"As they say, an articleis an article": Some aspects of use of tautologies in communication

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review


In most studies dedicated to tautologies it goes without saying that these constructions are commonly used in everyday speech. Further analysis is based on the hearer's point of view concentrating mostly on possible ways of interpretation of tautologies. At the same time the perspective of the speaker remains largely unexplored. This study based on Internet and corpus data [RNC] deals with some aspects of use of tautologies in communication in order to understand why the speaker should opt for uttering tautologies instead of being more straightforward and what communicative profit he gets for that. It seems that advantages of using tautologies for the speaker are based on their structural and semantic features: (a) their recognizable form X cop X that makes tautologies look like a cliche; (b) their possibility to appeal to mutual knowledge; (c) the unquestionable truth of their literal meaning. First, when the speaker uses tautologies as cliches with expressions "as they say", etc., he makes his personal opinion look like a common wisdom of linguistic community. Next, when the speaker emphasizes that he appeals to mutual knowledge, he makes the hearer look as like-minded person, therefore the hearer's possible disagreement is regarded as a refusal of (expected) support and solidarity and requires more effort. Finally, the fact that the literal meaning of tautologies is undeniable helps the speaker escape of the responsibility of false implicature; defend his opinion using so-called deep tautologies; close the discussion whenever it is more convenient to him.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)817-829
Number of pages13
JournalKomp'juternaja Lingvistika i Intellektual'nye Tehnologii
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2016
Event2016 International Conference on Computational Linguistics and Intellectual Technologies, Dialogue 2016 - Moscow, Russian Federation
Duration: 1 Jun 20164 Jun 2016

Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Computer Science Applications


  • Microsyntax
  • Pragmatics
  • Russian language
  • Semantics
  • Tautologies


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