The present study offers an underlying theoretical framework for examining political speeches from a rhetorical perspective. This framework is based on systemic functional linguistics developed by Halliday (most recently updated by Halliday and Matthiessen 2014), and includes discourse structures suggested by later authors. We suggest that the interpersonal stratum of meaning, through which we manage social relations, represents a powerful resource for creating a dialogue with the audience in order to recruit it to a politician’s call for action. To address this issue, we analyzed ten speeches delivered by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to five different international audiences. We examined strategies that foster dialogic interaction with the audience, by directly addressing them, or otherwise acknowledging their presence. The interpersonal strategies we identified combine into larger domains which we term forming social bonds, building a consensus and revealing ideology. These strategies may be salient because they tap into various aspects of the audience’s experience and identity: the social, affective, and ideological spheres.
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