International journal

Speech Genres

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

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Matyashevskaya A. I. Public Internet discussions on faith: The problem of persuasion effectiveness. Speech Genres, 2021, no. 2(30), pp. 154-162. DOI: 10.18500/2311-0740-2021-2-30-154-162

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Public Internet discussions on faith: The problem of persuasion effectiveness

Matyashevskaya Angelina Igorevna, Saratov State University

Considering effective communication, linguists traditionally focus on the type of the addressee and the conditions of their interaction with the addresser. The paper analyzes some transformations of oral genres on the Internet, including public discussions on the role of Orthodox faith in modern life, the functions of the religion in the spiritual and moral education of the contemporary society and its relation to the scientific breakthroughs of the 21st century. The analysis of video materials shows that their main addressee is the youth audience. Thus, it determines the methods of argumentation chosen in public Internet communication. The YouTube program “I Don’t Believe in God: Talking to an Atheist” has guests of all ages and professions: clergy, scientists and popularizers of science, politicians, journalists, interpreters, doctors, artists, movie critics and bloggers. The speakers are obviously oriented toward the predicted audience, complicates philosophical issues are discussed using real-life examples and involving both logical and emotional arguments. The article also focuses on the relaxed and friendly atmosphere of the conversation. Notably, a lively exchange of opinion boosts the Internet users’ attention and encourages the multidimensional interpretation of the views. A variety of perspectives sparks the youth interest in the discussed issues, facilitates critical thinking, inspires viewers to search for the truth themselves and to form sound judgments on religious faith and atheism. The results of the research may be used to improve students’ public speaking skills.      

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