image of Pronoun shifts in political discourse
Buy:$35.00 + Taxes



This article examines the English translations of former Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha’s statements on the international stage and the shifts in the first-person pronoun. Looking at interpersonal positioning through a systemic functional linguistic lens, we found that the translations underline the explicitness of agency, highlighting the variation of stylistic choices and interplay with source-text politics. The shifts come with a modified degree of willingness, a more active agency, an increase in the modality of inclination, and more force in attitude. These interpersonal overtones largely contribute to recasting the image of the Thai government to ensure its legitimacy, promote national unity, and appeal to the international community. These crafted translated texts seem to hone the leader’s public persona in front of global audiences by continuing to enhance the country’s reputation, thereby maintaining the speaker’s dignity and prestige–an essential for the national leader’s image.


Article metrics loading...

Loading full text...

Full text loading...


  1. Adolphsen, Manuel
    2014Communication Strategies of Governments and NGOs: Engineering Global Discourse at High-Level International Summits. Wiesbaden: Springer. 10.1007/978‑3‑658‑05504‑2
    https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-658-05504-2 [Google Scholar]
  2. Alderman, Petra, and Kristin Anabel Eggeling
    2023 “Vision Documents, Nation Branding and the Legitimation of Non-democratic Regimes.” Geopolitics. Ahead-of-print. 10.1080/14650045.2023.2165441
    https://doi.org/10.1080/14650045.2023.2165441 [Google Scholar]
  3. Aroonmanakun, Wirote
    2000 “Zero Pronoun Resolution in Thai: A Centering Approach”. InInternational Conference on Human and Machine Processing of Language and Speech. Bangkok: National Electronic and Computer Technology Center.
    [Google Scholar]
  4. Chen, Shukun, Winfred Wenhui Xuan, and Hailing Yu
    2022 “Applying Systemic Functional Linguistics in Translation Studies: A Research Synthesis.” Babel: International Journal of Translation (): –. 10.1075/babel.00275.che
    https://doi.org/10.1075/babel.00275.che [Google Scholar]
  5. Chilton, Paul, and Christina Schäffner
    2002 “Introduction: Themes and Principles in the Analysis of Political Discourse”. InPolitics as Text and Talk: Analytic Approaches to Political Discourse, edited byPaul Chilton and Christina Schäffner, –. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. 10.1075/dapsac.4.03chi
    https://doi.org/10.1075/dapsac.4.03chi [Google Scholar]
  6. Carreon, Jonathan Rante, and Chavalin Svetanant
    2017 “What Lies Underneath a Political Speech?: Critical Discourse Analysis of Thai PM’s Political Speeches Aired on the TV Programme Returning Happiness to the People.” Open Linguistics (): –. 10.1515/opli‑2017‑0032
    https://doi.org/10.1515/opli-2017-0032 [Google Scholar]
  7. Chekin, Leonid S.
    2023 “First Secretary Gierek, President Carter, and the President’s Polish Interpreter: An Analysis of an Awkward Diplomatic Encounter Based on New Archival Evidence.” Babel: International Journal of Translation (): –. 10.1075/babel.00344.che
    https://doi.org/10.1075/babel.00344.che [Google Scholar]
  8. Desatova, Petra
    2018 “Thailand 4.0 and the Internal Focus of Nation Branding.” Asian Studies Review (): –. 10.1080/10357823.2018.1512555
    https://doi.org/10.1080/10357823.2018.1512555 [Google Scholar]
  9. Desatova, Petra, and Saowanee T. Alexande
    2021 “Election Commissions and Non-democratic Outcomes: Thailand’s Contentious 2019 Election.” Politics (): –. 10.1177/02633957211000978
    https://doi.org/10.1177/02633957211000978 [Google Scholar]
  10. Dinnie, Keith
    2016Nation Branding: Concepts, Issues, Practice. London: Routledge.
