Sincronía Winter 2006

Comparative Studies in Dialogue Patterns as Cross-Cultural Linguistic Entities: An Intercultural Comparative Analysis of the Genre Dialogue


Fee-Alexandra Haase

This article will enquire into the logical and rhetorical implications of philosophical dialogues and others types of dialogues we can classify by specific genres. It will further enquire into the semiotics and meanings within different cultures. Every text is conditioned and inscribes itself within a given discourse. Therefore, we use the term discourse analysis. Discourse analysis does not provide absolute answers to a specific problem within a discourse, but enables us to understand the conditions behind a specific ‘discourse’ allowing us to view the discourse from a distant point of view. Our discourse form is the genre dialogue, which is an intertextual phenomenon, since it can be found in different types of texts derived from oral language. Our paper’s argument is based on a historical overview of different examples of the genre dialogue worldwide. Next to the cross-cultural use of the dialogue we find –especially in new media – a preference for cross-medial use of dialogue techniques within media used as one feature of communication among others.

The term ‘dialogue’ expresses basically a reciprocal conversation between two or more persons. Jenny Gustafson, Vivien Hodgson and Sue Tickner stated: “When analysing networked learning environments, researchers commonly try to explain the variation in activity, collaboration and learning outcomes by focusing on characteristics of the environment that primarily concern design and functionality. We want to draw attention to other aspects that affect networked learning, that concern how participants engage in dialogue and what consequences notions of dialogue may have on collaboration and learning.1“ Modern linguistic theories are already aware of inter-textual phenomena. The dialogue has received special attention from hermeneuticians like Gadamer and language philosophers in the wake of Wittgenstein. With the belated reception of the Russian scholar Mikhail Bakhtin by the West, dialogism has become the focus of critical attention among literary critics, psychologists and anthropologists since the 1970s.2 Bart Keunen stated that “it becomes clear that Bakhtin intends to conceive literature as a dialogue between (mutually interacting) texts, on the one hand, and the prior knowledge of readers and writers, on the other”.3 According to Katica Kulavkova intertextuality is a “literary and semiotic phenomenon which has undergone changes in form and function in its history, the fact that attitudes and consciousness of it have varied from epoch to epoch, from poetics to poetics, the fact that there are several different terms which refer to the phenomenon of intertextuality and finally the fact that there is not only terminological but also methodological variety.”4

The literary dialogue itself is a phenomenon of intertextuality between the media of orality and literality, since it is reported or imitated in writing. A dialogue labels a form of literature invented by the Greeks for many purposes and later using the dialogue as independent literary form imitation speech situations. For the noun ‘dialogue’ in recent years the verb ‘participate in a dialogue’ with the meaning ‘to engage in an informal exchange of views’ with reference to communication between parties in institutional or political contexts has been derived.5

Dialogue Classification by Characteristics of Discoures

The term dialogue derives from the Greek dialogus with the meanings ‘conversation’ and ‘debate’. When used in this context, ‘dialogue’ refers to a formal conversation presented in writing, in which participation persons explore a philosophical question through conversation. The persons represent different philosophical positions. E.g., the letter is a sub-type of the dialogue, since it is addressed to a certain person in direct speech and can be answered the same way. So it becomes a dialogue in written form. A letter is a written document addressed to a specific person or several persons. Until the invention of the telephone letters were the primary means of long-distance communication. Letter writing experienced a renaissance through the development of electronic mail systems as a sub-form of the letter. We can differentiate between the following characteristics of discourses:

The dialogue as informative discourse

The dialogue as didactic literary discourse

The dialogue as entertaining narrative literary discourse

The dialogue as the communicative discourse

The dialogue as conversational discourse

The dialogue as element in a narrative discourse

Characteristics of discourses vary depending on the type of dialogue, its literary genre, and function.

Applied Types of Dialogues and the Dialogue as a Literary Genre

Elisabeth Losh mentioned in The dialogue as a Genre that a dialogue as a genre must be considered as a genre with multiple sub-genres.6 In terms of world literature and its comparative elements we can see that the dialogue has different functions. In the field of literature the dialogue as a genre is generally used as a descriptive term, which helps to categorize different kinds of texts. Examining the conventions of different literary dialogues helps a reader to understand how different rhetorical techniques and forms, which transmit the meaning of the text and the understanding of it. We will look at this phenomenon comparing classical Eastern and Western cultures. We can classify the following types of dialogues according to their formal characteristics and field of application:

Descriptive / narrative dialogue type:

This dialogue type tells a story and may develop a story about an event.

Analytical / expository: This type of dialogue requires like an essay that the writer explain, analyze a concept, an idea, a problem, or a statement on a general topic, and show why the topic is intellectually significant to an audience.

Argumentative / persuasive dialogue type:

This dialogue type argues for or against a position on a specific issue with the intent of persuading or convincing the audience to accept the point of view of the writer/speaker.

Evaluative / critical dialogue type:

This dialogue type assesses the value of an issue critically and assigns it a rating based on specified, detailed criteria.

Conversational dialogue type:

The conversational speech is mainly ad-hoc conversation of daily life within different forms.

