Facoltà di scienze della comunicazione

Themen, Thesen und Argumente zur Position des Italienischen in der viersprachigen Schweiz

Christopher Guerra, Sabine ; Università della Svizzera italiana, Svizzera

In: Studies in communication sciences, 2008, vol. 8, no. 1, p. 67-91

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    From an empirical point of view, this article aims at analyzing the role of the Swiss press in a language and culture policy debate regarding the changing status of Italian in quadrilingual Switzerland that took place at the beginning of 2005 following the discontinuation of two Italian chairs at Swiss universities. The issue is practically ignored in French- and German-speaking Switzerland, whereas Italian-language newspapers act as a platform for opinion leaders. The theoretical aim is to apply the framework of pragma-dialectics (van Eemeren & Grootendorst 1984, 1992, 2004) to a language and culture policy debate. The first step is an analysis of the confrontation stage of the debate in order to gain an overview of the issues and standpoints. In a second step, attention is focused on the argumentation stage, where the application of a locus analysis to single arguments of the debate allows the argument-generating mechanism to emerge. This mechanism essentially consists of two components: the topical component, which provides the argument with inferential validity, and the endoxical component, which contributes persuasive power to the argument by embedding it in the common ground shared by the arguer and the decision-maker. Moreover, the locus-analysis provides an efficient instrument for evaluating arguments by means of critical questions.