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Bakhtiniana: Revista de Estudos do Discurso

On-line version ISSN 2176-4573

Bakhtiniana, Rev. Estud. Discurso vol.9 no.1 São Paulo Jan./July 2014 



The Argumentative Sequence as a Doner of Meaning in the Dialogic Discourse Analysis and in the Argumentative Semantics



Telisa Furlanetto GraeffI; Rafael de Souza TimmermannII

IUniversidade de Passo Fundo - UPF, Passo Fundo, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil;
IIUniversidade de Passo Fundo - UPF, Passo Fundo, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil;




This work aims to discuss the construction of the utterances' meanings based on the ideas of Discourse in Life and Discourse in art, by Voloshinov (2012) and on the Theory of Argumentation Within Language, by Ducrot and Anscombre (1983), more specifically, its current technical version - the Theory of the Semantic Blocks - proposed by Carel (1995) and developed along with Ducrot today. It is, in the dialogical analysis, a matter of seeking the necessary password to the understanding of the utterance and, in the argumentative analysis, to follow the argumentative orientation of the linguistic entities, which indicate possible continuations, banning others. In both cases, the utterance can be answered when it constitutes an argumentative sequence, which was compared by Voloshinov to an enthymeme whose main premise was exposed and understood by Ducrot and Carel as two predicates put together by donc or pourtant, among which a semantic interdependency that creates a singular meaning, reality's discursive representation is established.

Keywords: Dialogism; Utterance; Argumentative sequence; Enthymeme; Argumentative semantics




This article compares two modes of constructing the meaning of an utterance. The first one was taken from Discourse in Life and Discourse in Art - Concerning Sociological Poetics, by Voloshinov,1 according to which the verbal element must be complemented by a contextual/enunciative research. The other one, proposed by the Theory of the Semantic Blocks (TSB), currently developed by Ducrot and Carel, considered the most extreme form of the Theory of Argumentation Within Language (AL) by Anscombre and Ducrot, whose central idea is that meanings are only constituted by types of argumentation.

In the first part, we will focus on Voloshinov's ideas on the construction of utterances' meanings, which point to the understanding of an enthymeme, produced from the verbal element; in the second part, we will present the idea, related to AL, that the meanings of linguistic entities are the continuations that they allow; in other words, the construction of meanings comes from the syntagmatic discursive relation that the entities have. We will present this notion of argumentative sequence as a donor of meaning and the changes it went through during the three phases of AL until getting to its description in TSB. According to the latter, every utterance is paraphrasable by argumentative discourses, that is, by syntactic sequences of two sentences, linked by one operator that belongs to the family of consecutive conjunctions, such as therefore (donc) (normative discourses), or to the family of oppositional conjunctions, such as however (pourtant) (transgressive discourses).

The last part of this article will be dedicated to the comparison of the two ways, previously dealt here, of constructing the meanings of utterances: One based on the ideas of Discourse in Life and Discourse in art - concerning sociological poetics, by Voloshinov, and the other one based on the Theory of Argumentation Within Language, by Ducrot and Anscombre. The latter will use, more specifically, its current technical version - the Theory of the Semantic Blocks - , proposed by Carel and developed with Ducrot. It will be shown that, in both cases, the utterance can be answered, when an argumentative sequence can be evoked from it, which was understood by Voloshinov as an enthymeme whose main premise was exposed. On the other hand, Ducrot and Carel understood it as two predicates united by donc (=DC)2 or by pourtant (=PT), among which a semantic interdependency is established which creates a single meaning, that is, a unique argumentative judgment, which can be expressed by an argumentative predicate.


1 The Construction of the Utterance's Meaning in the Dialogic Conception of Language

The utterance, which in the dialogical proposition mingles with the concepts of text, enunciation and discourse, comes to life and gains meaning in its real enunciative situation, composed not only of the linguistic choices made and expressed, but also, and mainly, of the external factors which compose the horizons of the participants of the dialogue, who are the speaker and the direct and/or indirect interlocutors, who are socially and historically inserted, and, also, the object (subject) which the speaker refers to. For Voloshinov (2012, p.157), "Verbal discourse, taken in the broader sense as a phenomenon of cultural communication, ceases to be something self-contained and can no longer be understood independently of the social situation that engenders it."