Literary dialogue type:

The literary dialogue type is part of the drama, but depending upon the context, it can become part of other literary genres. It is part of an art.7

Academic dialogue type:

A thesis (Greek, position) is a single main idea/dominant impression or generalization and is a part of an academic discussion.

Any well-written dialogue should fulfills the following general criteria: The dialogue should address the topic and completes required tasks. It should focus only on issues directly relevant to the assignment. The dialogue supports its generalizations using specific examples and details and uses correct form. The dialogue should express its ideas clearly and coherently using an appropriate and consistent style, and demonstrates conventional grammar, diction, usage, sentence structure, mechanics, punctuation, and spelling. The inter-action between the participants of a dialogue is the most important part of a dialogue.8

Intercultural Comparative Issues on Dialogues

– Philosophical and Didactical Dialogues in the East and West

By comparing how people in different cultures use language, discourse analysis is interested to make a contribution to improving cross-cultural understanding. Eastern literature, e.g. Confucianistic and Buddhist literature use dialogues for the purpose of teaching. Han-liang Chang stated in Logic and Rhetoric in Philosophical Dialogue and Cultural Hermeneutics that although philosophical dialogue is generally regarded as a ‘non-literary’ genre. The dialogue is capable of displaying some fundamental features of language in social use. As approach, which can be identified, respectively from the perspectives of pragmatics, logic, and rhetoric, a genre called ‘host and guest queries and answers’ (zhu ke wen nan ????) can be found in Chinese philosophical discourse. Both the Great Debate over name and substance in the Warring States Period and the later Buddhist Gongan are often represented in dialogic form. Zhuangzi and Gongsun Longzi are prominent examples.9

Buddhism uses dialogues for teaching. The Lotus Sutra is written in dialogue form between preceptor and students:

The preceptor strikes the wooden signal-board and asks:
Do you hear the sound?

We hear.

What is this "hearing" like?

Hearing is motionless.

What is the transcendence of thoughts?

The transcendence of thoughts is motionless.

This motionlessness is to develop the expedient means of sagacity

our of meditation. This is to open the gate of sagacity.

Hearing is sagacity. This expedient means can not only

develop sagacity, but also make one's meditation correct.10

In the Surangama Sutra is described how Gautama Buddha was residing at a large meeting hall set in the ancient forests of India at a place called Sravasti where, with a great congregation of people in attendance, he was addressed by, his main disciple Ananda with the words ‘beholds the Buddha’. According to Radha Banerjee Lalitvistra (Sanskrit) is a Sanskrit Buddhist text of great importance. Originally written by the Sarvastivada School of the Hinayana sect the name Lalitavistara means the detailed narrative of the sports or 'lila' of Gautama Buddha indicating his divinity. Lalitavistara describes the events of Gautama Buddha's life from his descent from the Tushita Heaven up to his attainment of knowledge and preaching of the first sermon. The Lalitavistara is not a unified text nor is it a composition of one author.11 The Anguttara Nikaya is the fourth division of the Sutta Pitaka. The Anguttara Nikaya consists of sutras arranged in eleven sections (nipatas) according to numerical content.

The Analects (Chinese: Lun Yu) contain twenty books compiled by disciples of Confucius. There are various theories regarding the compilation of texts of The Analects assembled over a period of time. The core of the book is attributed to the second-generation disciples. These Analects with the other Four Books called the classic canon are part of the foundational texts of Confucianism. The title is derived simply from the fact that the work is composed primarily of discussions that Confucius had with his disciples on various topics. Each book consists of an average of about twenty-five chapters. Each chapter relates a different story, belief, or saying of Confucius or his disciples. Current Chinese philosophy primarily revolves around one of three modes of Confucianism, Taoism, or Neo-Confucianism.

In Chinese the terms shisen for ´line of vision´ and sjikako for ´vision, sense of sight´ are known. In Chinese the terms shi´ for ´to inspect´ and shiyoku for ´sight´and shikai for ´field of vision´ and shisatsu for inspection come from the same root. Riso means ´ideal´, riron and gakusetsu are ´theory´ and meian ´bright idea´. Teikaen is ´definite view´. Ji has the meanings ´chararacter´, ´symbol´, and ´letter´. Goki is ´way of speaking´, wahei a ´topic of conversation´ and sho is ´to persuade´. In the She King artful speaking is described:

Alas that (right words) cannot be spoken,

Which come not from the tongue (only)!

The speakers of them are sure to suffer.

Well is it for the words that can be spoken!

The artful speech flows like a stream,

And the speakers dwell at ease in prosperity.12

Communicative dialogue and rhetoric run in other areas than the Western one in Asia. The word ‘rhetoric’ doesn't have a real counterpart in Chinese. There is no tradition of rhetorical theory or genre of dialogue. The School of Ming and a host of other thinkers and schools developed competing views and theories of speech. The ancient Chinese developed views and perspectives on speech that reflect the unique and peculiar characteristics of that culture at that time.

