Volume 6, Issue 3
  • ISSN 2211-4742
  • E-ISSN: 2211-4750
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  • Strategic maneuvering by personal attacks in spokespersons’ argumentative replies at diplomatic press conferences

    A pragma-dialectical study of the press conferences of the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs

  • Author(s): Wu Peng 1, 2, 3
  • View Affiliations Hide Affiliations
    1 Leiden University
    2 ILIAS
    3 Jiangsu University
  • Source: Journal of Argumentation in Context, Volume 6, Issue 3, Jan 2017, p. 285 - 314
  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1075/jaic.17022.wu
    • Version of Record published : 04 Dec 2017


Within the framework of Pragma-Dialectics, this article analyzes personal attacks in the spokespersons’ replies at the press conferences held by the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs between 2012 and 2015. The research results show that, to cut down the credibility of their opponents in attempting to dismiss them, spokespersons adopt three subtypes of personal attack: the direct, the indirect, and the subtypes. Each of them can be further divided into several variants. Taking account of the institutional preconditions for making argumentative replies at governmental press conferences, this article analyzes how spokespersons maneuver strategically in attacking a secondary audience by means of the various subtypes and variants of personal attack. It then explains how these strategic maneuvers assist the spokespersons in convincing their primary audience.


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