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Argumentation as a dimension of discourse : The case of news articles

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The aim of this paper is to explore the status of argumentative discourse. We argue that argumentation can contribute to instances of different discourse genres, regardless of whether it is functional to their purposes. By analyzing examples from the daily press in the light of an approach to discourse analysis inspired by pragmatics, we show that also texts that are not expected to be argumentative have underlying argumentative structures and that a text’s being argumentative is a matter of degree: the understanding of underlying argumentative structures contributes to a varying extent to the understanding of what a text as a whole means and of its point in the speech situation. This role of argumentative structures in text understanding suggests considering argumentation as a cognitively-based dimension of discourse, connected to human rationality.

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Keywords: Toulmin’s model of argument structure; argumentative discourse; argumentative rationality; discourse genre; implicature; presupposition; text understanding

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: December 31, 2018

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