Show Less
Restricted access

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.
Show Summary Details
Restricted access

6 Boosting and Hedging


6.1 Introduction

As indicated above, this chapter will explain the basic distinction between boosting and hedging. It has already been mentioned that the degree of speaker involvement relates to modifying the illocutionary force of speech acts. In this connection Urbanová (2003) states that “the interpretative character of meaning […] is reflected in the modification of the illocutionary force […]. Meaning in conversation is dynamic in the sense that new shades of meaning constantly come into existence through contextual clues and speaker-hearer interaction, simultaneously reflecting idiosyncrasies and predilections on the part of the speaker” (2003:66, emphasis added). The illocutionary force of utterances is modified due to the incidence of two “counteracting, yet co-existing tendencies influencing the relative weight of the message, namely attenuation and accentuation” (Urbanová 2003:66, my emphasis).

6.2 Boosting

In her article on modification of the illocutionary force, Holmes (1984) describes two communicative strategies for modifying the strength of the speech acts: attenuation (sometimes called “hedging”, “mitigation” or “weakening”) and boosting (“accentuation”, “strengthening” or “intensification”). These two concepts have been dealt with in various studies, among others e.g. by Brown and Levinson (1987), Lakoff (1972), Fraser (1980), Coates (1987), and Urbanová (2003).

Boosting and hedging are regarded as complementary, not contrasting, notions which, in opposition to Vanderveken’s concept (described in Chapter 4.2), are external modifiers of illocutionary force and not its constituents. The differentiation between attenuation and intensification should be understood as “illocutionary force gradation” (Urbanová 2003:67), thus,...

You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.

This site requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals.

Do you have any questions? Contact us.

Or login to access all content.