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“That’s none of your business, Sy”

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Abstract

The present paper attempts to throw light on the utility of vocatives within thetwofold participation framework of film dialogue. This is done through a casestudy investigating the pragmatic functions and positions of vocatives in thefamous films “Erin Brockovich”, “One Hour Photo”, and “Sliding Doors”. Thepaper identifies various types of vocatives at the inter-character level, namelysummonses, relational vocatives, adversarial vocatives, emphatic vocatives, turnmanagement vocatives, mitigators, insults, badinage vocatives and vocatives validatingthe addressee’s identity. It will be underlined that, at the inter-characterlevel, vocatives typically act as illocutionary force enhancing devices, and that,in this respect, film dialogue makes the most of a tendency attested in naturallyoccurringlanguage, i.e. the preponderant use of vocatives to perform functionswhich go far beyond the mere identification of the addressee. The functions andpositions of vocatives will be discussed in their implications for the recipientdesign. In particular, it will be argued that vocatives facilitate viewers’ suspensionof disbelief, contribute to viewers’ involvement, foster the comprehensibilityof the plot, and signal crucial scenes.

References

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