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Exploring discourse and ideology through corpora

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Edited By Miguel Fuster Márquez, José Santaemilia, Carmen Gregori-Signes and Paula Rodríguez-Abruñeiras

This book explores discourse mainly through corpus linguistics methods. Indeed, Corpus-Assisted Discourse Studies has become a widely used approach for the critical (or non-critical) analysis of discourses in recent times. The book focuses on the analysis of different kinds of discourse, but most particularly on those which attempt to unveil social attitudes and values. Although a corpus methodology is deemed crucial in all research found here, it should not be inferred that a single, uniform technique is applied, but a wide variety of them, often shaped by the software which has been used. Also, more than one (qualitative or quantitative) methodology or drawing from various relevant sources is often called for in the critical analysis of discourses.

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Evaluation in Theresa May’s political discourse: A study of the PM’s seminal Brexit speeches: Ana Belén Cabrejas-Peñuelas and Rosana Dolón

Ana Belén Cabrejas-Peñuelas and Rosana Dolón

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That language is rife with linguistic mechanisms to express the speaker’s or writer’s personal attitudes and assessments has been demonstrated by many researchers (Hunston/Thompson 2000, Martin/White 2005, Simon-Vandenbergen 2008, Cabrejas-Peñuelas/Díez-Prados 2014, Díez-Prados/Cabrejas-Peñuelas 2018). Several labels have been used to refer to language expressing opinion, including evidentiality (Chafe 1986), hedging (Hyland 1996), evaluation (Thompson/Hunston 2000), appraisal (Martin/White 2005) and stance (Conrad/Biber 2000). The difference between them lies in the perspective taken and methodology used. Despite the differences, all of them focus on the meaning of the speaker’s assessments, the linguistic realizations of stance and the functions of evaluation in expressing the speaker’s opinion, in building and maintaining relations between speaker/writer and listener/reader and in organizing discourse (Thompson/Hunston 2000: 6).

Political discourse in general, and political speeches in particular, is a type of persuasive discourse that serves politicians to show their attitudes when evaluating, opposing and supporting an idea or event. They do so by presenting their personal, but also that of the party, point of view on certain issues and, thus, distinguishing themselves from other opinions. This is why there is a good reason to express stance, i.e. criticizing contrary opinions and praising one’s own. There are indeed texts that show faceless stance – defined as “relative absence of all ←95 | 96→affective and evidential stance features” (Biber/Finegan 1989: 108) –; however, in cases in which politicians need to convince and appeal to the public, faceless stance seems unlikely to happen.

Ample research has been...

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