Discourse structure and political performance in adversarial parliamentary questioning
One of the most high-profile and glamorous speech situations to occur in many parliamentary democracies around the world is the spectacle of Question Time. Whereas most of what goes on in parliament may be drab, perfunctory and arcane, Question Time is often dramatic, adversarial, and highly publicised. It is, generally, the only parliamentary procedure to be televised and stands out in the public mind as one of the primary tests of a politicians ability to perform. But how might this performance be judged? Strangely, there has been little systematic linguistic research into the characteristic ways in which this political theatre is stage-managed by its actors. Using the Australian federal parliament as a case study, this paper attempts to elucidate some of the patterns that emerge from a close analysis of all opposition questions directed to government members over a weeks sitting of both the House of Representatives and the Senate. Utilising the tools of systemic functional grammar, recurring discourse structures are identified as standard techniques of formal interrogation between political parties.
Keywords: political discourse, parliamentary questions, Question Time, systemic functional grammar, grammatical metaphor
Published online: 26 May 2008
Cited by 11 other publications
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Blas Arroyo, José Luis
Mah, Catherine L., Bruce Knox, Meghan Lynch & Lynn McIntyre
Patterson, Patrick B., Lynn McIntyre, Laura C. Anderson & Catherine L. Mah
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