Many of the beliefs in the philosophy of Confucianism can be found in the Analects. Several of these beliefs will be expanded upon since they are fundamental concepts in the majority of the sayings and discussions. ‘Dialogue’ (??) has in Chinese the meanings ‘a conversation between two persons’, ‘the lines spoken by characters in drama or fiction’, and ‘a literary composition in the form of a conversation between two people’. The Analects (??) of Confucius is thought to be a composition of the late Spring and Autumn Period. It is the most influential text in East Asian intellectual history, collecting short discussions between Confucius and his disciples. It is within this work that most of the basic framework regarding Confucian values such as ‘humaneness’ (?), ‘righteousness’ (?), ‘filial piety’ (?), and ‘propriety’ (?) is a main theme.

The book opens on a sentence beginning with the word 'learn', a constant term used in the Analects. In the opening verse the master asked if to learn and at due times to repeat what one has learned is not after all a pleasure. The master continious saying that friends should come to one from far is a delightful. Finally he asked if to remain unsoured even though one's merits are unrecognized by others is not expected of a gentleman. We will look now at the different ways of translation of this part of the dialogue used by different translators for these three rhetorical questions. The following terms are covered in greater detail: humanity, propriety, filial piety, righteousness, rectification of names, reciprocity, and governing by virtue. For each concept there are specific examples cited from the Analects. The translation of the Analects of Confucius by Charles Muller gives the following translation:


Isn't it a pleasure to study and practice what you have learned? Isn't it also great when friends visit from distant places? If people do not recognize me and it doesn't bother me, am I not a Superior Man?13

Analects by Confucius in the translation of James Legge present this passage as follows:


The Master "Is it not pleasant to learn with a constant perseverance and application? "Is it not delightful to have friends coming from distant quarters? "Is he not a man of complete virtue, who feels no discomposure though men may take no note of him?"14

In the translation of JohnWorldPeace the opening sentence of the Analects is this way translated:


The teacher said, "To learn something and then to utilize it gives one a harmonious sense of attainment. To have friends come from far away to visit is uplifting. To be indifferent to recognition by others of one's talents is a keystone to a life of peace and harmony."15

In the first translation pleasure is used, while in the secnd translation perseverance and application is used, and the third translation used the expression a harmonious sense of attainment. There are high differences between the three translations, since the equivalent term of a Chinese character is not always present. This example of the Analects demonstrates how the dialogue contents depends on the chosen translation of the Chinese terms.

Western Literature and Dialogue

The etymological origins of the word do not necessarily convey the way in which people have come to use the word. When reported or imitated in writing, ‘dialogue’ labels a form of literature invented by the Greeks for purposes of rhetorical entertainment and instruction, and scarcely modified since the days of its invention. A literary dialogue comprises a little drama without a theatre, and with scarcely any change of scene. The dialogue expresses and notes down the undulations of human thought so spontaneously that it almost escapes analysis. All that any literature records of the alleged actual words spoken by living or imaginary people appears dialogic. One branch of letters, the drama, depends upon dialogue almost exclusively.16

In later literary forms the conversation between characters in a drama or narrative this intertextual phenomenon is still visible and found access to all kinds of genres being implemented into them. Although philosophical dialogue is generally regarded as a ‘non-literary’ genre, it is a literary form. The etymology of the word dialogue (dia-logos) suggests that when ‘logos’ (word) is not yet available, when nobody can monopolise logos, it has to be carried on through (dia) all the speakers involved. The dialogue is a kind of discourse or communicative act. A Western discourse is logically structured. A coherent discourse has a beginning, middle for a close analysis of material, and an end as the conclusion. A genre is a particular type of literature, a literary form. The broadest categories of genre remain the classical divisions defined by Aristotle as epic or narrative. In the 2nd century A.D. Lucian of Samosata achieved a brilliant success with his ironic dialogues Of the Gods, Of the Dead, Of Love and Of the Courtesans.

Literary historians commonly suppose that Plato (427B.C.-347B.C.) introduced the systematic use of dialogue as an independent literary form. The Platonic dialogue had its foundations in the mime, which the Sicilian poets, Sophron and Epicharmus had cultivated half a century earlier. The works of these writers, which Plato imitated, have not survived, but scholars imagine them as little plays with only one performer called mime. The Mimes of Herodas give us some idea of this genre. Publius Syrus’ works for the mimes were edited as Sententiae. Plato further simplified the form, and reduced it to pure argumentative conversation, but enlargerd the number of participation persons. All his philosophical writings, except the Apology, use this form. Plato lifted the genre dialogue to its highest level. In all following four cases we see now the opening of the Platonic dialogue is informal and depending on a certain situation. In the opening of the dialogue of Gorgias is written, that the guests arrived in time to the feast:

[447a] Callicles

To join in a fight or a fray, as the saying is, Socrates, you have chosen your time well enough.


Do you mean, according to the proverb, we have come too late for a feast?


Yes, a most elegant feast; for Gorgias gave us a fine and varied display but a moment ago.


But indeed, Callicles, it is Chaerephon here who must take the blame for this;17

In the opening dialogue of the Statesman is said by Sokrates, that he indebts Theodorus for the acquaintance with Theaetetus and the Stranger:



Really I am greatly indebted to you, Theodorus, for my acquaintance with Theaetetus and with the Stranger, too.


Presently, Socrates, you will be three times as much indebted, when they have worked out the statesman and the philosopher for you.