    [Google Scholar]
  11. Doungphummes, Nuntiya, Narongdej Phanthaphoommee, and Mark Vicars
    2023 “Disrupting the Simulacrum of Normalcy.” InGlobal LGBTQ Activism: Social Media, Digital Technologies, and Protest Mechanisms, edited byParomita Pain, –. New York: Routledge. 10.4324/9781003395805‑13
    https://doi.org/10.4324/9781003395805-13 [Google Scholar]
  12. Dubbati, Barkuzar, and Haneen Abudayeh
    2018 “The Translator as an Activist: Reframing Conflict in the Arabic Translation of Sacco’s Footnotes in Gaza.” The Translator (): –. 10.1080/13556509.2017.1382662
    https://doi.org/10.1080/13556509.2017.1382662 [Google Scholar]
  13. Fu, Rongbo
    2016 “Comparing Modal Patterns in Chinese-English Interpreted and Translated Discourses in Diplomatic Setting.” Babel: International Journal of Translation (): –. 10.1075/babel.62.1.06fu
    https://doi.org/10.1075/babel.62.1.06fu [Google Scholar]
  14. Galloway, Alison
    2005 “Non-Probability Sampling.” InThe Encyclopedia of Social Measurement, edited byKimberly Kempf-Leonard, –. Amsterdam: Elsevier. 10.1016/B0‑12‑369398‑5/00382‑0
    https://doi.org/10.1016/B0-12-369398-5/00382-0 [Google Scholar]
  15. Gadavanij, Savitri
    2020 “Contentious Polities and Political Polarization in Thailand: Post-Thaksin Reflections.” Discourse & Society (): –. 10.1177/0957926519877695
    https://doi.org/10.1177/0957926519877695 [Google Scholar]
  16. Gao, Fei
    2021 “Making Sense of Nationalism Manifested in Interpreted Texts at ‘Summer Davos’ in China.” Critical Discourse Studies (): –. 10.1080/17405904.2020.1834420
    https://doi.org/10.1080/17405904.2020.1834420 [Google Scholar]
  17. Gao, Fei, and Jeremy Munday
    2023 “Interpreter Ideology: ‘Editing’ Discourse in Simultaneous Interpreting.” Interpreting (): –. 10.1075/intp.00084.gao
    https://doi.org/10.1075/intp.00084.gao [Google Scholar]
  18. Gu, Chonglong
    2019 “Mediating ‘Face’ in Triadic Political Communication: A CDA Analysis of Press Conference Interpreters’ Discursive (Re)construction of Chinese Government’s Image (1998–2017).” Critical Discourse Studies (): –. 10.1080/17405904.2018.1538890
    https://doi.org/10.1080/17405904.2018.1538890 [Google Scholar]
  19. Gu, Chonglong, and Rebecca Tipton
    2020 “(Re-)voicing Beijing’s Discourse through Self-Referentiality: A Corpus-based CDA Analysis of Government Interpreters’ Discursive Mediation at China’s Political Press Conferences (1998–2017).” Perspectives (): –. 10.1080/0907676X.2020.1717558
    https://doi.org/10.1080/0907676X.2020.1717558 [Google Scholar]
  20. Halliday, Michael Alexander Kirkwood and Christian M. I. M. and Michael Alexander Kirkwood Halliday
    2014Halliday’s Introduction to Functional Grammar. (4th ed.). London: Routledge. 10.4324/9780203783771
    https://doi.org/10.4324/9780203783771 [Google Scholar]
  21. Hongjanya, Krit
    2019 “Nation Branding Based on Semiotic Analysis: A Case Study of Thailand Brand.” Ph.D., diss., National Institute of Development Administration, Thailand. NIDA Wisdom Repository. https://repository.nida.ac.th/handle/662723737/6393
  22. Hongladarom, Soraj
    2021 “The Thailand National AI Ethics Guideline: An Analysis.” Journal of Information, Communication and Ethics in Society (): –. 10.1108/JICES‑01‑2021‑0005
