The Discourse of Politics

By:
Dr. Yousif Elhindi
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The relationship between language and politics dates back to the time of the Greeks and the Romans, who considered rhetoric a branch of political science. This interrelationship has been significantly strengthened in the 20 and 21 centuries with the expansion of the instantaneous mass media, which has not only enabled politicians to reach large numbers of people, but has also made it possible for audiences to experience political discourse as it unfolds, formulate an evaluation of that discourse, and critique it.

This paper looks into the claim of some cognitive linguists, e.g. George Lakoff, who assert that the different world views of liberals and conservatives are embodied in their rhetoric and reflected by it. The paper also employs an eclectic approach to analyze the acceptance speeches of John Kerry and George Bush at the national conventions of the Democratic and Republican parties in 2004. It applies some of the principles of lexicometrics, Speech Act Theory, conversational implicature, and lexical semantics to investigate the rhetoric of these speeches and discuss its implications. In addition to applying these linguistic disciplines to the analysis of the political speeches, the paper will also examine the metaphors in these discourse texts to determine whether they reflect specific political beliefs.


Keywords: Discourse, Politics
Stream: Language, Linguistics
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
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Dr. Yousif Elhindi

Associate Professor, Department of English, East Tennessee State University
USA

I was born and raised in the Sudan. After obtaining a B.A. in English from the University of Khartoum, I taught high school English for one year. Then I went to Saudi Arabia and worked for two years as an interpret translator. In 1978, I enrolled at the University of Sheffield, UK, where I obtained my MA in English. After teaching English for several years at Gezira University, in the Sudan, and King Faisal University in Saudi Arabia, I migrated to the US. I taught and attended graduate school at Oklahoma State University, where I obtained my Ph.D. in English in 1995. I am currently an associate professor of English and linguistics at East Tennessee State University. I am married with four children.

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