Appraisal in Political Speech: A Comparative Discursive Study of Winston Churchill and Tony Blair
Sammanfattning: This study investigated alignments in speeches held by two historically prominent politicians: Sir Winston Churchill and Tony Blair. The speeches that comprised the data of this study were a speech from 3 September, 1939, for the former, and a speech held on 18 March, 2003, for the latter. The study made use of Martin & White’s (2005) account of appraisal theory. Firstly, the use of positive and negative judgement (Martin & White, 2005, pp. 52-56) was investigated. Secondly, the speakers’ use of heteroglossic engagement, strategies that contracted and expanded the dialogic space (Martin & White, 2005, p. 102 ff.), i.e. the possibility to, indirectly, question statements, was investigated and compared. In connection to the concepts of judgement and heteroglossic engagement, both the speakers’ alignments to their intended audiences (and others), as well as the context they build (Gee, 2014b, pp. 90-91; Blommaert, 2005, pp. 43-44) with their separate audiences were examined. For the alignment and context-building aspects to be worthy of investigation, a notion that any communication (whether it be between two or more people, or between a speaker and an audience) is dialogic, was necessary to adopt (Martin & White, 2005, p. 92; Du Bois, 2007; Blommaert, 2005, p. 43 ff.). The results of the speakers’ different alignments, that is, the grouping of us contra them, positive self- and negative other presentation, and strategies of legitimisation, were also examined. The analysis revealed that both speakers use positive judgement. Furthermore, the results evinced that Blair utilises negative judgement, whereas Churchill’s speech only contained one instance of this concept, from which no broad conclusions can be drawn. The positive judgements and negative ones (especially for Blair) were used in relation to themselves, their country, as well as others. Thereby, the speakers aligned themselves and created different groupings in society. The results also highlighted the fact that both speakers use both contracting and expanding types of heteroglossic engagement, by which they aligned themselves with their audiences, as well as with others. Furthermore, the results pointed to the fact that the devices employed resulted in an implicit division in the world, and that these strategies were used to legitimise the speakers’ opinions and intentions.
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