Valentyna Ushchyna



This article studies the cognitive dynamics of stancetaking in the discourse situations associated with risky behaviour and perilous decisions. The objective of this work is to find out what linguistic and cognitive mechanisms are used by speech participants to conceptualise a discourse situation as a situation of risk, and analyse the ways the stances on the discussed problem (here, the risk of addicting to FACEBOOK, as well as other social networks) are taken by discourse partners under different circumstances and varying communicative conditions. The overall theoretical framework for the study synthesises socio-constructionist and socio-cognitive approaches to discourse analysis of risk and stance. In the post-modernist model, speakers use discourse to construct versions of the world which are variable, functional and consequential. Gilles Fauconnier’s mental spaces theory (1994, 1997) served a methodological tool for re-assembling the ways stances on risks are taken in discourse interaction. Risk-taking has always been an integral part of human behaviour. We are constantly forced to make decisions that lead us towards unknown or uncertain consequences that can be potentially hazardous or even life-threatening. The study shows that the field of risk-taking in everyday life is extremely wide, embracing a diverse range of spheres such as household activities, gambling, sports, finance, medicine, technology or politics. Because risk pervades such a substantial part of our lives, it can be claimed as one of the fundamental concepts of the human conceptual system, thus, cognitive mechanisms of risk conceptualisation, as well as the linguistic ways of discursive stancetaking on risk have been determined, analysed and described in the present research.


risk discourse situations; risk-taking; linguistic and cognitive mechanisms; stance; stancetaking; discourse interaction

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ISSN 2410-8286 (Online), ISSN 2409-3351 (Print)