Measuring the Energy of a Text

Tamara Matveeva


This article examines the issue of introducing the term “energy” into the practice of specific linguistic studies. It is argued that this concept is useful for comprehending the subjective modal content of a speech work. The traditional linguistic interpretation of speech impact is based on the functionalsemantic concept of the expressivity of language units conveying the speaker’s emotions and evaluations. With the development of text linguistics, a broader view of the content of speech works and of impact-ensuring tools has become relevant. The author puts forward the term “energy” as a concept which synthesises speech and text, including categories of movement (changes, dynamics) and volition (goal-setting) of the subject of speech and the category of expressivity (intentionality). This idea is proved with reference to the extrapolation of philosophical interpretations of the concept of energy. The author describes the functional-semantic content of the energy component of the text and its structure. In terms of expression, the category of energy is a functional-semantic field which is realised as a set of expressive and nonexpressive language means belonging to different levels and verbal techniques aimed at impact. A separate tool or technique like this can be termed energema. The composition of text energemas is defined on lexical-semantic, grammatical, and prosodic grounds. This article considers energemas of two energy subfields: movement and volition. The author poses the problem of the statistical interpretation of text energy, which is particularly important for comparative studies of this phenomenon. Referring to a comparison of speech works of different genres united by one theme, the author demonstrates the energetic difference between a lecture and an encyclopaedic article. She also establishes groups of speech tools, providing dynamism and volition instruments as opposed to the static and abstract character of the text. It is proved that the intensity of the energy text field is directly proportional to the impact the text makes on the addressee.


speech impact; energy; energema; expressiveness; movement; will


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