“Ethical Evaluation” as a Tactics of Delegitimization Strategy in the Pre-Election Discourse

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The present study is based on such relevant areas of modern linguistics as Political linguistics and Linguistic personology. It included//includes samples of 30 speeches given by US President Joe Biden during his 2020 election campaign. A review of related scientific publications showed almost no detailed works on linguistic means connected with tactics that brings about delegitimization strategy; nor is there any unified term for a strategy of creating a negative image of a political rival in the election discourse. The authors believe that, in the election discourse, the abovementioned strategy aims at destroying the credibility of the political opponent and the solutions they have to offer beyond questioning their legality. Therefore, the tactics of ethical evaluation can be an effective means to destroy the credibility of a political oppo nent by using words of evaluative connotation. The tactics makes it possible to explicate a direct or contextual negative attitude to an opponent. Joe Biden’s ethical evaluation of Donald Trump appeared to have three axiological aspects. The research used the theoretical and methodological apparatus of Political linguistics and Linguistic personology, e.g. such methods as content analysis, lexical-semantic analysis, and intent analysis. The paper introduces an analysis of lexemes that verbalize the tactics of ethical evaluation, which showed predominance of words and idioms of an unambiguous negative evaluative connotation. The authors also detected the absence of any abusive language that could be interpreted as a direct insult or accusation. The results can be used for a critical analysis of the political discourse of individual politicians.

About the authors

Veronika A. Kameneva

Kemerovo State University

Author for correspondence.
Email: russia_science@mail.ru
ORCID iD: 0000-0001-8146-9721
6, Krasnaya St., Kemerovo, Russian Federation, 650000

Doctor of Philology, Professor, Professor of the Department of Romanic-Germanic Philology

Nadezda V. Rabkina

Kemerovo State University

Email: nrabkina@mail.ru
ORCID iD: 0000-0002-6623-6679
6, Krasnaya St., Kemerovo, Russian Federation, 650000

Candidate of Philology, Assistant Professor at the Department of Translation Studies and Linguistics


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Copyright (c) 2021 Kameneva V.A., Rabkina N.V.

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