The extra-verbal factors do not act separately. They are an intrinsic part of the utterance, once meaning is produced only when the component set of all factors is understood, making the concrete utterance a unique and unrepeatable event, carrier of a unique meaning, understood by those involved in the enunciative scene. The difference between a sentence and an utterance in Bakhtin's thought lies there: The sentence, a set of articulated and syntactically organized signs, removed from its context of enunciation, is repeatable and has a meaning capable of being perceived by the speakers of the language or a specific community. The utterance, on the other hand, has a meaning only revealed by the enunciative context and, therefore, it cannot be repeated. Related to it, Todorov (1981, p.69) comments that "the difference between the utterance and the statement (or sentence), unity of language, consists in the fact that the first is necessarily produced in a particular context, and it is always social, while the second does not require a context."3

Although Bakhtin and Voloshinov differ about the ephemerality of the utterance - Bubnova (2009) emphasizes that to Voloshinov (2012) the utterance is born, lives and dies in the social interaction process of enunciation and to Bakhtin (2010) the utterance is reborn when a new listener/speaker takes on the utterance, giving this utterance a new meaning - , one can notice the emphasis given by the proposal of the Bakhtin Circle to the social reality of the language and to the dialogic construction of the meaning of utterances. In this regard, Brait and Melo (2005, p.65) comment that "language is conceived in a historical, cultural and social perspective which includes, for purposes of understanding and analysis, effective communication and the characters involved in it."4

In the text Discourse in Life and Discourse in Art, by Voloshinov, originally published in 1926, there is the vision of the Circle regarding the construction of the meaning of an utterance. The author (2012) promotes the discussion from the example of two men in a room. One of them, realizing that it had begun to snow again, expresses his thought with the monolexematic utterance Well. The other man does not answer.

Isolated, the adverb5 Well is virtually empty of meaning. However, from this example, Voloshinov (2012) presents the factors which together build the concrete meaning of this utterance. To be fully understood, the extra-verbal context that is composed by three factors must be taken into account: The spatial purview common to the interlocutors; their common knowledge and understanding of the situation, and their common evaluation.

The spatial purview common to the interlocutors refers to what is visible to the participants of the dialogue; in the example, the window, the room and the falling snow were seen by both of them. The knowledge/understanding of the situation consists of the factors preconceived by the subjects.

In the example, it is assumed that both knew it was time for the spring to start and that they were tired of the hard winter that lingered longer than it should. The evaluation is given unanimously by the participants of the dialogue at the moment when, disappointed, tired and anxious for the spring, one of them expressed the discourse while the other, in silence, agreed with the meaning attributed to the utterance. According to Voloshinov (2012, p.164), "Whatever kind it be, the behavioral utterance always joins the participants in the situation together as co-participants who know, understand, and evaluate the situation in like manner."

The articulation of external factors to the verbal content leads to the understanding of the utterance. This articulation envelops the spatial purviews, both the most direct, restrict, immediate one, which is related to the time of the utterance, and the broadest mediate purview, which reflects the relationship that the participants of the utterance have with the socio-historical and ideological contexts in which they live in addition to the understanding of the situation itself and the common evaluation of the object to which the utterance refers - in this case, the fact of being snowing in the beginning of the spring. The verbal omission of these factors, according to Voloshinov (2012), leads the utterance to resemble an enthymeme, understood as a syllogism from which one of the premises is omitted, which is, however, known and understood by the linguistic community in which the utterance is performed. According to Todorov (1981, p.68), "the assumed part of the utterance is nothing more than the common purviews of the speakers, composed by spatio-temporal, semantic and evaluative elements."6

For classical rhetoric (BARTHES, 1975), there are two non-contrary types of enthymemes: One of them, from Aristotelian basis, is related to the contextual verisimilitude which makes possible the popular understanding of the omitted premise in the utterance by the people (interlocutor). To the author (1975, p.188), this type of enthymeme "is a deduction of concrete value, made for a presentation (a kind of acceptable spectacle), as opposed to the abstract deduction, made only for analysis."7 The other type includes the idea of the enthymeme as an abbreviated form of syllogism (consisting of a major premise, a minor one, and a conclusion), because it omits one of the premises. To Rifo and Alvarado (2002, p.35) "The enthymeme does not explain, does not demonstrate, it only creates a bond of deductive succession whose question goes through the discovery of an underlying utterance."8 Let us consider the following example: This apple is green, so it is acidic. The major premise, which is a hasty generalization, is implied: All green apples are acidic.

