The polyphonic pastor
Two levels of constructed dialogue in argumentation
The current study draws on insights from research on reported speech, or more accurately what Tannen (2007) calls “constructed dialogue” to elucidate its role as an argumentative device as observed in a journalistic interview with a prominent American minister. I explore diverse techniques the minister uses to marshal a multiplicity of respected voices – an impressive Bakhtinian polyphony – to defend faith. An important contribution of this study lies in its integration of what Gumperz (1977, 1982) calls “contextualization cues”, paralinguistic signaling mechanisms (stress, pitch, speech rate, etc.), and constructed dialogue as phenomena which function together. The study reveals how various contextualization cues embedded within constructed dialogue contribute to framing knowledge claims as reliable.
Keywords: constructed dialogue, contextualization cues, argumentative discourse
Published online: 29 October 2019
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