Innovations and Reproductions in Cultures and Societies
(IRICS) Vienna, 9 - 11 december 2005

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Linguistic units with diffused semantics in political discourse

Diana Kalishchuk (Volyn State University in Lutsk, Ukraine)



The term “discourse” is widely-used in different branches of science nowadays. Linguists differentiate between the terms “discourse” and “text”, but the definition of discourse and its components is still hotly debated. In recent researches, discourse is defined as coherent text together with extralinguistic (pragmatic, cultural, psychological) factors.

Different types of discourse have their peculiar distinctive features. Political discourse is one of the communicative types of discourse. It combines features of argumentative and public discourse, it is an expression of power. Political texts are created for representatives of the definite culture. They are difficult to understand for people of other nationalities. That's why Ukraine's President V. Yushchenko in his Address before Joint Session of the U.S. Congress emphasizes moral values, important for the Americans.

The main goal of political texts is to attract attention, to awake listener's interest. To achieve this purpose political texts must be concrete, first of all. But in political discourse, especially in spontaneous speech, it is difficult to avoid usage of the words with diffused semantics. These words are nominal elements, so-called universal quantifiers, verbal elements, passive constructions, etc. Usage of non-specific vocabulary to artificially create positive effect is an example of semantic diffusion as well. It makes political texts vague.

One of the specific features of political discourse and especially of Yushchenko's speech is a considerable amount of loan-words, mainly from English, that causes the reduction of information and psychological estrangement of the addressee.

But his speech is also characterized by regular and dynamic development of political vocabulary, symbolization and contrast.

Innovationen und Reproduktionen in Kulturen und Gesellschaften (IRICS) Wien, 9. bis 11. Dezember 2005

WEBDESIGN: Peter R. Horn 2005-09-15