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Introduction to advice in discourse
Book Item (Buchkapitel, Lexikonartikel, jur. Kommentierung, Beiträge in Sammelbänden)
ID 1124315
Author(s) Locher, Miriam A.; Limberg, Holger
Author(s) at UniBasel Locher, Miriam
Year 2012
Title Introduction to advice in discourse
Editor(s) Limberg, Holger; Locher, Miriam A.
Book title Advice in discourse
Volume 221
Publisher John Benjamins
Place of publication Amsterdam
Pages 1-27
ISSN/ISBN 978-90-272-5626-3 (Hb ; alk. paper) ; 978-90-272-7393-2 (Eb)
Series title Pragmatics and beyond. New series
Keywords advice, discourse

This collection of original chapters is about advice-giving and advice-seeking in different practices. Advice-giving is a common activity that occurs not only between friends, family members or between professionals and lay people, in written or spoken form, in face-to-face situations or in mediated forms of communication (such as telephone conversations or computer-mediated environments). It is also subject of scientific investigation especially from a linguistic and sociological perspective. Advice exchanges constitute a communicative act that is subject to negotiation between the speaker (or writer) and the addressee (or reader). The pragmatic understanding of the speech act in the Searlean sense of an advice-giver “telling you what is best for you” (Searle 1969: 67) may easily veil the interactional achievement of an in situ advisory exchange and the relational implications that are potentially involved when advice is communicated. For Anglo-Western cultures, several researchers have pointed out that advice is a delicate and risky act for all involved, so that its realization requires appropriate consideration of a range of different factors (Hutchby 1995; Goldsmith and MacGeorge 2000; Locher 2006). These may be, for example, the social context (public or private), the participants’ knowledge (expert or novice) and power asymmetry, the severity and face-sensitivity of the issue to which advice is given and whether advice is elicited or not. Others have pointed out that giving-advice can also be used as a face-maintaining strategy in that it expresses solidarity with the advice seekers (Hinkel 1994, 1997). Cultural expectations are thus an important factor in the negotiation of advice, both in the sense of a broad, overarching construct consisting of shared beliefs, values, and attitudes, but also as it is manifested verbally and non-verbally in different, more local communities of practice. Crucially, it is not just the content of the advice that may influence people’s perceptions of its force and appropriateness, but also the manner in which it is communicated.

The topic of advice-giving is thus firmly embedded in the study of pragmatics, that is the study of language in use. Here we follow Verschueren (2009), who interprets pragmatics as "[A] general functional perspective on (any aspect of) language, i.e. as an approach to language which takes into account the full complexity of its cognitive, social, and cultural (i.e. meaningful) functioning in the lives of human beings" (Verschueren 2009: 19, italics removed).  Our understanding of this definition is broad in that we do not preclude a fixed choice of methodology nor a set of questions to investigate language use. Instead, this collection allows us to look at advice-giving practices from different perspectives (cf. Locher and Graham 2010; Taavitsainen and Jucker 2010 for a discussion of this understanding). In fact, the collection of papers in this volume brings together studies on different advice contexts and analyzes as well as discusses what constitutes advice, how it is communicated as well as received, and what effect different situational and institutional frameworks have on its implementation from a range of methodological perspectives. We believe that the strength of the volume consists in spotlighting one communicative act and investigating it in its different facets and fields of occurrence. The volume is unique in its combination of different methodologies and in bringing together scholars working in different, but related, areas of research. The contributors are working in the fields of (natural language) semantics, pragmatics, communication studies, discourse analysis, conversation analysis, and corpus linguists. Their studies reveal the scope, versatility, and importance that advice, this seemingly straightforward and everyday act, has in our life. The collection includes 14 original papers that are organized into four parts on the basis of the social and interactional context in which the advice practice is found.

Full Text on edoc Available
Digital Object Identifier DOI 10.1017/CBO9781139236805.002
ISI-number WOS:000386596200001

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