    https://doi.org/10.1108/JICES-01-2021-0005 [Google Scholar]
  23. Hu, Kaibao, and Xiaoqian Li
    2022 “The Image of the Chinese Government in the English Translations of Report on the Work of the Government: A Corpus-Based Study.” Asia Pacific Translation and Intercultural Studies (): –. 10.1080/23306343.2022.2066814
    https://doi.org/10.1080/23306343.2022.2066814 [Google Scholar]
  24. Huang, Xiaocong
    2013 “Transitivity in English-Chinese Literary Translation.” Babel: International Journal of Translation (): –. 10.1075/babel.59.1.06hua
    https://doi.org/10.1075/babel.59.1.06hua [Google Scholar]
  25. Human Rights Watch
    Human Rights Watch 2023 “Thailand: Event of 2022.” Human Rights Watch. Accessed13 October 2023. https://www.hrw.org/world-report/2023/country-chapters/thailand
    [Google Scholar]
  26. Íñigo-Mora, Isabel
    2004 “On the Use of the Personal Pronoun We in Communities.” Journal of Language and Politics (): –. 10.1075/jlp.3.1.05ini
    https://doi.org/10.1075/jlp.3.1.05ini [Google Scholar]
  27. Jindapitak, Naratip
    2019 “English as an ASEAN Lingua Franca and the Role of Nativeness in English Education in Thailand: Moving toward the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC).” English Today (): –. 10.1017/S026607841800024X
    https://doi.org/10.1017/S026607841800024X [Google Scholar]
  28. Kullavanijaya, Pranee
    2000 “Power and Intimacy: A Contradiction in a Thai Personal Pronoun. Oceanic Linguistics Special Publications: –. https://www.jstor.org/stable/20000142
    [Google Scholar]
  29. Kim, Mira, and Zhi Huang
    2012 “Theme Choices in Translation and Target Readers’ Reactions to Different Theme Choices.” T&I Review: –.
    [Google Scholar]
  30. Kim, Mira, and Christian M. I. M. Matthiessen
    2015 “Ways to Move forward in Translation Studies: A Textual Perspective.” Target (): –. 10.1075/target.27.3.01kim
    https://doi.org/10.1075/target.27.3.01kim [Google Scholar]
  31. Kuo, Sai-Hua
    2002 “From Solidarity to Antagonism: The Uses of the Second-Person Singular Pronoun in Chinese Political Discourse.” Text & Talk (): –. 10.1515/text.2002.004
    https://doi.org/10.1515/text.2002.004 [Google Scholar]
  32. Lee, Changsoo
    2016 “A Corpus-based Investigation of Theme Choice in English Translations of Korean Online Tourist Texts–with Focus on Interactional Themes.” Perspectives (): –. 10.1080/0907676X.2015.1071858
    https://doi.org/10.1080/0907676X.2015.1071858 [Google Scholar]
  33. Li, Xin, and Ranran Zhang
    2021 “The Diplomatic Interpreter’s Negotiation of Power and Solidarity through Engagement Choices: A Case Study of the Chinese Foreign Minister’s 2018 Press Conference.” Discourse, Context & Media, . 10.1016/j.dcm.2020.100459
    https://doi.org/10.1016/j.dcm.2020.100459 [Google Scholar]
  34. Martin, James Robert, and Peter R. White
    2005The Language of Evaluation: Appraisal in English. London: Palgrave Macmillan. 10.1057/9780230511910
    https://doi.org/10.1057/9780230511910 [Google Scholar]
  35. Martin, James Robert, and David Rose
    2007Working with Discourse: Meaning beyond the Clause, 2nd ed.. London: Bloomsbury.
