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

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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


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