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Chapter 1. Genres in political discourse

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Abstract

The first part of this chapter provides an overview of the current state of genre theory in various fields of linguistics and discourse analysis. Based on this overview, a set of common features of genre definitions is presented that provides the theoretical basis for the empirical investigation. In the empirical part, the inaugural speeches of three Austrian chancellors (representing the two big Austrian political parties) during the last ten years are analyzed. After a short discussion of relevant contextual features (production process, audience design), lexical characteristics, generic and topical structures, and the co-articulation of topics are analyzed. Results show that, although delivered by politicians from two different political backgrounds, the speeches share many features in terms of lexis and generic structure. Differences become manifest at the topic structure and the co-articulation of topics. In conclusion, it is argued that a politically sensitive genre analysis must not only focus on generic features of political texts but also investigate registers and discourses which are realized in these texts.

References

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