The language and functions of Czech counter slogans: 1948 to 1989
AbstractThis article presents a detailed analysis of the defining linguistic features and functions of anti-regime Czech-language slogans from 1948 to 1989 – their style, tropes, referents and intertextual allusions. The study employs a mixed methodology, combining quantitative and qualitative approaches with empirically based historical research. The application of different linguistic models and tools (Leech’s language functions, Jakobson’s communication functions, Austin’s speech act theory, Halliday’s conceptualization of register, and data-informed discourse analysis), together with a range of documentary evidence, allows for the identification of characteristics and trends in their broader synchronic and diachronic context. The analysis draws on an extensive list of oral and written examples, taken from a variety of sources, and places a strong emphasis on the interface between linguistic and extra-linguistic activity. It is argued that many of the opposition slogans had their origins in popular, collective folk traditions, and bore the hallmark of those traditions stylistically and semantically. The counter slogans tended to be pithy, spontaneous and reactive, and frequently had an affective aesthetic quality, which was characterized by language play, catchy rhythm and rhyme. The accessibility and creativity of the expressions of dissent, which stood in contrast to the woodenness of the official propaganda, added to the impact of the protesters’ grievances and demands. While the chants and inscriptions may not necessarily have achieved their desired outcomes, they nonetheless played a significant symbolic role in subverting the Communist Party’s authoritative discourse. Moreover, the interactional aspect of the protest helped to forge a common identity outside the constraints of the imposed norms, which may have sometimes been more important to the participants than either the message or the medium of the slogans.
CitationDickins, T. (2022) The language and functions of Czech counter slogans: 1948 to 1989. Central Europe, 20(1), pp. 1-28. https://doi.org/10.1080/14790963.2022.2062999
DescriptionThis is an accepted manuscript of a paper published by Routledge on 18/04/2022, available online at: https://doi.org/10.1080/14790963.2022.2062999 The accepted manuscript of the publication may differ from the final published version.
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