    [Google Scholar]
  36. McCargo, Duncan, and Saowanee T. Alexander
    2019 “Thailand’s 2019 Elections: A State of Democratic Dictatorship?” Asia Policy (): –. 10.1353/asp.2019.0050
    https://doi.org/10.1353/asp.2019.0050 [Google Scholar]
  37. McCargo, Duncan, and Petra Desatova
    2016 “Thailand: Electoral Intimidation.” InElecting Peace: Violence Prevention and Impact at the Polls, edited byJonas Claes, –. Washington, D.C.: United Institute of Peace Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  38. Munday, Jeremy
    2007 “Translation and Ideology: A Textual Approach.” The Translator (): –. 10.1080/13556509.2007.10799238
    https://doi.org/10.1080/13556509.2007.10799238 [Google Scholar]
  39. 2012aEvaluation in Translation: Critical Points of Translator Decision-Making. London: Routledge. 10.4324/9780203117743
    https://doi.org/10.4324/9780203117743 [Google Scholar]
  40. 2012b “New Directions in Discourse Analysis for Translation: A Study of Decision-Making in Crowdsourced Subtitles of Obama’s 2012 State of the Union Speech. Language and Intercultural Communication (): –. 10.1080/14708477.2012.722099
    https://doi.org/10.1080/14708477.2012.722099 [Google Scholar]
  41. 2017 “Engagement and Graduation Resources as Markers of Translator/Interpreter Positioning.” InDiscourse Analysis in Translation Studies, edited byJeremy Munday and Meifang Zhang, –. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. 10.1075/bct.94.05mun
    https://doi.org/10.1075/bct.94.05mun [Google Scholar]
  42. Nanni, Alexander
    2021 “Educational Entrepreneurship in an Intensive English Program in Thailand: A Case Study.” SAGE Open (). 10.1177/2158244021998694
    https://doi.org/10.1177/2158244021998694 [Google Scholar]
  43. Olohan, Maeve, and Mona Baker
    2000 “Reporting That in Translated English; Evidence for Subconscious Processes of Explicitation?” Across Languages and Cultures (): –. 10.1556/Acr.1.2000.2.1
    https://doi.org/10.1556/Acr.1.2000.2.1 [Google Scholar]
  44. Partridge, Brian
    2000Making Sense of Discourse Analysis. Queensland: AEE Publishing.
    [Google Scholar]
  45. Patpong, Patpong
    2006 “A Systemic Functional Interpretation of Thai Grammar: An Exploration of Thai Narrative Discourse.” Ph.D., diss., Macquarie University, Australia.
  46. Phanthaphoommee, Narongdej
    2021 “The Generic Structure of the Thai Prime Minister’s Weekly Address.” Indonesian Journal of Applied Linguistics (): –. 10.17509/ijal.v11i1.34662
    https://doi.org/10.17509/ijal.v11i1.34662 [Google Scholar]
  47. 2022a “Towards the Study of Political Text and Translation in Thailand: A Case Study of Thai Translations of Biden’s Inaugural Address.” rEFLections (): –. 10.61508/refl.v29i1.257064
    https://doi.org/10.61508/refl.v29i1.257064 [Google Scholar]
  48. 2022b “Translation of Pronouns and Deictic Positioning in the Thai Prime Minister’s Weekly Addresses.” KEMANUSIAAN: The Asian Journal of Humanities (): –. 10.21315/kajh2022.29.2.2
    https://doi.org/10.21315/kajh2022.29.2.2 [Google Scholar]
  49. 2023 “Saving Face of the ‘Saviour’: The Translations of the Thai Prime Minister’s 2015 Press Interview and the 2020 National Address.” GEMA Online Journal of Language Studies (): –. 10.17576/gema‑2023‑2301‑17
    https://doi.org/10.17576/gema-2023-2301-17 [Google Scholar]
  50. Romagnuolo, Anna
    2009 “Political Discourse in Translation: A Corpus-Basd Perspective on Presidential Inaugurals.” Translation and Interpreting Studies (): –. 10.1075/tis.4.1.01rom
    https://doi.org/10.1075/tis.4.1.01rom [Google Scholar]
  51. Sarkar, Anoop
    1998 “The Conflict between Future Tense and Modality: The Case of Will in English.” University of Pennsylvania Working Papers in Linguistics (): –.
