Men's image projection through discourse analysis

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Author: Alada, Joanne A.

Accession Number: 1562T

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Copyright Year: 2012

Abstract:

This linguistic qualitative study attempted to investigate how language is used by the members of a fraternity to identify and assess men’s image and social status. Specifically, it attempted to answer the following questions: (1) What meanings do men project through the use of speech acts? (2) How is language used to create and shape image that men project in their social environment? Men’s conversations on three different contexts; meetings, bonding sessions, and social gatherings were audio-recorded. Taped conversations were transcribed according to Kiesling’s (2008) transcription conventions. Men’s speech acts were analyzed by speaker turn. There were 110 speaker’s turns coded on meetings, 166 speaker’s turns coded on bonding sessions and 76 speaker’s turns coded on social gatherings. A total of 352 speaker’s turns representing men’s speech acts in all were considered in this corpus. Men’s utterances were categorized using Searle’s (1979) five speech acts; assertives, directives, commissives, expressives, and declaratives. Speech acts were grouped according to speaker and context. Analysis of men’s speech acts was done to determine how men used language in creating and shaping images. The frequency level of men’s speech acts in relation to a specific context was also analyzed and used as supporting bases in realizing men’s image projection. In addition, salient language features found in the data were analyzed such as topic raising, topic initiation, interruptions and teasing. Men’s speech acts on meetings were mostly composed of assertive speech acts with illocutionary point of suggesting, explaining and asking of information. Speech acts on bonding sessions were composed mostly of assertive speech acts of asking, informing, stating, agreeing and explaining of information. In social gatherings, only the assertive speech acts with the illocutionary point of informing are used for the development and maintenance of topic discussion. The linguistic features analyzed such as topic raising were used by men to take control of the floor using the illocutionary acts of questions and statement. In topic initiation, the high status members commonly initiated the most numbered of topics. In association to topic initiation were the interruption tendencies of men who coded mostly on floor taking interruptions which were used to develop the current topic of the speaker by taking over the floor from the current speaker. It was purposely used by men to maintain the conversation and to display knowledge and status. Teasing on the other hand was used to enhance camaraderie among men and to display status and image. It was also used to indirectly reprimand fraternity brothers and to indirectly avoid arguments. All of these linguistic devices and speech acts analyzed were consolidated to help create and describe men’s images such as pragmatic dominator, adamant leader, candid thinker, responsive happy-go-lucky guy, naive member, nonchalant joker, the supporter and cautious conversant.


Keywords: Men's image projection, discourse analysis

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