Indeed! My dear Theodorus, can I believe my ears? Were those really the words of the great calculator and geometrician?18

In the opening dialogue of the Timaeus is asked, who the forth guests will be:



One, two, three,--but where, my dear Timaeus, is the fourth of our guests of yesterday, our hosts of today?


Some sickness has befallen him, Socrates; for he would never have stayed away from our gathering of his own free will.


Then the task of filling the place of the absent one falls upon you and our friends here, does it not?


Undoubtedly, and we shall do our best not to come short;

This fourth guest cannot be identified. Some have supposed that Plato himself is intended.19

In the opening of the dialogue Theaetet Eucleides and Terpsion talk about their alst meeting:



Just in from the country, Terpsion, or did you come some time ago?


Quite a while ago; and I was looking for you in the market-place and wondering that I could not find you.


Well, you see, I was not in the city.


Where then?


As I was going down to the harbor I met Theaetetus being carried to Athens from the camp at Corinth.


Alive or dead?20

In the opening dialogue of the Sophist is another guest, the stranger from Elea, announced:

[216a] Theodorus

According to our yesterday's agreement, Socrates, we have come ourselves, as we were bound to do, and we bring also this man with us; he is a stranger from Elea, one of the followers of Parmenides and Zeno, and a real philosopher.


Are you not unwittingly bringing, as Homer says, some god, and no mere stranger, Theodorus?

He says There is one comment on or cross reference to this page.21

Lucian’s (A.D. 120-200) Dialogues of the Dead are intended to show the emptiness of all that seems most precious to mankind. In Arabic culture Sheherazade’s Tales is an example for a narrative based upon a dialogue pattern.22 In Greece the term dialogue expressed reciprocal conversation between two or more persons and was established in many different forms of literature.23 Greek philosophers divided literary works into the lyric, epic, and dramatic forms of genres. The dialogue was used in drama or for philosophical works. The Greek plays contain special types of dialogues. In the typical structure of a Greek play the agon (contest) has two speakers debating a topic. In the parabasis after the other characters have left the stage, the chorus members remove their masks and step out of character to address the audience. First the chorus leader chants in anapest verses about some important issue. Next the chorus sings. The tragedy has a characteristic structure in which scenes of dialogue alternate with choral songs. Most tragedies begin with an opening scene of expository dialogue or monologue called a prologue.24 In the narratives of the modern times the dialogue is a central element of the literary form and also contents. One value of the dialogue is its authenticity in terms of the encounter of two or more persons. In modern media dialogue-based systems are often evaluated in terms of standard, objective usability metrics, such as task-completion time and number of user actions. It can be fictive inn dramatic form or authentic.

Dialogues of ideas have a long history in philosophy and theology. Moses and God in dialogue is described in Exodus (32-34) of the Bible. Nonfiction prose works, written in standard paragraphs, can take many forms such as speeches, sermons, or lectures, journals or personal narratives, letters and legal documents and works of science and history. The term ‘nonfiction’ indicates that the work is based on or addresses real events, and is not an imaginary construction. A sermon is a speech delivered by a member of the clergy on a moral or religious issue, with the intention of persuading, instructing, or exhorting listeners. Sermons are often organized around a text of Biblical scripture. They use biblical references as the basis of claims and arguments.25 The Dialogus inter philosophum, iudaeum et christianum was published by Pierre Abailard. The Dialogue Concerning the Exchequer is one of the few actual treatises of the Middle Ages. The Owl and the Nightingale was written ca. 1210 and continues with the tradition of the animal fable. It is a most learned essay concerning all that went on at the bi-yearly meetings of the exchequer. Wittgenstein uses the discourse in the Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus. The written dialogue is an ancient form that can be defined as an argument or controversy presented by way of an artfully constructed conversation. In the western tradition, Plato, Hume, Berkeley and Diderot have all used the dialogue form. Satirical dialogues have a long and honourable history dating back to Lucian. The gentle satire of Thomas Love Peacock in the early 19th century is a more recent example of the genre. David Hume's Dialogues on natural religion are praised by critics partly because it is not certain which side of the argument Hume agreed with. In William of Ockham’s Dialogus is written:


Discipulus Quae recitasti circa quaesita ad praesens mihi sufficiunt, et ideo ad alia que magis habeo cordi festino. Volo enim de haeresibus multa inquirere, sed quia nonnunquam cognitio unius contrariorum ad cognitionem alterius conferre dignoscitur, quaero primo quae veritates sunt catholicae censendae.Student What you have recited about the things I asked about is enough for me at the moment, and so I hasten on to other matters that I have more at heart. For I want to ask many things about heresies; but because sometimes knowledge of one of [two] contraries is known to provide knowledge of the other, I want to know first which truths should be considered catholic.

Which truths are catholic truths?

