Political Discourse Analysis

Every day we are bombarded with political rhetoric in the form of interviews, debates and statements from our leaders and commentators, on the television, radio and internet. Underlying this rhetoric is the micro-world of spoken discourse and non-verbal gestures that we rarely notice. This world consists of politicians and commentators hesitating, equivocating, pausing, and using all their rhetorical nounce to get their message across while presenting themselves in the best light and avoiding saying anything that might damage their face.  

Here at neutralfooting we are committed to exploring this world, warts and all. We take an in-depth look at political discourse, exploring the spaces between utterances and words, and the gaps between turns and transitions. As the title of the site suggests, we take a ‘neutral’ balanced approach to analysis without prejudice.

“It is the little things which reveal the chapters of the heart”

ELLEN G. WHITE

POLITICIANS USING ALL THEIR RHETORICAL SKILLS TO SPIN THEIR WAY OUT OF A TIGHT CORNER

INTERVIEWERS USING ALL THEIR NOUS TO PUT THEM BACK IN THE CORNER

Theresa May, when did you realise that you got the wrong answer to the biggest question of our times in politics?

Jeremy Paxman

Listen to the audio

Well, I’m tempted to ask you Jeremy what you … think… d’you mean … you’re talking about Brexit?

Theresa May

ALL THE POLITICAL ESTABLISHMENT UNDER THE MICROSCOPE

Blogs

boris johnson

A Cascade of Slips

A single speech error (slip of the tongue) often cascades into multiple errors within the space of a few words as Boris Johnson found out yesterday. This has to be one of the all-time great slips that linguists will be…

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First Presidential Debate (2020)

The first US presidential debate last night was a pretty torrid affair with frequent interruptions and negotiations for the floor between the candidates and the host. Here is a short transcription and analysis of a specific stretch of discourse.

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Eye gaze

When participating in a conversation, eye gaze can be an important part of the communication process. Our eyes signal the channel of communication: who we are talking to. But it is not always possible to control this, as Diane Abbot…

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WHILE THE PUBLIC LOOK ON WITH …

Blog

Exasperation and incredulity!

Political commentators and journalists all have their own idiosyncratic styles when interviewing politicians. Emily Maitlis, the BBC Newsnight  commentator, often shows exasperation and incredulity in her voice through sweeping intonation falls and facial expressions. Here is a brief analysis to… Continue Reading →


Featured image: Boris Johnson’s first PMQs by UK Parliament /CC BY-NC 2.0

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