Pragmatics via prosody in interaction optimization


  • Nataliia Kravchenko Kyiv National Linguistic University, Ukraine
  • Olga Valigura Kyiv National Linguistic University, Ukraine
  • Liubov Kozub Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv, Ukraine
  • Yuliia Babchuk Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv, Ukraine



prosody, speech acts , politeness strategies, acceptance speech, institutional strategy


The article represents a case study of Joaquin Phoenix’s acceptance speech, aimed at examining the interface of pragmatics and prosody. Relying on research into prosodic-pragmatic relationships and employing auditory prosody analysis combined with methods of pragmatic and discourse analysis, the article explores the interaction of prosody with speech acts, as well as with their related politeness and discursive strategies. Direct expressives are associated with three positive politeness strategies and are prosodically characterized by a normal or slow speech rate, normal or reduced volume, short intonation groups, very short pauses, a narrow pitch range, clear timbre, and a regular rhythm. The illocutionary force of indirect expressives relies on stylistic devices and markers of positive politeness, connoting emotional closeness and “sincerity” as components of felicity conditions for such acts. Indirect expressives are signaled by very short, short, or medium filled pauses, resonant timbre, low fall and stressed syllable, a descending stepping scale followed by a falling nucleus, high fall intonation groups, a rising intonation before key concepts, accelerated speech tempo, increased loudness, and emphasis on key words. The prosodic signals of expressive syntax and positive politeness coincide, except for markers emphasizing commonality. The “ecocentric” part of speech is constructed by representatives-reasoning that stimulates reflection without imposing views. This aligns with the negative politeness of non-imposition, marked by mitigators like hedges, bushes, and shields. The intonational accent on words with denotative or connotative meanings related to “discrimination” contributes to the discursive strategy of group polarization.