Publication details [#64282]

Publication type
Article in book
Publication language
Place, Publisher
John Benjamins


Stances are taken in every facet of social life: we assess an entity, voice our attitude or perspective toward it, organize our subjectivity relative to other parties, and so on. We may say that every act implies stancetaking because even taking a neutral stance is a form of stancetaking (Jaffe 2009b). Stancetaking, widely grasped as “personal belief/attitude/evaluation” (Englebretson 2007b: 14), must be learnt with respect to its form and function in the social contexts' matrix. Various labels may be employed both within a single method and across disciplines to refer to the notion of “stance” as treated in this paper. Farther, distinct terms imply distinct concepts. Admitting the possible contradiction amid diverse paradigms about "stances"' conceptualization, however nice it may be, and honoring their own theoretical, methodological, and terminological specialties, this paper refers to varied pertinent studies for the present aim of formulating a wide picture of stance. Evaluation appears the most usual and general term for stance (Hunston & Thompson 2000; Labov & Waletzky 1967; Lemke 1998; Linde 1997; Macken-Horarik & Martin 2003). Other oft employed terms cover: subjectivity (Benveniste 1971; Langacker 1985; Lyons 1994; Scheibman 2002), evidentiality (Biber & Finegan 1989; Chafe 1986), assessment (C. Goodwin & M. H. Goodwin 1992; Heritage 2002; Pomerantz 1984), attitude (Biber & Finnegan 1989), appraisal (Macken-Horarik & Martin 2003; Martin 2000; Martin & White 2005), point of view or viewpoint (Chafe 1994; Dancygier & Sweetser 2012; DeLancey 1981; Scheibman 2002), and perspective or perspectivization (Chafe 1994; Ensink & Sauer 2003b; Fillmore 1977; Langacker 1987; MacWhinney 1977). In what follows, we will limn the research contributions to stance, and its tightly linked notions under distinct labels as proposed above, in an effort to explain the implications of these studies for the scholarship of pragmatics and other linked paradigms that explore language use and its meanings. For, as Englebretson asserts, the study of stance “represents an ongoing trend toward understanding the full social and pragmatic nature of language, as it is used by actual speakers or writers to act and interact in the real world” (2007b: 1).