The enthymeme is, in Barthes's words (1975, p.189), "a syllogism which is truncated by the deletion (in the utterance) of a proposition, whose reality seems undeniable in the eyes of men and that, for this reason, is simply 'stored in spirit' (in thymo)."9

From this definition, it seems that only the social aspect can be assumed. Related to the individual, Voloshinov (2012, p.165), understands that "individual emotions can come into play only as overtones accompanying the basic tone of social evaluation. 'I' can realize itself verbally only on the basis of 'we' (emphasis in original)." The assumed evaluative elements are from the collective, recognized by everyone (or, at least, by the components of a particular linguistic community, for example).

The word, not articulated with its assumed enunciative concrete reality, is empty. The sociological factor, the intonation, is not naturally in the word. Intonation appears, in the utterance, as the boundary between verbal and extra-verbal factors, connecting the speaker to the interlocutor(s) in the enunciative situation, putting forth the social atmosphere that engenders them (VOLOSHINOV, 2012). It is, in the author's words, the representative choral support of the social context of the participants of the enunciation.

In the example of the two men who saw the late snowfall, the intonation starts from the common evaluation of both speaker and interlocutor, of repudiation of the winter that extended itself and of their desire for the spring. This assumed evaluation, according to Voloshinov (2012), provides a clear basis to the intonation. However, the intonation could have been different if the social/contextual support (which the author calls choral support) was unclear and did not represent the certainty of the speaker that the interlocutor would evaluate the situation the same way.

Faced with the falling snow in a long winter, the speaker, when uttering Well, invites his interlocutor to ally with him in reproach, in his criticism to the weather. However, this reproval is not directed to the interlocutor, but to a third participant of the dialogue that Voloshinov (2012) calls hero. The hero can be understood as a kind of living materiality, present in the discourse. "Often, the 'hero' is merely some inanimate thing, some occurrence or circumstance of life" (VOLOSHINOV, 2012, p.172).

The utterance, then, besides being addressed to the interlocutor, is addressed to the hero. About that, related to this double direction, Voloshinov (2012, p.173) states that each instance of intonation is oriented

with respect to the listener as ally or witness and with respect to the object of the utterance as the third, living participant whom intonation scolds or caresses, denigrates or magnifies. This double social orientation is what determines all aspects of intonation and makes it intelligible (emphasis in original).

This hero, in the example, receives the reproach of the man. He expresses an intonational metaphor, which means that the meaning attributed to the utterance consists of the intonation presented with an ironic tone, leading the interlocutor to support the criticism to the one responsible for the late snow.

The intonational metaphor has, in its interior, the possibility of a usual semantic metaphor (VOLOSHINOV, 2012). For the author, "Were this possibility to be realized, the word well would expand into some such metaphorical expression as: 'What a stubborn winter! It just won't give up, though goodness knows it's time'" (2012, p.171, emphasis in original).

The discourse, the utterance, when dismantled from its extra-verbal factors loses its social character, therefore, its meaning. "The verbal discourse is a social event" (VOLOSHINOV, 2012, p.174). The real substance of the language is not composed by the abstraction of linguistic forms expressed or by the individual psychological process of its formation. For Todorov (1981, p.67), "linguistic matter is only part of the statement: There is also another part, non-verbal, which corresponds to the context of the enunciation."10

In the discussion and critique of conceptions of language of the time, the abstract objectivism and the individualistic subjectivism, Voloshinov (2009) comments that the meaning of an utterance is not found in the verbal substance not articulated with the external reality of the words. Similarly, the individual psyche of the speaker is not the forming base of the meaning of the utterances: The concrete reality of language is the social interaction made in the utterances, which have the function of communicating and therefore the role of the listener should always be considered in the realization of the enunciation.

