Hedging in Political Discourse

June 2011
Volume 5 Issue 1

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Title
Hedging in Political Discourse

Taweel, Abeer Q., Saidat, Emad M Rafayah, Hussein A., & Saidat, Ahmad M. Al-Hussein Bin Talal University, Ma’an, Jordan

Biodata:
Abeer Q. Taweel is an Assistant Professor of Linguistics in the Department of English Language and Literature at Al-Hussein Bin Talal University, Jordan. She has taught in the USA and Jordan for more than 6 years. Her specialist interests focus on discourse analysis, semantics, rhetoric and ESL. She taught Translation and Interpretation, Speech and Pronunciation, English Morphology, Schools of Linguistics, Writing, Reading, Listening, and Study Skills.

Emad M. Al-Saidat is an Assistant Professor of Linguistics in the Department of English Language and Literature at Al-Hussein Bin Talal University, Jordan. His specialist interests focus on SLA, sociolinguistics, phonology and discourse analysis. He has taught Introduction to Linguistics, English Phonetics and Phonology, SLA, Sociolinguistics, Error Analysis, History of the English Language, Schools of Linguistics, Writing, Reading, Listening, and Study Skills.

Hussein A. Rfay’ah is an Associate Professor of Linguistics in the Department of Arabic Language & Literature at Al-Hussein Bin Talal University, Jordan. His specialist interests focus on syntax, morphology and discourse analysis. He has taught Arabic Phonetics, Syntax 1, Syntax 2, Syntax 3, Arabic Morphology, Arabic Language 1, and Arabic Language 2.

Ahmad M. Saidat is an Assistant Professor of Linguistics in the Department of English Language and Literature at Al-Hussein Bin Talal University, Jordan. His specialist interests focus on syntax, sociolinguistics, and discourse analysis. He has taught Introduction to Linguistics, Sociolinguistics, English Syntax, English Morphology, History of the English Language, Schools of Linguistics, Writing, Reading, Listening, and Study Skills.

Abstract

This study aims at investigating and analyzing three aspects of hedging in spoken political discourse: (1) means of expression, (2) density of lexical and syntactic markers, and (3) pragmatic functions. The corpus providing the database for the study consists of seventeen randomly selected televised interviews with a number of Arab politicians and leaders during the third Gulf War, the Desert Fox. The questions and comments in all the interviews were centered on the interviewees’ positions from the war and the proposed solutions. A body of 13, 168 words was selected for a detailed analysis. For contrastive goals, the first 6573 words were selected from interviews in which Arabic was the medium of communication. The other 6595 words, on the other hand, were selected from interviews in which English was the medium of communication.
Findings have shown that: (i) avoidance is the most commonly occurring strategy of hedging that characterizes spoken political discourse, (ii) conversational and discourse strategies including Grice’s maxim’s are rarely adhered to in spoken political discourse, and (iii) hedging is directly and widely affected by the recipient design.

Key words: hedges, discourse, pragmatic functions, political discourse

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Category: Volume 5 Issue 1 2011