Academic journal article SKASE Journal of Theoretical Linguistics

A Demonstration of the Discourse Dissection Model (DDM) with an Analysis of FD Roosevelt's "Pearl Harbour Address to the Nation"

Academic journal article SKASE Journal of Theoretical Linguistics

A Demonstration of the Discourse Dissection Model (DDM) with an Analysis of FD Roosevelt's "Pearl Harbour Address to the Nation"

Article excerpt

1. Introduction

Political public speech has been an area of interest among critical discourse analysts, social psychologists, political scientists and rhetoricians. They investigate the contexts and the contents of political speeches to understand and expose how political orators create ideologies and exercise power by persuading the audience. They study what has been said and how it has been said and to what effect. However, their approaches of study are different. They seem to be satisfied with the analysis of the context and linguistic content of the speech without considering the paralinguistic factors that add meaning to the linguistic content. The purpose of this paper is to demonstrate the Discourse Dissection Model (DDM) that relates the linguistic to the paralinguistic. In this demonstration, FD Roosevelt's "Pearl Harbour Address to the Nation" has been analyzed to study how various linguistic and paralinguistic persuasive strategies have been used for discursive construction of persuasive discourse in this speech.

Political oratory is essentially persuasive in nature as the political orators try to affect public opinions for their benefit. They construct, reinforce and uphold political ideologies by using various persuasive strategies. Persuasion has been defined as "a conscious attempt by one individual to change the attitudes, beliefs or behavior of another individual or group of individuals through the transmission of some message" (Bettinghaus & Cody 1987: 3). Perloff defines persuasion as "a symbolic process in which communicators try to convince other people to change their attitudes or behavior regarding an issue through the transmission of a message in an atmosphere of free choice" (Perloff 2003: 8). The political orators use various rhetorical devices and persuasive strategies for influencing audience's perception of a certain issue in order to win their support or to motivate them to do some action. These persuasive strategies are linguistic as well as paralinguistic.

Now let us understand what political discourse is, and how a political public speech is different from other genres of political discourse. Political discourse is a class of genres defined by a social domain, namely, politics (van Dijk 2001: 5). It comprises various genres of written and spoken discourse, such as, parliamentary debates, political interviews, public speech, political pamphlets, etc. Public speech is an important genre in the spoken political discourse and it is different from the other genres of political discourse in terms of nature, manner and strategies. For instance, public speech is different from a political interview as political interviews are interactive in nature and the speaker's responses are often guided, interrupted and modified by professional interviewers, while a public speech is a monologue. Similarly, public speech is different from genres of written discourse, such as political pamphlets, as public speech uses various subtle paralinguistic devices of pitch, pause, and pace for conveying various shades of meaning which is not possible in written discourse. As spoken discourse is different from written discourse in terms of manner, medium and strategies, it cannot be analyzed in the same way as written discourse. Hence, spoken discourse (such as, public speech) requires a model of analysis that considers not only the linguistic factors (such as diction and syntax) but the paralinguistic factors also.

In most of the research done so far, public speech has been treated same as written text and almost no attention has been paid to paralinguistic factors, such as, pitch, pause, pace and intensity. Since paralinguistic factors drastically affect meaning, spoken discourse, such as public speech, cannot be treated as written discourse. Hence there is a need of a new model that considers paralinguistic cues alongside linguistic content in the analysis of spoken discourse. …

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