A pragmatic analysis of the use of person deixis in political discourse

Journal of Pragmatics (Impact Factor: 0.76). 04/1994; 21(4):339-383. DOI: 10.1016/0378-2166(94)90010-8


Previous research into the persuasive functions of first-person plural deictic pronominals has not adequately accounted for the complex pragmatic process involved in the resolution of such pronouns and the consequent effects of such complexity on the persuasive functions of indexicals. The present paper addresses this gap by means of an analytic framework that introduces the concept of ‘discourse spaces’ and demonstrates its interrelationships with participant structures, participant roles, linguistic indicators, and deixis. Through analysis of one interlocutor's responses in a televised political speech event, it is demonstrated that the relationships that hold among these concepts and elements are crucial to the analysis of vague deixis, and the consequent potential persuasive functions of such usage. It further demonstrates that a speaker's power of persuasion is greatly determined by an ability to shift in and out of various roles within and across ‘discourse spaces’. This study synthesizes and extends findings from the various theoretical and methodological approaches of political discourse analysis, studies on the resolution of referring expressions, and theories concerning the different ‘realities’ evoked in social interaction and language.

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    • "The use of the second speaker type, the collective speaker, enables representing events from a perspective the speaker conceptually shares with the audience. The 'we' perspective may be either inclusive or exclusive of particular actors the speaker has indicated by 'index[ing] different groups as included in the scope of the pronoun " we " ' (Zupnik, 1994: 340) or excluded. In Extract 4, the use of the pronoun 'we', also in its possessive form 'our' (in bold), clearly presupposes the existence opponents, explicitly labelled as 'the Communists': "
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    ABSTRACT: The aim of this article is to propose a taxonomy of speakers from a socio-pragmatic perspective by taking an original approach to the study of single-turn political discourse, that is, political speeches, rather than debates, interviews or press conferences. This limitation on the scope of the study stems from the fact that the categorisation advanced is not concerned with turn-taking, but concentrates on the speaker’s use of other voices in his/her representation of reality. Thus, a clear distinction is made between the speaker and the sayer, namely the original speaker whose words are reported, or rather creatively reconstructed, by the current speaker ‘here and now’. The taxomony comprises a number of categories employed strategically by the current speaker in the service of different objectives. The speaker categories are inherently limited due to a single principle of categorisation: the form of the report. The singular speaker is the default type which enables the speaker to present himself/herself as an individual as well as his/her attitudes, values and beliefs, while the collective speaker enhances the speaker’s belonging to a group and allows him/her to speak on behalf of its members. The sayer categories, by contrast, are more varied due to three independent principles of categorisation: the form of the report, the genuineness of the sayer’s utterance and the number of accounts embedded in the narrating event. The approach taken to the analysis of the narrative passages that involve the proposed speaker types owes much to Chilton’s Discourse Space Theory and is concerned with conceptualisation of the speaker’s representation of events from chosen perspective(s). The corpus of speeches selected to investigate and illustrate individual categories consists of over 80 political speeches delivered by three Democratic American Presidents: John Kennedy, William Clinton and Barack Obama.
    Full-text · Article · Jun 2015 · Discourse Studies
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    • "La deixis personal puede ser una poderosa herramienta en el discurso político, que sirve tanto para fines de persuasión como de manipulación (Zupnik, 1994; Wodak et al., 2009; Arroyo, 2000; Fairclough, 2000; Ivanova, 2012). Wodak et al. (2009: 45-47) elaboraron una detallada descripción de las potencialidades semánticas del pronombre 'nosotros', ampliando la tradicional distinción entre " addressee-inclusive and addresseeexclusive 'we', and between a speaker-inclusive and speaker-exclusive 'we' " . "

    Full-text · Article · Aug 2014 · Revista Signos
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    • "In these studies, the occurrence of the second-person pronouns is either ignored or too rare to be considered significant. The most recent research on this topic, and also the one most related to the present study is Arroyo (2000), in which theoretical concepts like 'frame' (Goffman 1981) and 'discourse space' (Zupnik 1994) are adopted to analyze the main reference meanings of personal pronouns by the two principal participants in the Spanish political electoral debate of June 1993. Distinguishing three main domains of reference (i.e., the world of the speaker, the world of the interlocutor, and an intermediate world between them), Arroyo has found that there are considerable differences in the two debaters' strategic use of pronouns. "
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    ABSTRACT: Based on videotaped data from two televized Taipei mayoral debates from 1998, this study examines, both qualitatively and quantitatively, how the use of the second-person singular pronoun ni 'you' by three Taiwanese politicians reflects their attitudes and relations toward other participants as well as their perceptions of the interactive goals of the speech activity. My analysis has found that compared with the first debate, the frequency of ni in the second debate increased from 63 to 221. More importantly, the functions of ni in these two debates are very different. In the first debate, more than 60 percent of the occurrences of ni are used by the three debaters either to address the audience/voters or to refer to an indefinite person (i.e., the impersonal ni), thereby establishing solidarity with the audience or voters. In contrast, more than 80 percent of the occurrences of ni in the second debate (which took place only four days before the election) are used when debaters address their opponents directly to challenge or attack them. I suggest that the different uses of ni in the two debates signal that the interactive goal of the debate has changed from establishing or reinforcing solidarity with the audience to expressing antagonism and confrontation vis-a`-vis one's opponent. In addition, the different uses of ni among the three mayoral candidates also reflect their distinct communicative styles, e.g., casual or formal.
    Preview · Article · Jan 2002 · Text - Interdisciplinary Journal for the Study of Discourse
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