The interlocutor (listener) is a fundamental part in the construction of the meaning, because the speaker makes a pre-evaluation of the interlocutor to perform a particular utterance: The conclusion will be in the other. At this moment, the interlocutor becomes responsible for continuing the dialogue (not necessarily with another utterance, but with an action, or even with silence). In the given alternation between an utterance and another one, it can be understood that one of the characteristics of the utterance is its ability to generate the need for a response; it is the responsive attitude instigated by the utterance (BAKHTIN, 2010).

Thus, the totality of the meaning of the utterance is materialized in the interrelation between speaker/interlocutor and their evaluation on a given subject/object, and the extra-verbal context of the participants in the most restricted and the broadest dialogues. The responsive attitude of the interlocutor, after the realization of the utterance by the speaker, promotes the conclusibility of the utterance.

In the next section, we will look at the construction of the meaning of the utterances according to the Theory of Argumentation Within Language (AL) in its different stages.


2 The Construction of the Utterance's Meaning in the Theory of Argumentation Within Language: From the Standard Form to the TSB, the Current Phase

The Theory of the Semantic Blocks stemmed from the Theory of Argumentation Within Language, which was created by Oswald Ducrot and Jean-Claude Anscombre (1983) as a result of thoughts on the argumentative meaning of the words, which completely discards the informative meaning. Going through its three phases, the undergone changes by the notion of argumentative sequence itself can be followed.

In the first phase of AL, known as the standard form, the idea that words have no meaning before conclusions are drawn from them is presented. This idea can be checked in the utterances: It's sunny, let's go out. It's sunny, let's not go out. In these two utterances, the semantic value of the expression it's sunny varies, according to the conclusions that can be taken from it. In one case, the sun is conducive to walking; in the other, it is unfavorable to it.

One of the main evidences of this argumentative value of the words, rather than their informative value, is the fact noticed by Ducrot and Anscombre (1983) that, in several languages, there are pairs of sentences whose utterances denote the same fact, when the context is the same. However, the possible arguments that arise from these utterances are completely different. As an example, consider the pair of utterances: John ate little at lunch and John ate a little at lunch. Note that, in both cases, the matter is the ingestion of a small amount of food. However, in the first example the conclusion is negative and, in the second, positive, or vice versa.

The idea that the possible conclusions, from utterances like these, are radically opposed is contested, mostly based on the perception that both utterances above can allow the same conclusions, depending on how the ingestion of food is seen, as a bad or a good thing. Ducrot (1990) and collaborators noticed, in other words, that with operators like little and a little it was possible to get to the same conclusion as long as different argumentative principles were used, which would guarantee the passage from the argument to the conclusion. Ducrot called these argumentative principles topoi, a term that he takes from Aristotle, changing, however, its meaning. To Aristotle, according to Ducrot (1990, p.102), a topos is a kind of deposit in which a speaker can find all sorts of arguments that serve to defend his/her thesis. Ducrot uses the term in a narrower sense, since for him topoi are beliefs, common argumentative places whose function is to steer the argument towards the conclusion. In other words, they are "common, collective and gradual" (p.102) argumentative principles that justify the passage from the argument to the conclusion, constituting an argumentative trajectory. The inclusion of topoi determines the change from the standard form of AL to the named extended standard form.

Ducrot (1990, p.94) shows the concept and operation of topoi through the following examples:

(19) He worked a little, he will succeed.

(Ha trabajado un poco, va a tener éxito.)

(20) He worked little, he will fail.

(Ha trabajado poco, va a fracasar.)

(21) He worked little, he will succeed.

(Ha trabajado poco, va a tener éxito.)

In case it is believed that work leads to success, utterances (19) and (20) are perfectly possible. But if we believe that work is the cause of failure, we can have utterance (21). We can draw the same conclusion from the utterance with little and a little. Everything depends on the idea that the speaker has about work. It is just like the case of examples (19) and (21), in which you can have the same conclusion although it is reached by different paths, which are justified by means of a topos, seen as the intermediary between the argument and the conclusion. To reach the same conclusion from two distinct arguments, two different topoi are manifested, such as work leads to success and work leads to failure.

