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Speaker Involvement in Political Interviews

Jana Kozubíková Šandová

This book offers a pragma-semantic analysis of linguistic means expressing speaker involvement in the genre of political interview. The research is based on an analysis of 40 interviews with British and American politicians. The aim of this work is to confirm or reject the claim that the genre of political interview is detached and impersonal as is typical of any other type of formal interaction. The study also investigates whether female politicians are more indeterminate in their expression than male politicians, and whether the expression of males is matter-of-fact and more precise. The book provides new insights into the genre of political interview and contributes to the study of speaker involvement and means of its expression.
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2 The Delimitation of Involvement as a Linguistic Category


2.1 Introduction

This chapter provides the theoretical background for the present analysis of involvement in political interviews. Involvement in two areas of linguistics, namely, in interactional sociolinguistics and in discourse analysis, will be described in Sections 2.2 and 2.3. Influential studies of involvement have been presented by Tannen (1985) and by Chafe (1982, 1984). These analyses are dealt with in greater detail in Sections 2.4 and 2.7. The concept of involvement has also been discussed in the Prague School, which is referred to in Section 2.8. Linguistic strategies of involvement in general and conceptual problems associated with this phenomenon are presented in Subchapters 2.9 and 2.10.

The concept of involvement is very broad in scope and although it has been described in the relevant literature, there have been few attempts to give its precise definition and delimitation (cf. Tannen 1985; Besnier 1994; Chafe 1982). Besnier (1994:279) points out that it was originally mentioned as a category in interactional sociolinguistics and in discourse analysis. The following chapters will explain the approach of these linguistic disciplines to this phenomenon.

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