A CORPUS-BASED DISCOURSE STUDY OF IDENTITY CONSTRUCTION IN POLITICAL DISCOURSE
International Journal of Language Academy
This study provides a framework for the way stance and evaluation function to construct identity in political discourse. The approach adopted in this study is mixed method paradigm where tools of corpus linguistics are used including keyness and concordance reading. The analysis shows the association between evaluative expressions and the construction of the political self on the one hand, and stance resources and how the way they index subjectivity through identifying their co-selections on
... other. It investigates the way politicians exercise epistemic control to enhance or mitigate the certainty of their assertions; such as (im) personal factive predicates (e.g. I know) and epistemic expressions of subjective beliefs (e.g. I believe). It reveals that positive evaluation is used to express stance attributed to identityrelated terms in defining Obama's administration. Co-occurring with identity-related words, 'we believe' cooccurs with deontic modalityand backgrounding of social actors in making altruistic promises. 'I believe' cooccurs with epistemic stance, but the evaluation is attributed to the political self. The parenthetical 'we know' is associated with hypothetical future and prediction expressed with certainty in legitimating policies. Similarly, 'I know' is used to emphasise the epistemic stance in a linguistic context where cause conjunctions are co-selected as a legitimating strategy for positive self-presentation. Thus, evaluating an action and taking a stance are accompanied either with manipulative or legitimating strategies which is a new insight into the study of political discourse and this is what makes this study significant as it fills a gap in knowledge. Based on the findings, the study presents a new model illustrating the intersection of stance and evaluation in constructing attitudinal identity and representing the role played by these two linguistic resources in legitimating claimsand expressing attitudes.