"And I Think That Is a Very Straightforward Way of Dealing With It'': The Communicative Function of Cognitive Verbs in Political Discourse

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This contribution examines the distribution and communicative function of cognitive verbs in political discourse, giving particular attention to their impact on the expression of commitment. From a semantic viewpoint, cognitive verbs are seen as a means of subjectification expressing the speaker's attitude towards proposition and force whereas, from a discursive perspective, they are assigned the status of multifunctional devices expressing different types and different degrees of commitment. Part I analyzes the semantics and pragmatics of cognitive verbs, in particular those of think. Part II examines their particularized form and function in political discourse, accommodating both quantitative and qualitative perspectives. It shows that cognitive verbs tend to co-occur with other linguistic devices expressing commitment, thus illustrating their fine-grained interplay in the presentation of the political agent. The particularized use of cognitive verbs is assigned the status of a contextualization device, inviting the addressees to adopt the speaker's perspective and interpret a communicative contribution accordingly. © 2008 Sage Publications.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Language and Social Psychology
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)384-396
Number of pages13
Publication statusPublished - 01.12.2008

    Research areas

  • English - Cognitive verbs, Commitment, Intersubjectivity, Political interview, Political speech, Strategic interaction