pragmatics of political discourse

Angewandte Sprachwissenschaft / Anglistik

the pragmatics of political discourse

anita fetzer and peter bull (universities of york and salford)


Political discourse has been described as institutional discourse, public discourse, media discourse and more recently, as professional discourse. It has undergone important changes in our digitalised and medialised societies, and that is why a felicitous analysis of politics and of political discourse can no longer comprise text and talk (Chilton and Schäffner 2002) only, but rather needs to consider political discourse as a form of both professional and media discourse. The symbiotic relationship between political discourse and the media is interdependent on the medium-as-such in and through which political information, political beliefs and political opinions are transmitted and shaped. The impact of modern mass-media culture on communicative behaviour and performance is further reflected in the conversationalisation and professionalisation of mediatized political discourse.

The project examines the strategic use of pronouns and other deictic expressions, of quotation and of facework.


  • Fetzer, Anita. 2016. Political interviews and responsibility: a case study of its interactional organization. In Östman, Jan-Ola & Solin, Anna (eds.). Responsibility in discourse and the discourse of responsibility. Equinox: Sheffield, 163-196.
  • Fetzer, Anita. 2015. ‘When you came into office you said that your government would be different’: Forms and functions of quotations in mediated political discourse. In Fetzer, Anita, Weizman, Elda & Berlin, Lawrence N. (eds.). The Dynamics of Political Discourse: Forms and Functions of Follow-Ups. Amsterdam: John Benjamins, 245- 273.
  • Fetzer, Anita, Weizman, Elda & Berlin, Lawrence N. (eds.) 2015. The Dynamics of Political Discourse: Forms and Functions of Follow-Ups. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
  • Weizman, Elda & Fetzer, Anita (eds.). 2015. Follow-Ups in Political Discourse: Explorations across Contexts Discourse Domains. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
  • Fetzer, Anita. 2014. I think, I mean and I believe in political discourse: Collocates, functions and distribution. Functions of Language 21(1): 67-91.
  • Fetzer, Anita. 2014. “Judge us on what we do”: The strategic use of collective we in political discourse. In Pavlidou, Theodossia-Soula (ed.). Constructing Collectivity: ‘We’ across Languages and Contexts. Amsterdam: John Benjamins, 331-350.
  • Fetzer, Anita & Bull, Peter. 2013. Political interviews in context. In Cap, Piotr & Okulska, Urzula (eds). Analyzing Genres in Political Communication. Amsterdam: John Benjamins, 73-99.
  • Fetzer, Anita. 2013. The multilayered and multifaceted nature of political discourse. In Fetzer, Anita (ed.). The Pragmatics of Political Discourse. Explorations across Cultures. Amsterdam: John Benjamins, 1-18.
  • Fetzer, Anita & Bull, Peter 2012. Doing leadership in political speech: semantic processes and pragmatic inferences. Discourse & Society 23(2): 127-144.
  • Fetzer, Anita. 2011. ‘Here is the difference, here is the passion, here is the chance to be part of a great change’: strategic context importation in political discourse. In Fetzer, Anita & Oishi, Etsuko (eds.). Context and Contexts: Parts Meet Whole?. Amsterdam: John Benjamins, 115-146.
  • Fetzer, Anita. 2009. Sort of and kind of in political discourse: hedge, head of NP or contextualization cue? In Jucker, Andreas, Schreier, Daniel & Hundt, Marianne (eds.). Corpora: Pragmatics and Discourse. Amsterdam: Rodopi,127-149.
  • Fetzer, Anita. 2008. “And I think that is a very straight forward way of dealing with it.” The communicative function of cognitive verbs in political discourse. Journal of Language and Social Psychology 27(4): 384-396.
  • Fetzer, Anita & Bull, Peter. 2008. “Well, I answer it by simply inviting you to look at the evidence”. The strategic use of pronouns in political interviews. Journal of Language and Politics 7(2): 271-289.
  • Fetzer, Anita. 2008. Expressions of non-alignment in British and German political interviews: preferred and dispreferred variants. Functions of Language 15(1): 35-63.
  • Fetzer, Anita & Johansson, Marjut. 2007. “I’ll tell you what the truth is”: the interactional organization of confiding in political interviews. Journal of Language and Politics 6(2): 147-176.
  • Fetzer, Anita. 2007. “Well if that had been true that would have been perfectly reasonable”: appeals to reasonableness in political interviews. Journal of Pragmatics 39(8): 1342-1359.
  • Fetzer, Anita. 2007. Challenges in political interviews: an intercultural analysis. In Fetzer, Anita & Lauerbach, Gerda (eds.). Political Discourse in the Media: Cross-Cultural Perspectives. Amsterdam: John Benjamins, 163-196.
  • Fetzer, Anita & Lauerbach, Gerda (eds.) 2007. Political discourse in the media: cross-cultural perspectives. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
  • Fetzer, Anita & Weizman, Elda (eds.). 2006. Political discourse as mediated and public discourse. Journal of Pragmatics 38(2): 143-153.
  • Fetzer, Anita. 2006. “Minister, we will see how the public judges you”. Media references in political interviews. Journal of Pragmatics 38(2): 180-195.
  • Bull, Peter & Fetzer, Anita. 2006. Who are we and who are you? The strategic use of forms of address in political interviews. Text & Talk 26(1): 1-36.
  • Fetzer, Anita. 2000. Negotiating validity claims in political interviews. Text 20(4): 1-46.
  • Fetzer, Anita. 2002. 'Put bluntly, you have something of a credibility problem’. Sincerity and credibility in political interviews. In Chilton, Paul & Schäffner, Christina (eds.). Politics as Talk and Text: Analytic Approaches to Political Discourse. Amsterdam: John Benjamins, 173-201.