'I dont' know the anwer to that question': A Corpus-assisted Discourse Analysis of White House Press Briefings

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Abstract

White House Press Briefings, daily meetings with the press held by the White House Press Secretary, are the main information conduit for the White House (Kumar 2007). They are considered a ‘political chess game’ where the Press Secretary and the press face a ‘wrestling match’ (Partington 2006: 16).Our analysis is carried out on a corpus comprising all the Press Briefings across three presidencies from Clinton to Obama. The additional mark-up includes information about individual speakers and their role, allowing us to compare different discourse strategies adopted by the participants in the briefings at different points in time. This leads us to determine the extent of the differences in the patterns found as well as the nature of the variation from one participant to the next one.Starting from a phraseological perspective (Granger and Meunier 2008), our analysis will focus on avoidance strategies enacted by the podium with the main purpose of preserving face and yet ‘doing the job’ (Partington 2003: 80). We will show how the cluster ‘I don’t know’ can be exploited by various podiums, mainly in accordance with strategic communication choices made by the US administrations, highlighting differences in the podium’s attitude towards the press.
Lingua originaleEnglish
pagine (da-a)66-81
Numero di pagine16
RivistaCRITICAL APPROACHES TO DISCOURSE ANALYSIS ACROSS DISCIPLINES
Volume7
Stato di pubblicazionePublished - 2013

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