    [Google Scholar]
  52. Schäffner, Christina
    2012 “Unknown Agents in Translated Political Discourse.” Target (): –. 10.1075/target.24.1.07sch
    https://doi.org/10.1075/target.24.1.07sch [Google Scholar]
  53. Sopranzetti, Claudio
    2016 “Thailand’s Relapse: The Implications of the May 2014 Coup.” The Journal of Asian Studies (): –. 10.1017/S0021911816000462
    https://doi.org/10.1017/S0021911816000462 [Google Scholar]
  54. Sukgasi, Benjarat
    2020 “English-Thai Interpreters’ Use of Direct Style Interpreting: The Effect of Gender-specific Pronouns and Formality-Marking Particles in Thai.” Intercultural Communication Review: –. 10.14992/00019160
    https://doi.org/10.14992/00019160 [Google Scholar]
  55. Techawongstien, Koraya, and Narongdej Phanthaphoommee
    2022 “Unintentional Containment of the Contaminated: The Role of Translation and Interpreting during the COVID-19 Crisis in Thailand.” The Journal of Internationalization and Localization (): –. 10.1075/jial.00026.tec
    https://doi.org/10.1075/jial.00026.tec [Google Scholar]
  56. Thompson, Geoff
    2014Introducing Functional Grammar, 3rd ed.. London: Routledge. 10.4324/9780203785270
    https://doi.org/10.4324/9780203785270 [Google Scholar]
  57. Uckaradejdumrong, Pichai
    2016 “A Systemic Functional Approach to Analyzing Thai Pronouns.” SAGE Open (). 10.1177/2158244016663801
    https://doi.org/10.1177/2158244016663801 [Google Scholar]
  58. van Dijk, Teun A.
    1998Ideology: A Multidisciplinary Approach. London: SAGE.
    [Google Scholar]
  59. Windsor, Leah, Nia Dowell, Alistair Windsor, and John Kaltner
    2018 “Leader Language and Political Survival Strategies.” International Interactions (): –. 10.1080/03050629.2017.1345737
    https://doi.org/10.1080/03050629.2017.1345737 [Google Scholar]
  60. Yu, Hailing, and Canzhong Wu
    2020 “Functions of the Pronoun ‘We’ in the English Translations of Chinese Government Reports.” InAdvances in Discourse Analysis of Translation and Interpreting: Linking Linguistic Approaches with Sociocultural Interpretation, edited byBinhua Wang and Jeremy Munday, –. London: Routledge. 10.4324/9780367822446‑8
    https://doi.org/10.4324/9780367822446-8 [Google Scholar]
  61. Zhan, Cheng
    2012 “Mediation through Personal Pronoun Shifts in Dialogue Interpreting of Political Meetings.” Interpreting (): –. 10.1075/intp.14.2.04zha
    https://doi.org/10.1075/intp.14.2.04zha [Google Scholar]
  62. Zhang, Meifang
    2009 “Social Context and Translation of Public Notices.” Babel: International Journal of Translation (): –. 10.1075/babel.55.2.03zha
    https://doi.org/10.1075/babel.55.2.03zha [Google Scholar]
  63. Zhang, Xiaomin, Haidee Kotze, and Jing Fang
    2020 “Explicitation in Children’s Literature Translated from English to Chinese: A Corpus-Based Study of Personal Pronouns.” Perspectives (): –. 10.1080/0907676X.2019.1689276
    https://doi.org/10.1080/0907676X.2019.1689276 [Google Scholar]
  64. Zeng, Weizin, and Dechao Li
    2023 “Presenting China’s image through the translation of comments: a case study of the WeChat subscription account of Reference News.” Perspectives (): –. 10.1080/0907676X.2021.1960397
    https://doi.org/10.1080/0907676X.2021.1960397 [Google Scholar]
  65. Zufferey, Sandrine, and Bruno Cartoni
    2014 “A Multifactorial Analysis of Explicitation in Translation.” Target (): –. 10.1075/target.26.3.02zuf
    https://doi.org/10.1075/target.26.3.02zuf [Google Scholar]

Data & Media loading...

This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was successful
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error