Communicative and Cognitive Aspects of the Motivational Success Genre (based on English-language texts)
The thesis focuses on the motivational success genre. The texts of the genre under
investigation are manuals on achieving success which aim to teach readers to help themselves
live successfully and prosperously in the rapidly changing world. The work manifests a
complex methodological approach to revealing the communicative and cognitive aspects of
the motivational success genre.
Based on the latest genre studies, the theory of conceptual metaphor and cognitive
science, typological features of the success genre were identified and summarized in the form
of a genogram; the generic structure and the intentional content of the motivational texts were
analyzed, and their suggestive potential was clarified; the structure of genre concepts, profiled
in motivational texts, was explored; the metaphorical models dominant in the success genre
and their frame-slot organization were analyzed.
The communicative purpose of the success genre – to teach readers to help themselves
live successfully and prosperously – determines its overall didactic orientation, which
manifests itself in emphasizing the proposed advice, evaluation and recommendations. Due to
this format, another communicative purpose is achieved, which consists in the implicit
correction of the potential recipient’s worldview.
The addresser of the investigated genre is modeled as a person who has succeeded and
now wants to share his/her experience, to teach the readers to change their life for the better.
The addressee of the success genre represents a wide circle of those who are dissatisfied with
their life, reflect on their current problems and seek ways to improve them.
Directly mirroring the potential audience’s expectations based on the American values,
self-help texts appear as a field of realization of social values and linguocultural concepts of
SUCCESS, MONEY and FAILURE based on those values. Profiling in motivational texts,
these concepts become genre concepts, and their content is replenished with new conceptual
features generated by the genre. The success genre actively designs and replicates the image
of a successful person as a financially independent individual, who continuously moves
up/forward, thinks differently, is capable of visualizing his/her future achievements and
regularly uses mental programming techniques.
The successful structure (paratext + main text) enhances the suggestive potential of the
genre under investigation. The emergence and development of trust formation begins in the
paratext. The speech influence of the genre is amplified in the main text, the cognitive
structure of which is interpreted in terms of four rhetorical moves (PROBLEM – ADVICE –
MOTIVATION – CONCLUSIONS). Such an organization of content indicates a certain
scheme of presenting the information: the authors show that there is a certain problem in the
potential recipient’s life; as experienced experts, they give advice, teach the reader how to
solve this problem; then they actively encourage the addressee to take advantage of the
provided advice, and, finally, in order to consolidate the suggested ideas in the mind of the
target recipient, shortly summarize them. Specific graphic design of motivational texts
enhances the suggestive potential of the genre and becomes an additional semantic and
expressive background for the text that promotes the formation of a particular idea in the
The conceptual metaphor is a cognitive mechanism of creating the image of a
successful individual. In the success genre, it is realized through a system of metaphorical
models that reflect a new transformed picture of the world. According to this worldview,
success is a continuous movement up/forward. As an object, it is conceptualized mainly
through the image of money, which is considered as natural rather than material resource,
more as an agent than an object. The addressee is taught to treat failure positively, as it is an
integral part of success.
Key words: motivational success genre, addresser/addressee, communicative purpose,
generic structure, paratext / main text, rhetorical move, step, genre concept, conceptual
feature, metaphorical model.