Values in the description of speech genres
Language, a repository of culture, is a storage house for values and value systems. Language is a source of information about values, an instrument of valuation and a “substrate” in which values are realized. By accepting the views of Mikhail Bakhtin, who claimed that there are no genre-free utterances (and that human speech is moulded in a genre-producing form), and also the views of Tomasz P. Krzeszowski and Jerzy Bartmiński relating to values as the foundation of linguistic worldview, the author argues that the axiological component is present in every linguistic utterance. If so, values should be assigned a proper place in an integral description of genres.
Although in previous theories of genre (by Skwarczyńska, Bakhtin, Wierzbicka, Propp, Bartmiński) or in the recently published handbook on text linguistics (Tekstologia by Bartmiński and Niebrzegowska-Bartmińska) values are not treated explicitly, a claim is made that values constitute the foundation of genres. They are correlated not only — which is obvious — with the presented world (events, figures, objects) and with the manner of presentation, but also with the communicative (interactive) level, i.e. the speaker, hearer, intention, or communicative situation. Analyses of the world of values at these levels in various text genres (e.g. the dream book, calendar-based prophecies, magic spells, wishing Christmas carols, ballads, jocular and convivial songs, magic stories, cosmogonic myths, atiological legends, belief-based stories) reveal that at the level of presentation values are most strongly linked with the theme, and at the interactive level they are most strongly linked with the text (the speaker) and the speaker’s intention.