If, in the standard form, the argumentative potential was defined in terms of possible conclusions, in this last one, the argumentative potential is the set of topoi that can be evoked by a given entity. In the developing of AL, the notion of topos will be replaced by the notion of semantic block, as it can be seen in the following explanation.

Carel and Ducrot developed the Theory of Semantic Blocks as a new technical version of the theory of Argumentation Within language. This third phase of AL radicalizes the rejection of the traditional division between semantics and pragmatics, showing the conception according to which the argumentative character of a sequence is defined by the interdependence between its two segments. To Carel (2001), this phenomenon is called semantic interdependence, because, in two types of sequences - regular (in donc) and exceptive (in pourtant) - the same fundamental fact is manifested, that is, each of the linked predicates only takes its meaning in relation to the other. Note, for example, that both utterances Peter works; therefore, he has money and Peter works; however, he has no money express the idea that people who work have money. The difference between them is that while the first one (normative) is the rule, the second one (transgressive) disobeys it. In discourses of these two types, the first segment is determined by the second segment and vice versa so that there is no relation of inference between the segments, but there is a semantic interdependence. It is a kind of work that leads to success and a success that is only achieved through work. This is what Carel explains in the following passage:

My view on argumentation has nothing to do with inference. In fact, the latter rests on the idea of passage, the end of which an utterance (argument) would convey its truth to a new utterance (the conclusion). My view on argumentation, by contrast, assumes a dependency of two segments. There is, for me, in an argumentative sequence, no informative progress. It is a single point of view that is developed either under a normative angle or in a transgressive angle (2001, p.07).11

This new proposal gives up the notion of topos and introduces, among other concepts, the semantic block, the normative and transgressive aspects, and the external and internal argumentation, as it will be seen below.

According to Carel and Ducrot (2005), the main idea of the theory is that the meaning of an expression is given by the argumentative discourses that can be linked from that expression. Marion Carel (1995), in proposing the TSB, realized that, in fact, the Theory of Topoi contradicted AL, because the argumentation was based on existing elements in the outside world while what they were trying to establish was that the argument was purely linguistic.

The TSB maintains that the meaning of a linguistic entity is not composed of things, facts, psychological beliefs. It is based on certain discourses that this linguistic entity evokes. Theses discourses constitute argumentative sequences, which are defined by the articulation of two predicates linked by DC (therefore) and PT (however) operators. These two parts of the sequence form a single meaning. As it can be seen in the utterances John has a lot of money; DC (therefore), he is happy and John is healthy; DC (therefore), he is happy, this is not the same type of happiness. In the first utterance, John is happy because of his wealth, and in the second he is happy due to his health. The interpretation of the first and second segments, in both utterances, is not made separately, because the idea is indecomposable. There is a semantic unit, that is, the sequence of both segments produces meaning only if they are together. They consist, thus, in two distinct semantic blocks: Money/happiness and health/happiness, which, in the example above, are in their normative aspect, being able to be expressed in the transgressive aspect: John has a lot of money; PT, he is not happy and John is healthy; PT, he is not happy. Each aspect has its reciprocity. In the case of the utterance John has a lot of money; DC, he is happy, the reciprocal normative aspect would be John does not have much money; DC, he is not happy. The reciprocal transgressive aspects would be John does not have much money; PT, he is happy and John has a lot of money; PT, he is not happy. The argumentative semantic relation that money and happiness jointly construct can be expressed by the discourse: The one who has money is happy, which can be seen positively or negatively. The fact that one can generalize does not prevent the exceptions from being expressed by the transgressive aspect (sequence in PT). Thus, a semantic block has several aspects: The reciprocal ones, which can be positive and negative; the convert aspects, divided in normative and transgressive, as it was evidenced in previous utterances, and the transposed aspects, split into normative positive and negative transgressive, or transgressive negative and normative positive.

