International journal

Speech Genres

ISSN 2311-0759 (Online)
ISSN 2311-0740 (Print)

For citation:

Dementyev V. V. Heart-moving stories about kitties in Runet in the paradigm of the genres of volunteer discourse. Speech Genres, 2021, no. 4(32), pp. 305-326. DOI: 10.18500/2311-0740-2021-4-32-305-326

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Heart-moving stories about kitties in Runet in the paradigm of the genres of volunteer discourse

Dementyev Vadim Viktorovich, Saratov State University

The article deals with heart-moving stories about kitties published on the Internet by the Moscow adoption center for cats “Murkosha”, which are studied in connection with the dominants of the volunteer discourse. The article focuses on speech genre and narrative characteristics of these stories. It is shown that their specific language, text, and other features are secondary to the main goal – to influence the reader, to induce him either to take the cat directly or to help the adoption center financially. Accordingly, the means that make it possible to enhance the impact come to the fore: expression, different types of direct appeal to moral imperatives, playing with values; at the syntax level – an abundance of direct and indirect directives. The author shows some speechgenre connections of the heart-moving stories about kitties with other genres of volunteer and non-volunteer (advertising) discourse: they are united by the role of indirect communication in text-building and (usually not directly named) practical illocutionary goal; but they demostrate a different attitude to the values that the author of the heart-moving stories about kitties operates (among them the main one is the increase in the amount of love and goodness in the world). The cat is presented in a humanized form (the method of personification) (hence, and not only from “advertising” intentionality, there is a lot of indirect communication, including metaphors, pastiche of various “human” genres), most often as a child. Hence – many “children’s” genres, imitation of the features of children’s speech and speech of adults in communication with children. The method of personification determines the greatest variety of expressive means when describing the “most metaphorical” components of a cat’s image (frame actants): the “character” of the cat and the “communication” (friendship, love) of the cat and the owner. The article analyzes illocutionary types of heart-moving stories about kitties, identified by the authors themselves and marked with smilies (emergency message for help; the story of a cat that entered the adoption center and is ready to be handed over to the future owner; a message about the need for especially careful treatment of a cat with physical or psychological problems; an adoption center that found a family; “letter from home” from new owners) and narrative types (narrative with partially expressed authorship; mixed (authorship) narratives; pastiche of the “dialogue” of a cat with an adoption center employee; “narrative” on behalf of a cat, etc.). A separate micro-study deals with the heart-moving stories frame structure, where the actants / slots are distinguished: a cat (external data, diseases, and other physical and / or psychological problems, “psychology” of a cat); a past owner of a cat, a new or future owner of a cat; street, street life, homelessness, dangers; adoption center for cats “Murkosha” and its staff. There is a characteristic of the use and distribution of linguistic means (primarily expressive: metaphors, especially – conceptual metaphors, definitions, including applications, epithets, etc.) by frame actants and slots. In particular, it is shown that the image of a cat is formed by three meaningful dominants (concepts): love-friendship (as an indissoluble unity) (hence the image of communication happiness), orphanhood and doing good. The latter corresponds to the dominant of the volunteer discourse. Of the two remaining, orphanhood is well combined with it (the targeting of doing good is emphasized), but the latter rather contradicts it (it is more likely mutually beneficial cooperation, even exchange, than disinterested service) and can probably be explained by the focus on the diversity of reaching a heterogeneous audience, where the motives to take a cat from a shelter can also be different.

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