The present article comes from a wider research investigating the role of metaphor in post 9/11 American discourse and aims at circumscribing the specificity of G. W. Bush Jr. pro-war persuasive strategy as opposed to Tony Blair’s. It focuses on the different ways the two leaders deal with persuasion and explores aspects of persuasion as contextually situated, discursively constructed, and cognitively motivated. Other relevant matters considered are the delicate, albeit crucial, relation between presidential rhetoric and presidential approval, as well as the complex interplay between persuasion strategies and ideological positioning. The analysis is driven by the keywords emerging from a quantitative and comparative approach and dealt with in a discourse-cognitive perspective (Chilton, 1996, 2004; van Dijk, 2006). The use we make here of the notion of ‘keyword’ corresponds to quite an extensive definition, bearing a cultural, cognitive, and operational connotation. As for the cultural connotation, we make reference to Williams’ (1976) characterization of keyword as “a critical area of the vocabulary” (p. 23), which can be looked at as to disclose crucial ideological aspects of culture and society. As for the cognitive connotation, we acknowledge the extensive study of Wierzbicka (1992, 1997, 2002, 2006), where keywords are isolated in reference to ways of speaking and reveal “key concepts” of a given culture. More specifically, according to Wierzbicka, keywords can be used to detect those behavioral and conversational norms she refers to as “cultural scripts” (2006, pp. 22-34) and provide linguistic evidence of them. The operational connotation is due to the function we attribute to keywords as pivotal heuristic tools for the analysis. In this respect, we also make reference to a statistic definition of keywords (Pearson, 1998; Scott, 1998). More specifically, we make use of corpus linguistic methods and Wordsmith Tool software for identifying frequency keywords. The quantitative account interacts with the cognitive and cultural perspectives in a productive way. Following the intent of William’s pivotal study on “keywords,” the use of corpus methods for “provid[ing] systemic evidence about the significance of […] keywords” (Stubbs, 2001, p. 145) with respect to a given culture is largely discussed by Stubbs (1996, 2001). However, given the comparative nature of our analysis, our focus here is rather on the significance of keywords with respect to a specific discourse, as opposed to to a culture considered as a whole. In this respect, we refer to Mike Scott’s sense of keywords in relation to a whole text, identifiable by making a comparison between one collection of texts and another (Scott, 1997, p. 234). Back to our operational connotation of keywords, what we aim to demonstrate from a methodological point of view is that keywords can be revealing for identifying specificity between text wholes. More specifically, a quantitative perspective in combination with a cognitive and cultural account may render keywords a fruitful tool for driving linguistic enquiries on discourse. More in general, the interaction between a contextual concern and a cognitive perspective provides the analysis with a systematic framework for evaluating persuasion in text.

Bush versus Blair: Keywords Heading the Nation

FERRARI, FEDERICA
2011

Abstract

The present article comes from a wider research investigating the role of metaphor in post 9/11 American discourse and aims at circumscribing the specificity of G. W. Bush Jr. pro-war persuasive strategy as opposed to Tony Blair’s. It focuses on the different ways the two leaders deal with persuasion and explores aspects of persuasion as contextually situated, discursively constructed, and cognitively motivated. Other relevant matters considered are the delicate, albeit crucial, relation between presidential rhetoric and presidential approval, as well as the complex interplay between persuasion strategies and ideological positioning. The analysis is driven by the keywords emerging from a quantitative and comparative approach and dealt with in a discourse-cognitive perspective (Chilton, 1996, 2004; van Dijk, 2006). The use we make here of the notion of ‘keyword’ corresponds to quite an extensive definition, bearing a cultural, cognitive, and operational connotation. As for the cultural connotation, we make reference to Williams’ (1976) characterization of keyword as “a critical area of the vocabulary” (p. 23), which can be looked at as to disclose crucial ideological aspects of culture and society. As for the cognitive connotation, we acknowledge the extensive study of Wierzbicka (1992, 1997, 2002, 2006), where keywords are isolated in reference to ways of speaking and reveal “key concepts” of a given culture. More specifically, according to Wierzbicka, keywords can be used to detect those behavioral and conversational norms she refers to as “cultural scripts” (2006, pp. 22-34) and provide linguistic evidence of them. The operational connotation is due to the function we attribute to keywords as pivotal heuristic tools for the analysis. In this respect, we also make reference to a statistic definition of keywords (Pearson, 1998; Scott, 1998). More specifically, we make use of corpus linguistic methods and Wordsmith Tool software for identifying frequency keywords. The quantitative account interacts with the cognitive and cultural perspectives in a productive way. Following the intent of William’s pivotal study on “keywords,” the use of corpus methods for “provid[ing] systemic evidence about the significance of […] keywords” (Stubbs, 2001, p. 145) with respect to a given culture is largely discussed by Stubbs (1996, 2001). However, given the comparative nature of our analysis, our focus here is rather on the significance of keywords with respect to a specific discourse, as opposed to to a culture considered as a whole. In this respect, we refer to Mike Scott’s sense of keywords in relation to a whole text, identifiable by making a comparison between one collection of texts and another (Scott, 1997, p. 234). Back to our operational connotation of keywords, what we aim to demonstrate from a methodological point of view is that keywords can be revealing for identifying specificity between text wholes. More specifically, a quantitative perspective in combination with a cognitive and cultural account may render keywords a fruitful tool for driving linguistic enquiries on discourse. More in general, the interaction between a contextual concern and a cognitive perspective provides the analysis with a systematic framework for evaluating persuasion in text.
Issues in Political Discourse Analysis
149
176
Ferrari F.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11585/134248
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