In the quote below, Carel highlights a key issue for the establishment of the difference between normative and transgressive aspects:

In particular, according to my terminology, the sequence Peter is rich; therefore, he is unhappy (...) is normative. Certainly, it is contrary to social beliefs, but that does not make it into what I call a transgressive sequence. It is, on the contrary, normative, because, as much as Peter is rich; therefore, he is happy (...), it sees the rule (wealth brings unhappiness) as a prescription. The sequence Peter is rich; therefore, he is unhappy should, then, be well differentiated from Peter is rich; however, he is unhappy: The first one contradicts the rule that wealth brings happiness; the second is content to disobey it (2005, p.04).12

It should be noted, though, that the existence of two arguing modes of a linguistic entity should be considered: The external and the internal ones. According to Carel and Ducrot (2005), the external argumentation is taken as the plurality of constituent aspects of the meaning of the entity in the language, and they are connected to it in an external mode. In other words, it refers to the argumentative sequences that may precede or follow such entity. Thus, the external argumentation (EA) can be EA to the right and EA to the left.

Please look at the examples below:

EA to the right of prudent: He is prudent; DC (therefore), he will not have accidents. He is prudent PT; (however), he will have accidents.

EA to the left of prudent: He checks the car; DC, he is prudent. He does not check the car; PT, he is prudent.

It is noted that the external argumentations of a linguistic entity are pairs formed by a normative sequence and a transgressive one, definitively allowing for the distinction between a normative argumentation and a logical inference. Carel and Ducrot (2008, p.10-11) explain that the two sequences - the normative and the corresponding transgressive - "(...) are equally attached, at least as possibilities, to the meaning of the sentence created by the utterance, which prevents presenting the latter as a justification to impose a conclusion."13

Now, as to the internal argumentation (IA) of a linguistic entity, these authors clarify that it is about sequences in DC or in PT which "are somewhat close equivalents to this expression, possibly paraphrases or reformulations"14 (CAREL; DUCROT, 2008, p.11). They state that the entity in question cannot be a segment in the sequence that paraphrases it or even have the convert aspect as well. Thus, the IA of prudent could have the aspect danger DC caution or another one such as danger DC quitting. On the other hand, the corresponding transgressive aspects - danger PT no caution and danger PT not quitting - would be the IA of imprudent.

Ducrot (In: CAREL; DUCROT, 2005, p.14-16) shows that the opposition between the transgressive and the normative aspect lies within the words themselves, including those which do not seem to have that meaning. Compare utterances (1) and (2):

(1) Oh! Peter is there.

[Tiens! Pierre est là.]

(2) Surely, Peter is there.

[Bien Sûr, Pierre est là.]

They show that when one says Oh! Peter is there, it can be understood that there are reasons to think that he should not be there, which, schematically, could be represented by X HOWEVER Peter is there. On the other hand, Surely, Peter is there allows us to understand that there were reasons to think that Peter was there, which could be represented schematically by X THEREFORE Peter is there. To sum up, Oh would participate in a transgressive argumentative sequence while Surely would participate in a normative argumentative sequence.

For the example proposed by Voloshinov, in the text Discourse in life and discourse in art, in which the author suggests a simple utterance, made only by the adverb Well, it would be necessary to examine the possible sequences, since this lexeme alone means nothing, because, in the TSB, the basic semantic units are only sequences in DC and PT.

In this respect, let us take the semantic metaphor of the word Well which, as Voloshinov (2012, p.171) stated, is latent within it, in the cradle and which if it were realized, it would expand the word well in metaphorical expressions, such as What a stubborn winter! It just won't give up, though goodness knows it's time.

To analyze the meaning of these utterances, it is necessary to explicit the argumentative sequence in DC or in PT that they allow to evoke. The analysis of Well, what a stubborn winter! demands that we seek the internal argumentation of stubborn, that is, a sequence in PT or in DC that paraphrases stubborn, as in [should not continue x PT continue x]. The argumentative sequence that can be evoked by the reading of Well, what a stubborn winter! is [the winter should not continue PT to continue].

