolutions of Language. ed. Daniel Dor, Chris Knight, and Jerome Lewis, 249–266. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.17951/nh.2020.5.3-23
Data publikacji: 2020-09-04 12:41:26
Data złożenia artykułu: 2020-02-24 21:16:40


Total abstract view - 305
Downloads (from 2020-06-17) - PDF - 0



  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2020 Szilárd Tátrai, Júlia Ballagó

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.