Magister Quaestio tua unum videtur supponere et aliud quaerere. Videtur enim supponere quod non omnes veritates sunt catholicae iudicandae, quod beatus Augustinus in Encheridion expresse determinat. Quaerit autem quae sunt illae veritates quae catholicae sunt censendae.Master Your question seems to suppose one thing and to seek to know another. For it seems to suppose that not all truths should be adjudged catholic, which blessed Augustine expressly lays down in his Enchiridion. It seeks to know, however, which are those truths that should be considered catholic. Discipulus Cum beato Augustino illud quod supponit questio firmiter teneamus, et circa quaesitum sententiam unam vel plures enarra.Student Let us, with blessed Augustine, firmly hold what the question supposes, and tell me one opinion, or more, about what I seek to know.26

Drama is the literary genre of works intended for the theater drama without a theatre. The Historia vnd Geschicht Doctor Johannis Faustj contains the Disputation in literary form:

Volgt des Faustj Disputation. mit dem Gaist gehalten

Die Ander Disputation mit dem Geist. So Mephostophiles genannt Wirdt

Das Dritte Colloquium Doctor Faustj
mit dem Gaist vnd seiner gethonen Promission

Ein Disputation von der Hell vnd jrer SPelunckñ

Ein Disputation. von dem Regiment der Teuffel vnnd jrem Principal

Ein Disputation. jnn was gestalt die Verstossnen Engel gewesen

Ein Disputation von Gewaldt des Teuffels

Ein Disputatio von der Hell Gehenna
genannt wie Sie erschaffen vnnd gestaltet auch von der Pein darJnnen

Ein Disputatio. oder Frag von der Kunst Astronomia oder Astrologia

Ein Disputatio vnd falsche antwort dess Geists Doctor Fausto gethon

Desiderius Erasmus’ Dialogus Ciceronianus provides an important contribution to a Renaissance scholarly debate on the adoption and imitation of classical Latin style. The Dialogus written by Erasmus primarily targets the Ciceronians, a group of mainly French and Italian humanists who defended Cicero’s writings as the ideal models for imitation. While Erasmus wrote his dialogue with the Ciceronians in mind, he seemed particularly interested in addressing the work of a single Ciceronian, Christophe de Longueil (1488-1522). Longueil studied in France before moving to Italy where he was trained by two of the most accomplished of Ciceronian scholars, Pietro Bembo (1470-1547) and Jacopo Sadoleto (1477-1547).27 A dialogue between a philosopher and a student concerning the common laws of England was written by Thomas Hobbes. Dialogus De Templo Salomonis, Das ist: Ein Geistliches Gespräch Von Der Heiligung Und deroselben dreyen Stuffen/ Der Anfangenden/ Wachsenden und Geübten Heiligen nebst andern dahin-gehörigen und zum Wachsthum im Christenthum nützlichen Sachen/ Genommen Aus dem Fürbilde des Tempels Salomo/ und dessen dreyen Vorhöffen/ wodurch man pflag in das Heiligthum zu gehen/ und nach Anleitung der heiligen Schrifft kürtzlich beschrieben was published by Balthasar Koepke in Neu Ruppin in 1695.

In Spanish literature, the Dialogues of Valdés (1528) and those on Painting (1633) by Vincenzo Carducci are celebrated. Italian writers of collections of dialogues, on the model of Plato, include Torquato Tasso (1586), Galileo (1632), Galiani (1770), and Leopardi (1825) next to other authors. La Celestina is a Spanish dialogue novel, generally considered the first masterpiece of Spanish prose and the greatest and most influential work of the early Renaissance in Spain. Fernando de Rojas wrote this extended prose drama in dialogue that marked an important stage in the development of prose fiction in Spain and in Europe. Mary Wollstonecraft, early feminist writer and notable for her ideas on the part of education in woman's oppression, was born in 1759. On Poetry, and Our Relish for the Beauties of Nature was published in 1797. French writers of eminence borrowed the title of Lucian’s most famous collection: both Fontenelle (1683) and Fénelon (1712) prepared Dialogues des morts (Dialogures of the Dead). In English non-dramatic literature the dialogue did not see extensive use until Berkeley employed it, in 1713, for his Platonic treatise Three Dialogues between Hylas and Philonous. Landor’s Imaginary Conversations (1821 - 1828) formed the most famous English example of dialogue in the 19th century, although the dialogues of Sir Arthur Helps also claim attention. In Germany, Wieland adopted this form for several important satirical works published between 1780 and 1799.

In English non-dramatic literature the dialogue did not see extensive use until Berkeley employed it, in 1713, for his Platonic treatise, Three Dialogues between Hylas and Philonous. Landor’s Imaginary Conversations (1821 - 1828) formed the most famous English example of dialogue in the 19th century, although the dialogues of Sir Arthur Helps also claim attention. In Germany Christoph Martin Wieland adopted this form for several important satirical works published between 1780 and 1799 chosing the ancient dialogue as framework. Jean Jacques Rousseau wrote On the Origin of Inequality as a discourse on a subject proposed by the Academy of Dijon. This discourse as a genre has the stylistic form of an essay. Rousseau 1754 in the first part says:

It is of man that I have to speak; and the question I am investigating shows me that it is to men that I must address myself: for questions of this sort are not asked by those who are afraid to honour truth. I shall then confidently uphold the cause of humanity before the wise men who invite me to do so, and shall not be dissatisfied if I acquit myself in a manner worthy of my subject and of my judges.28

In the Discourse on the Method of Rightly Conducting the Reason, and Seeking Truth in the Sciences Rene Descartes writes in chapter 2 of his discourse the following beginnings:

