.., ..,

Intertextual Characteristics of English Business Discourse


Decoding the information transferred by the intertextual devices in a business discourse demands additional intellectual efforts and the possession of some knowledge about allusions, realia, idioms and quotes, as well as the words and phrases containing data on social, economic, geographical and ideological factors. Non-compliance with these conditions causes the loss of mutual understanding between communicants, the loss of considerable layer of semantics loaded by the author in the oral speech or written text, failure in achieving the aim of business communication.

For example, the headline of the article "From Brussels, With Shove" published in the The Economist contains an implied reference to the popular movie "From Russia, With Love" (about adventures of the British secret agent James Bond). At the beginning of the text the author intentionally includes the elements indicating the additional semantic plan with coded" information:

Just as Hollywood blockbusters tend to spawn sequels, financial regulations do not usually stop at the first effort. For years insurers, actuaries and consultants have awaited the premiere of Solvency 2, UN updated regulatory regime that sets out tougher risk-management and capital requirements for European insurers. Originally planned for October of this year, its launch is now expected in January 2014. So there is still time for lobbying to pay off. (From Brussels, With Love//The Economist. - April 7th 2012. P. 85).

The words Hollywood, blockbusters, sequels and premiere belong to the semantic field of cinema and are closely connected with the heading of the article. The phrase From Brussels, With Shove which is foregrounded in a strong position structurally and phonetically reminds the name of the spy thriller having nothing in common with a serious discussion of innovations in insurance industry. The violation of an adequate interaction with the external space and emergence of functional fluctuations make the system of discourse intensify the exchange processes with readers by activating their knowledge of cinema.

As a result, destructive semantic components tend to be neutralized and the discursive system acquires new semantic components which correlate with the phrase time for lobbying used at the end of the passage. The integration of deviant elements in the business discourse forms cognitive pragmatic effect of the authors arguments and provides the evolutionary movement of the semantic system towards the knowledge structures highlighting the idea that all persons involved in the project Solvency 2 could face different intrigues and unexpected changes in lobbying their business interests. The impact which is made on the addressees of a message demonstrates the effectiveness of the combined use of irony and allusion. This may be exemplified by the article "Uphill work" published in The Economist. The article is devoted to the forthcoming entry into force of the bank agreement. The author's ironical rhetoric based on the combination of allusion and simile, which compares the activity of Basel committee with heavy (the committee has been sweating) and unnecessary Sisyphean task, provides achieving the pragmatic effect of disbelief in the productivity of the document under discussion.

Sisyphus was lucky. He could have wound up on the Basel committee. Since 1999 the committee has been sweating over the Basel 2 accord, regulatory framework that guides how much capital banks should set aside to cover the level of risk they face. An end is finally in sight... Like other regulators, Basel committee was already looking at liquidity risk before credit markets became strangled: working group on the topic is to report before the end of the year. Sisyphus would have sympathized. (Uphill work//The Economist. - September 8th - 14th 2007. - P. 70.)

The use of mythological character Sisyphus at the beginning of the article strengthens the interaction of discourse with external environment. The allusive nomination activates background knowledge connected with the story about an endless and ineffective Sisyphean task. The semantic components coming into the semantic system contradict the functionally unacceptable adjective lucky which contrast with an image of the unfortunate martyr. The deviation is intensified by the comparison of a personal pronoun he representing Sisyphus to the phrase the Basel committee that has a direct relation to the topic of the article. The work of Basel committee which had begun in 1999 was delayed and there was a wide range of problems to be solved. The element has been sweating draws parallels between the efforts made by the working group for the preparation of this contract and the work of Sisyphus who was doomed to endlessly roll a huge boulder up a steep hill.

The author also shows that the task of Sisyphus seems to be much more perspective (would have sympathized). The exaggeration of this kind increases the general expressiveness of the narration and indicates the ironical character of the whole text. As a result, the discourse acquires the emergent properties that orient the recipients towards a critical interpretation of the current situation. The functional semantic component is not explicitly verbalized but it is easily perceived by the participants: the sentence An end is finally in sight contains the hidden hint on the possibility of its endless continuation. By means of integration of the formal structure of the text and its implicit information the author of article in an allegorically ironic form expresses his negative attitude to the efforts of Basel Committee. In this case the author avoids the deviation from the norms of professional ethics, but somehow violates the rules of speech behavior in business communication.

The analysis of factual data allows us to draw a conclusion that allusions in the headings of business documents or articles violate the norms of a business discourse, causing the functional and stylistic fluctuations. Thus, the recipients have associations of the substantial and/or emotional character. Due to these associations a deeper level of penetration into the main idea of a text can be achieved. In addition, they stimulate the readers to activate a wide range of knowledge structures and literary competence for the purpose of adequate understanding of the message.

The list of used literature:

1.     From Brussels, With Love//The Economist. - April 7th 2012. P. 85

2.     Uphill work//The Economist. - September 8th - 14th 2007. - P. 70.