Follow-ups in broadcast political discourse

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The concept of the follow-up as the third element of a sequential triad wasoriginally formulated in the context of classroom discourse by Sinclair andCoulthard (1975). In this chapter, it is applied to the analysis of three distinctgenres of political discourse: speeches, interviews, and parliamentary questions.Illustrative examples are drawn from television broadcasts with Britishpoliticians. It is proposed that the concepts of the follow-up and the sequentialtriad can be usefully applied to all three genres of political discourse. Theirapplication also highlights significant gaps in the current research literature,most notably, how both interviewers and politicians follow up equivocal andunequivocal responses by politicians to questions. In addition, it is argued thatthe concept of the follow-up can be usefully extended beyond the sequentialtriad to analyze not only sequential interactions over time, but also variousforms of political action within and outside parliament.


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