1 I was then in Germany, attracted thither by the wars in that country,

which have not yet been brought to a termination;

2 and as I was returning to the army from the coronation
of the emperor…

3 Of these one of the very first that occurred to me …

4 Thus it is observable that the buildings …

5 Thus also, those ancient cities which, from being at first only …

6 So that although the several buildings of the former
may often equal …

7 And if we consider that nevertheless there have been …

The Dialogue: Intercultural and Inter-textual

As more and more organizational work becomes a matter of symbol manipulation and information exchange, the dialogues through which information is represented for particular purposes are the managing system of organizational work. The purpose of a dialogue is not rooted in a single individual's motive for communicating. A dialogue binds the shared purpose to characteristic aspects of substance and form. Substance includes the topics, themes, and arguments, along with typical discourse structures, used to express the communicative purpose. The form of adialogue has the elements structural features, communication medium, and language.29

Martin Buber places dialogue in a central position in his philosophy. Buber sees dialogue as an effective means of on-going communication rather than as a purposive attempt to reach some conclusion or to express some viewpoints. Cross-cultural effects of literature also exist. In the Philippines religion and institutions that represented European civilization enriched the languages in the lowlands, introduced theater, which we would come to know as komedya, the sinakulo, the sarswela, the playlets and the drama.30 Intertextuality is a literary theoretical term with seemingly new paradigmatic poststructuralist and semiotic features. The dialogue per se is an inter-textual phenomenon in literature.

When changes to established dialogues are repeatedly enacted and become widely adopted within the community, new or modified dialogues may emerge. Dialogue analysis requires qualitative textual analysis of messages to understand the situations within which certain dialogues are invoked and their purpose, substance, and form. This textual analysis also provided the basis for devising a coding scheme and for interpreting the patterns and trends identified. Based on the historical evolution and contemporary usage of these traditional dialogues, we defined the typical form of each in terms of our categories.31 We can define dialogue as a typical class of texts with characteristics of oral speech. Any genre can be defined as an historically established, institutionalized and productive pattern for the logical ordering and the linguistic formulation of a subject-specific matter or state of affairs. A dialogue is subject to linguistic norms relating to a particular national language. All summarizing texts are derived text genres and depend on a previously existing primary, original text. Summarizing texts are also relevant in the light of intertextuality. Original genres stand for independent self-contained texts, which are an original contribution to a specific literary class. Derived text genres are based on an underlying primary text and depend on its subject matter, and its conceptual and terminological system, e.g. a dialogue within a novel placed inside the narrative.

Rhetorical Discourse and Discourse as Communication

Persuasion is a feature of rhetorical discourse. Persuasion reaches the recipient via a large number of genres and their intricate interplay. Rhetoric developed mainly as a theory of the kinds of discourse and the functions of the speaker in making discourse. The kinds of discourse were traditionally identified as forensic, deliberative, and epideictic or demonstrative. Forensic discourse was conceived as courtroom speaking. The deliberative discourse was conceived as giving political advice in a legislature or some other advisory venue to represent the two sides on every political issue. The theory of Hermogenes in his On Types of Style gives evidence of the merits of traditional style theory.

Definitions of words as given in existing dictionaries represent only one of the many ways one can talk about words. The analyses of any discourse must take into account the three-ways relation between the sender, the message, and the receiver. In a dialogue certain inherent characteristics in the indexical feature of words and utterances and its relation to the syntactic organization of linguistic expressions exist. Meaning derives from the indexical feature of linguistic expressions rather than from their absolute denotation. Discussions about style and the quality of discourse must take into account the three-way relation between writer, composition, and reader. Style as the ability to transform sentences has the purpose of getting the listener to respond in the intended functional way. The following style types of the genre dialogue we can find:

Inquiry and answer of a question

Generalization and specification of a topic

Analytic elaboration and synthetic summarization

A spoken dialogue is the use of speech for informal exchange of views or ideas or information etc. conversation between two or more persons. Rhetoric is the study of the technique and rules for using language effectively. Dialogue analysis requires qualitative textual analysis of messages to understand the situations within which certain dialogues are invoked and their shared purpose, substance, and form. This textual analysis also provided the basis for devising a coding scheme and for interpreting the patterns and trends identified. Because dialogues are often modified to suit a group's task or a particular medium, we have some dialogue variations in the group, particularly as most of the participants had been using electronic mail before the project began. We used inductive techniques to identify and define such dialogue variants.

