A Critical Study of Selected Political Elites' Discourse in English

Document Type: Research Paper


1 Azerbaijan University of Tarbiat-Moallem, Tabriz

2 Iran Language Institute, Tabriz


This study explored how political elites can contribute to power enactment through using language. It started with a theoretical overview of Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA), and then presented a corpus consisting of speeches of eight political elites, namely, Malcolm X, Noam Chomsky, Martin Luther King, Josef Stalin, Vladimir Lenin, Winston Churchill, J.F. Kennedy and Adolph Hitler. This study analyzed speeches in terms of figures of' speech, and interpreted them from the point of view of CDA using the framework introduced by Fairclough (1989) as a three-dimensional approach to the study of discourse (Description, Interpretation, Explanation) and van Dijk (2004) as the theory of critical context analysis.. Speech figures are classified in this study into six main categories as Comparison, Grammar, Meaning, Parenthesis, Repetition and Rhetoric. The result of analyses reveals that while there are differences in the type and degree of speech figures employed by our selected individual political elites, there is one striking pattern which is common among all speeches: the frequent use of figures of Grammar, Repetition and Rhetoric


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