Now, the utterance It just won't give up, though goodness knows it's time permits to evoke the two following sequences:

It just won't give up [the winter should end PT not to stop]

Goodness knows it's time for the winter to end! [it is time for the winter to end PT the winter does not end]

Note that the argumentative orientation of the adverb well, in all analyzed cases, is transgressive, that is, it disobeys the rule that the winter season has a time to end. Thus, the tone of reproach/anger and some irony are seen in these uses of well. If the expression what an obedient winter followed the expression well, taking into account that the internal argumentation of obedient was [should not continue x DC not continue x], so that Well, what an obedient winter! would correspond to the sequence [winter should not continue any longer DC not to continue], well would have a banal normative argumentative orientation and lose its ironic tone.

These two possibilities correspond to external argumentations of the linguistic entities, always consisting of pairs of normative and transgressive sequences. It should be underlined that the argumentative sequences build, through their own existence, representations of the world which is spoken of, being, however, restricted by the intrinsic semantics of the words used, that is, by their internal argumentation. In this perspective, the argumentative sequence of the TSB distances itself, definitely, from the rhetorical meaning of the enthymeme.



From the perspective of Voloshinov as from Ducrot's and Carel's, the lexeme well alone would be meaningless, for in the two theoretical approaches the existence of a literal meaning is denied independently of the use of the word in the discourse. Instead of the fixed meaning of the dictionaries, the TSB proposes that isolated linguistic entities are described by argumentative sequences in DC or in PT, which constitute their internal argumentations. This internal argumentation gives argumentative guidance for its use in the discourse, that is, for the formation of new sequences by possible continuations and the interdiction of others. In the words of Carel (2012, p.43-44), "The basic idea is that an utterance 'means' argumentative sequences, more precisely prefigured sequences by the aspects enrolled in the meaning of the words which constitute them."15

In the case of the analysis of Well, presented by Voloshinov, the pursuit of extralinguistic factors allows for a joint understanding of the utterance by both the speaker and the interlocutor. This search produces knowledge accepted by both who, then, agree with the tone in which the adverb is enunciated. This shared knowledge, which Voloshinov (2012) calls assumed knowledge, or a password, so the understanding of the utterances might be realized, has a lot of similarity with topos, defined during the phase of the extended standard AL as an argumentative principle which would guarantee the passage from an argument to a conclusion. In the case in question, it would ensure the passage of Well to the continuations presented by Voloshinov as usual semantic metaphors.

It is believed that the idea of the extended standard AL that the argumentative sequence is the basic semantic unit can be applied to the understanding of utterances from the perspective of the Discourse Dialogic Analysis (DDA), when the linguistic entity is enlivened and transformed into an argumentative sequence likely to be answered, and whose predicates are guaranteed by a common argumentative principle, shared by the participants of the concrete verbal utterance. In this phase of AL, the utterance was understood as a unit consisting of an argument whose conclusion was made possible by an argumentative principle (topos).

From TSB, which does not make any concessions to the idea of passage, of a principle that guarantees, of an argumentative movement, once it understands the utterance as an argumentative unit of meaning formed by the semantic interdependence between two segments that constitute the argumentative sequence, it could be understood that there are two basic semantic units: The sequences in DC and the sequences in PT, especially since the latter lend themselves to the description of transgression, concession, while the former lend themselves to describe doxal, banal discourses.

The analysis of an utterance is thought, in the perspective of the DDA, as the realization of a movement that, starting from the language (argument), goes to the world to get an argumentative principle, in the sense that Ducrot gave to it in the extended standard AL, and that consists of beliefs, common places shared by a community, whose function is to guide the argument toward the conclusion, resulting in the understanding of the utterance. It seems to us that this argumentative movement to constitute the meaning of an utterance is found as a sketch in the text Discourse in life and discourse in art, by Voloshinov.



