The choice between an objective and a subjective voice.
Towards a communicative-based typology of mood and modality
Выбор между субъективным и объективным голосом языка.
К созданию коммуникативной типологии наклонения и модальности
Per Durst-Andersen, Copenhagen Business School, Denmark
Пер Дурст-Андерсен, Копенгагенская высшая школа бизнеса, Дания
Danish, Spanish and Russian all seem to distinguish between an objective and a subjective voice in the Bakhtinian sense, but they do it very differently. In Danish single and double particles denote the speaker’s subjective voice, whereas the lack of a particle denotes his/her objective voice. In Spanish the compound forms of the perfective and imperfective aspects in the preterite tense signal the speaker’s subjective voice, while the simple forms of the two aspects signal an objective voice. The same way of thinking is observed in the specific distinction between the Spanish subjunctive mood and its indicative mood. In Russian many central categories signal a sharp distinction between what is traditionally called referential and non-referential, i.e. whether or not a denoted entity is present or absent in the external situation referred to. This concerns the distinctions (1) between the nominative and the genitive, (2) between indefinites having -то and indefinites having -нибудь; and (3) between the negative pronouns ничего/никого vs. нечего/некого.
If, however, so-called unmarked members of various oppositions and their different articulations are included, it turns out that in their primary articulation (central meaning) in which they are in direct opposition to the marked member, they refer to external reality, but in their secondary articulation, where they are said to substitute for the marked member, they refer to internal reality, because the marked member is not capable of doing so (as Jakobson says). This concerns the imperfective aspect (used as “констатация факта действия”), the singular (Все подняли руку instead of руки) and the genitive (Он (ещё) не может оставить своего дома instead of свой дом). Since the distinction is also found within the Russian lexicon as well as at other more peripheral parts of Russian grammar, Russian seems to distinguish between an objective voice which concerns situations in external reality and a subjective voice which deals with the speaker’s internal world. But, as can be seen, although the distinctions in Danish, Spanish and Russian are related to the speaker and thus involve modality one way or the other, they manifest themselves in different ways and seem to take different parts in grammar and in the communicative process.
It will be demonstrated (1) that the Danish distinction is an overt modality distinction that is part of the speaker’s own input to grammar, which means that one author might use many particles, but another author none at all; (2) that the Spanish one is a mood distinction that is part of the output of the grammar, which leaves no or little room for free variation, because everything is based on precise rules; and (3) that the Russian distinction, which is not signaled in a uniform way, is a covert modality distinction that is neither part of the input structure nor part of the output structure of the Russian utterance, but part of the hearer’s intake, i.e. his interpretation of an utterance. This means that by anchoring an utterance in the speaker’s objective or subjective universe the Russian hearer arrives at its exact meaning (смысл). Only in this way the hearer can know whether the speaker stated his/her opinion or just told what he/she knows as a fact.