The metadiscourse of “voice”

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Discourse analysis of a sample of arguments about “voice” found in online searches supports tentative conclusions about the normative structure of this concept in ordinary metadiscourse. Centrally concerned with “voice” in the sense of “having voice” (legitimate participation) in a communicative process, the study finds that “voice” in ordinary metadiscourse: (1) is positively valenced; (2) implies a participation framework of principal/principle, agency, communicative process, and dialogized others; and (3) encounters pragmatic problems of legitimacy, strength, and identity that become topics of metadiscursive argumentation. A closer examination of arguments about legitimacy finds that voices are rhetorically (de)legitimized through appeals to (a) abstract principles, (b) personal (un)worthiness, and (c) beneficial or harmful consequences. Keywords: Metadiscourse; voice; argumentation; participation framework; normative valence; legitimation; internet discourse; pragmatics


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