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Received November 20,2013
Accepted April 20,2014



Translated by Rafael de Souza Timmermann -
1 Both consulted versions, edited by Todorov in French and by Titunik, in English, as well as the original Russian version, of 1926, are attributed to Voloshinov. According to Faraco (2003), there are doubts related to the authorship of the works published by the Circle. In this work, we will consider Voloshinov the author of Discourse in Life and Discourse in Art - Concerning Sociological Poetics (appendix of Freudianism: a Marxist Critique) and of Marxism and Philosophy of the Language, and Bakhtin the author of Speech Genres & Other Late Essays.
2 Following in this article, the sign DC will be used to refer to connectors of the type donc (therefore, in English), which make regular argumentative sequences, and PT to refer to connectors of the type pourtant (however, in English), which make exceptive argumentative sequences.
3 Text in original: la differénce entre l'énoncé et la proposition (ou la phrase), unité de langue, consiste en ceci que le premier est nécessairement produit dans un contexte particulier, et que est toujours social, alors que la seconde n'a pas besoin de contexte.
4 Text in original: a linguagem é concebida de um ponto de vista histórico, cultural e social que inclui, para efeito de compreensão e análise, a comunicação efetiva e os sujeitos nela envolvidos.
5 The translation of the text made by Titunik presents the word well enunciated in the example as an adverb. However, Todorov (1981), in the French version, understands it as an interjection. In this work, we will take Titunik's version to English and the version from English to Portuguese, by Carlos Alberto Faraco and Cristóvão Tezza, which, even though it was not published, it is well known in Brazil. There is another version in Portuguese, published by Pedro e João Editores, in 2011, in the appendix of Bakhtin's book, Palavra própria e palavra outra na sintaxe da enunciação, edited by Valdemir Miotello. This version in Portuguese was made from the version in Italian, by Luciano Ponzio.
6 Text in original: La part sous-entendue de l'énoncé n'est rien d'autre que cet horizon commun aux locuteurs, composé d'éléments spatio-temporels, sémantiques et évaluatifs.
7 Text in original: é uma dedução de valor concreto, feita para uma apresentação (uma espécie de espetáculo aceitável), em oposição à dedução abstrata, feita unicamente para a análise.
8 Text in original: El entimema no explica, no demuestra, sólo funda un lazo de sucesión deductiva cuyo cuestionamiento pasa por el descubrimiento de un enunciado subyacente.
9 Text in original: um silogismo truncado pela supressão (no enunciado) de uma proposição, cuja realidade parece incontestável aos olhos dos homens e que, por tal razão, fica simplesmente 'guardada no espírito' (em thymo) (free translation).
10 Text in original: la matière linguistique ne constitue qu'une partie de l'énoncé; il existe aussi une autre partie, non verbale, qui correspond au contexte d'énonciation (free translation).
11 Text in original: Minha noção de argumentação nada tem a ver com aquela de inferência. Esta última, com efeito, repousa sobre uma idéia de passagem, ao fim da qual um enunciado (argumento) transmitiria sua veracidade a um novo enunciado (a conclusão). Minha noção de argumentação, ao contrário, supõe uma dependência de dois segmentos. Não há, para mim, num encadeamento argumentativo, qualquer progresso informativo. É um único ponto de vista que é desenvolvido, ou sob um ângulo normativo, ou sob um ângulo transgressivo.
12 Text in original: Em particular, segundo minha terminologia, o encadeamento Pedro é rico, portanto é infeliz (...) é normativo. Por certo, ele é contrário às crenças sociais. Mas isso não faz dele o que eu chamo de encadeamento transgressivo. Ele é, ao contrário, normativo, porque, tanto quanto Pedro é rico, portanto é feliz (...), ele vê a regra (a riqueza traz infelicidade) como uma prescrição. O encadeamento Pedro é rico, portanto é infeliz deve, então, ser bem diferenciado de Pedro é rico, mesmo assim é infeliz: o primeiro contradiz a regra segundo a qual a riqueza traz felicidade; o segundo se contenta em desobedecê-la.
13 Text in original: (...) estão igualmente inscritos, ao menos como possibilidades, na significação da frase realizada pelo enunciado - o que impede de apresentar este último como uma justificativa que impõe uma conclusão.
14 Text in original: constituem equivalentes mais ou menos próximos dessa expressão, eventualmente paráfrases ou reformulações.
15 Text in original: L'idée fondamentale est qu'un énoncé "signifie" des enchaînements argumentatifs, plus précisément des enchaînements préfigures par les aspects inscrits dans la signification des mots qui les constituent.

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