In a dialogue analysis we examine both the presence of various genres in the archive and the change in their use over time. Dialogue analysis can comprehend such parts as sounds (phonetics and phonology), parts of words (morphology), meaning (semantics), and the order of words in sentences (syntax). Conversation is an enterprise in which one person speaks, and another listens. Frohmann introduced discourse analysis as applied to the field of Library Science and analyzes the current debate between proponents of various research methods. Frohmann deconstructs the claims and arguments made by each and provides his own interpretation of the ‘yearning for natural-scientific theory’ in our field. Frohmann perceives this yearning as dominating the discourse of research in Library Science and expands his critique to the dominance the modern capitalist discourse in our society. In this sense, Frohmann uses Michel Foucault's theory and combines its method with a social critique reminiscent of Fredric Jameson.32

A structuralist approach to media studies has the advantage of opening up many new areas for analysis and criticism. The relations of participants in producing texts are not always equal: there will be a range from complete solidarity to complete inequality. Meanings come about through interaction between readers and receivers and linguistic features come about as a result of social processes, which are never arbitrary. The institutional position of the speaker; his ‘prior ethos’, the distribution of roles inherent in the selected genre and the stereotypes attached to these roles, and the verbal strategies through which the speaker builds an image of self in his discourse must be taken in account are parts of rhetorical persuasion.33 Dialogues cannot be treated as self-contained in research on communicative practices. Apart from interaction as such, ideology, power and history are all central to the way diversity works; interaction can serve either to accentuate or attenuate the effects of diversity.

Discourses – Structures and Elements

Rhetorical elements of discourses are figures of speech, which are found in the corpus. While ‘genres’ are definitions of any text corpus in terms of its form, the ‘discourse’ itself is a term with multiple definitions and the practical equivalent to a discourse as an entity is not definied at all. Therefore, we will look at several examples of discourses to see their structure and elements. In semantics, discourses are linguistic units composed of several sentences - in other words, conversations, arguments or speeches. Discourse analysis is the study of language used by members of a speech community. It looks at both language form and language function and includes the study of both spoken interaction and written texts. It identifies linguistic features that characterize different genres as well as social and cultural factors that aid in our interpretation and understanding of different texts and types of talk. An analysis of written texts might include a study of topic development and cohesion across the sentences, while an analysis of spoken language might focus on these aspects plus turn-taking practices, opening and closing sequences of social encounters, or narrative structure. Discourse analysis takes different theoretical perspectives and analytic approaches (among others):

Speech act theory

Interactional sociolinguistics

Ethnography of communication


Conversation analysis

Variation analysis

Although each approach emphasizes different aspects of language use, they all view language as social interaction. Discourse analysis is sometimes defined as the analysis of language beyond the sentence level. It includes the study of smaller bits of language such as sounds (phonetics and phonology), parts of words (morphology), meaning (semantics), and the order of words in sentences (syntax). These words can function as discourse markers.

Basic genres of discourse are:






A text, whether written or oral, has the option of multiple meanings. The text of a dialogue gives us access to phonetic, semiotic and pragmatic interpretations in accordance with the contextual knowledge, which is relative.34 The linguistic and semantic structures, which make up different languages, as symbols are the means by which humans produce meaning.

Intercultural Sensitivity of Cross-Cultural Dialogues

We saw that the general dialogue types as similar in different cultures. Translation can affect the understandability of a dialogue. Understanding between cultures is a result of a growing interest in translation theory, applied linguistics and language teaching. The study of stylistic variation and registers is based on the observation that language variation depends not only on the social and geographic origin, position and trajectories of the speakers. Dialogue can be seen as a staged, goal-oriented social process realized through register: a sequentially-organized pattern of register patterns. One underlying motivation has been that in a given culture, not all combinations of field, tenor and made variables occur.

Both Eastern and Western philosophic dialogues we discussed share this aim. The term speech event for a dialogue is restricted to aspects of activities, which are directly governed by rules or norms for the use of speech. Linguistic and cultural boundaries do not naturally exist. They are communicatively and socially constructed.35 Though critical thinking about and analysis of situations/texts is as ancient as mankind or philosophy itself, and no method or theory as such, discourse analysis is generally perceived as the product of the postmodern period. By comparing how people in different cultures use language, discourse analysts hope to make a contribution to improving cross-cultural understanding. Eastern literature, e.g. Confucius and Buddhist literature use dialogues for teaching. Han-liang Chang stated in Logic and Rhetoric in Philosophical Dialogue and Cultural Hermeneutics that although philosophical dialogue is generally regarded as a ‘non-literary’ genre. It is capable of displaying some fundamental features of language in social use. Three main approaches can be identified, respectively from the perspectives of pragmatics, logic, and rhetoric. A genre called ‘host and guest queries and answers’ (zhu ke wen nan ????) can be found in Chinese philosophical discourse. In later literary forms the conversation between characters in a drama or narrative this intertextual phenomenon is still visible and found access to all kinds of genres being implemented into them. Although philosophical dialogue is generally regarded as a ‘non-literary’ genre, it is a literary form. A genre is a particular type of literature, a literary form. The broadest categories of genre remain the classical divisions defined by Aristotle as epic or narrative..


Cultural dialogue takes many different forms. It can exist as a triple process. Cultural dialogue institutions are often defined by their composition. Inter-cultural dialogue can take a variety of forms, ranging from the simple act of exchanging information to the more developed forms of concentration. While the applications of style-concepts since antiquity brought a long tradition of stylebooks and scholarly literature, the basics of style and its categories did not change. The terms ‘intercultural’ and ‘cross-cultural’ are used interchangeably to refer to situations where communicating entities, sender and receiver, share different cultural backgrounds. Style is in the linguistic sense the coherent and characteristic expression and organizational way of an orally transmitted or written linguistic entity. Both an aesthetical and organization goal is achieved in order to reach persuasion. Next to this definition also a broader definition can be given as an individual artist’s quality of genuine creation (individual style). Other factors of conditions regarding nationality (national style), its local area or origin, or the ´taste of the time´ (style of an era) are also influential for different style concepts. The style thus is the specific summary of arrangements, in which a discourse or dialoge is composed.

