construction of ordinariness

Angewandte Sprachwissenschaft / Anglistik

the construction of ordinariness in mediated public talk: accountability of communicative action and the private-public interface

anita fetzer and elda weizman (bar-ilan university, israel)

The project examines the discursive value of the first-order concept of ordinary in the context of public talk media, as well as the discursive strategies and their intended perlocutionary effects for the discursive construction of ordinariness as an object of talk in mediated public talk, through the positioning of self and other speakers as ordinary and non-ordinary.

The focus is on the production format of those interactions in which ordinary speakers position themselves, their interlocutors or third parties as ordinary, and by doing so refer indexically to the interconnectedness between the private/public sphere and social, political and communicative accountability. The discursive strategies and strategy-specific linguistic constructions to be analysed include, among others, first-frame meta-pragmatic comments on ordinariness and non-ordinariness; semantic prosodies; self- and other-naming, address terms and deictic expressions used for self- and other-reference; quotations from ordinary people’s talk; ironic criticism of (non)ordinariness; small stories and self-disclosures; subjectification and conversationalisation.


  • Fetzer, Anita & Weizman, Elda. 2018. “What I would say to John and everyone like John is ...”: The construction of ordinariness through quotations in mediated political discourse. Discourse & Society 29(5).
  • Weizman, Elda & Fetzer, Anita. 2018. Constructing ordinariness in online journals: a corpus-based study in the Israeli context. Israel Studies in Language and Society 11(1).
  • Fetzer, Anita. 2018. “And you know, Jeremy, my father came from a very poor background indeed”: Collective Identities and the Private-Public Interface in Political Discourse. In Bös, Birte, Kleinke, Sonja, Mollin, Sandra & Hernandez, Nuria (eds.). The Discursive Construction of Identities in Online and Offline Contexts: Personal – Group – Collective. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
  • Fetzer, Anita & Reber, Elisabeth. 2015. Quoting in political discourse: professional talk meets ordinary postings. In Arendholz, Jenny, Bublitz, Wolfram & Kirner-Ludwig, Monika (eds.). The Pragmatics of Quoting Now and Then. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter, 97-124.
  • Fetzer, Anita. 2010. Small stories in political discourse: the public self goes private. In Hoffmann, Christian (ed.). Narratives Revisited. Amsterdam: John Benjamins, 163-183.