Pragmalinguistics of Richard Nixon’s stylistic behavior (research into the president’s selected speeches)

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The paper seeks to analyze pragmalinguistic features of the politician’s stylistic behavior by studying nominative and syncategorematic parts of speech in his discourses. The hypothesis is regardless extralinguistic factors in a communicative situation the stylistic behavior can be seen as the touchstone of the politician’s success. A deficient stylistic behavior is fraught with communicative flops. The paper discusses theoretical grounds of pragmasemantic analysis of the politician’s stylistic idiosyncrasies, suggests a classification of categories for pragmasemantic analysis, pinpoints a cluster approach to studying lexical and syntactic units, and provides new insights into semiotics of the status-bound type of language identity. This article drawing on Richard Nixon’s selected speeches, The Checkers Speech (1952), The Great Silent Majority Speech (1969), and The First Watergate Address (1973), specifies the concept of presidential language identity. A determining factor moulding the stylistic behavior of this kind of people is a stressful or semi-stressful situation. The method of research in the article is termed as ‘pragmasemantic analysis of the politician’s language identity’. It is yet to be elaborated in detail. The article attempts to define it as focusing on interrelated grammar categoties, like personal pronouns, verb tense, functional and auxiliary verbs, article, numerals, and prepositions, along with communication-bound categories of optimism/pessimism, diplomatic/bossy, president-like speech/unpresident-like speech, age, gender, vested interests group membership in order to find out the politician’s idiosyncrasies and communication strategies and tactics. The article argues that whatever strategies and tactics Nixon persued in his discourses, his stability in the domestic political arena was guaranteed only by truthful verbal behavior. The Watergate speeches failed him and he paid the price for it. The paper, hence, highlights the problem of studying truth/lie verbal markers which largely depend on the author of the text in question.

About the authors

Denis Sergeevich Mukhortov

Lomonosov Moscow State University

Author for correspondence.

Candidate of Philology, Associate Professor, Department of English Linguistics, School of Philology, Lomonosov Moscow State University. Research interests: hermeneutic study of political discourse, semantic analysis of hypertext, lexical-semantic and syntactic transformation in the translation of policy speeches

1/51, Leninskiye Gory, Moscow, Russia, 119234


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Copyright (c) 2018 Mukhortov D.S.

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