Volume 9, Issue 2
  • ISSN 2213-1272
  • E-ISSN: 2213-1280
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On October 9, 2012 Malala Yousafzai, a Pakistani schoolgirl, was severely wounded by a Taliban assassin’s bullet. This was the culmination of a history of conflict in the Swat valley region of north-western Pakistan. The historical, ethnic, political and religious reasons for this conflict are manifold. After several surgeries in Pakistan and Great Britain, Malala Yousafzai miraculously recovered from her serious injuries and was even able to give a speech at the United Nations Youth Assembly on her 16th birthday on July 12, 2013.

In this paper, Malala Yousafzai’s speech will be analysed in some detail regarding her main arguments and verbal presentation strategies. Furthermore, I will focus on the way Malala Yousafzai deals with both the verbal and non-verbal aggression of the Taliban. I would also like to show how determined she is to argue against the Taliban’s escalation of the conflict without letting herself getting entangled in a spiral of verbal violence.

The theoretical framework for this analysis and the critical evaluation of the speech will be the concept of “strategic maneuvering” as developed by van Eemeren (20102018) within his framework of Pragma-Dialectics. This concept has frequently been applied to the analysis of political discourse (see e.g. Kienpointner 20132017).


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