Article published in:Participation in Public and Social Media Interactions
Edited by Marta Dynel and Jan Chovanec
[Pragmatics & Beyond New Series 256] 2015
► pp. 183–207
“That’s none of your business, Sy”
The pragmatics of vocatives in film dialogue
The present paper attempts to throw light on the utility of vocatives within the twofold participation framework of film dialogue. This is done through a case study investigating the pragmatic functions and positions of vocatives in the famous films “Erin Brockovich”, “One Hour Photo”, and “Sliding Doors”. The paper identifies various types of vocatives at the inter-character level, namely summonses, relational vocatives, adversarial vocatives, emphatic vocatives, turn management vocatives, mitigators, insults, badinage vocatives and vocatives validating the addressee’s identity. It will be underlined that, at the inter-character level, vocatives typically act as illocutionary force enhancing devices, and that, in this respect, film dialogue makes the most of a tendency attested in naturallyoccurring language, i.e. the preponderant use of vocatives to perform functions which go far beyond the mere identification of the addressee. The functions and positions of vocatives will be discussed in their implications for the recipient design. In particular, it will be argued that vocatives facilitate viewers’ suspension of disbelief, contribute to viewers’ involvement, foster the comprehensibility of the plot, and signal crucial scenes.
Published online: 12 February 2015
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