1 Cf.: Gustafson, J., Hodgson, V. and Tickner, S. Identity Construction and Dialogue Genres. How Notions of Dialogue May Influence Social Presence in Networked Learning Environments. July 20, 2005.


2 Vásquez, Mark G.. Authority and reform. Religious and educational discourses in nineteenth-century New England literature. 1st ed. Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 2003, pp. 76ff.

3Keunen, Bart: Bakhtin, Genre Formation, and the Cognitive Turn: Chronotopes as Memory Schemata.
CLCWeb: Comparative Literature and Culture: A WWWeb Journal ISSN 1481-4374.

CLCWeb Library of Research and Information.CLCWeb Contents 2.2 (June 2000). Dec. 12, 2005.


4 Kulavkova, K. Theory: Intertextual Options and Modifications. Dec. 12, 2005.


5 Cf.: Cossutta, Frederic. Dialogic Characteristics of Philosophical Discourse: The Case of Plato's Dialogues. Philosophy and Rhetoric. Vol. 36, N. 1, 2003, pp. 48-76.

6 Losh, E. The dialogue as a Genre. Sept. 12, 2005.


7 Cf.: Bachman, L. F. Fundamental considerations in language testing. Oxford: Oxford University Press 1990, pp. 57ff.

8 Heinen, H. Genres in medieval German literature. Göppingen: Kümmerle 1986, p. 78

9 Cf.: Chang, H-L. Logic and Rhetoric in Philosophical Dialogue and Cultural Hermeneutics. August 25, 2004, p. 2. Aug. 15, 2004.


10 Cited following McRae, J. R. The Antecedents of Encounter Dialogue in Chinese Ch'an Buddhism. Aug. 11, 2005.


11 Banerjee, R. Lalitavistara. Oct. 5, 2004.


12 Anonymus. She King. Book of Odes. Aug. 21, 2005.


13 Confucius. Analects. Aug. 23, 2005.


14 Confucius. Analects. Aug. 23. 2005.


15 Confucius. Analects. Aug. 23, 2005.


16 Görög-Karady, V. Genres, forms, meanings: Essays in African oral literature. Paris: Maison des Sciences de l'Homme, 1983, pp. 67ff.

17 Platon. Gorgias. Aug. 25, 2005.


18 Platon. Statesman. Aug. 25, 2005.

<Http:// /cgi-bin/ptext?lookup=Plat.+Stat.+ 257a >

19 Platon. Timaeus. Aug. 25, 2005.

<Http:// /cgi-bin/ptext?lookup=Plat.+Tim.+ 17a>

20 Platon. Theaetaet. Aug. 25, 2005.


21 Platon. Sophist. Aug. 25, 2005.


22 Fowler, Alastair, Shaw, David. Kinds of literature. An introduction to the theory of genres and modes. Oxford 1997, pp. 98ff.

23 Boitani, P. Genres, themes, and images in English literature from the fourteenth to the fifteenth century. Tübingen: Narr, 1988, p. 75.

24 Cf.: Bachman, L. F. and others. Investigating variability in tasks and rater judgements in a performance test of foreign language speaking. Language Testing 12, 1995, pp. 238-256.

25 Cf.: Bendena, M. Special issues devoted to the fantastic and related genres and revising the canon: culture and pop culture: papers delivered at the University's nineteenth and twentieth Annual Colloquiums on Modern Literature and Film. Morgantown, W Va.: West Virginia Univ., 1998, pp. 54.

26 Ockham, W. of. Dialogus, part 1, book 2, chapters 1-17. Text and translation by John Scott. The British Academy. Aug. 25, 2005.


27 Treharne, E. Writing gender and genre in medieval literature: Approaches to Old and Middle English texts. Cambridge 2002, pp. 23ff.

28 Rousseau, J. J.. On the Origin of Inequality. Aug. 25, 2005.


29 Roest, B. Aspects of genre and type in pre-modern literary cultures. Groningen: Styx Publ., 1999, pp. 61ff.

30 Aune, D.E. Greco-Roman literature and the New Testament: Selected forms and genres. Atlanta, Georgia: Scholars Press, 1988, p. 45

31 Somekh, S. Genre and language in modern Arabic literature. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz, 1991, pp. 68ff.

32 Frohmann, B. &ldquo;The Power of Images: A Discourse Analysis of the Cognitive Viewpoint." Journal of Documentation 48.4 (1992), pp. 365-367.

33 Amossy, R. Ethos at the Crossroads of Disciplines: Rhetoric, Pragmatics, Sociology. Poetics Today - Vol. 22, N. 1, Spring 2001, pp. 1-23.

34 Ockham, W. of. Dialogus, part 1, book 2, chapters 1-17. Text and translation by John Scott. The British Academy. Aug. 12, 2006.


35 Hitchcock, P. The Genre of Postcoloniality. New Literary History. Vol. 34, N. 2, Spring 2003, pp. 299-330

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