International Journal of Applied Linguistics

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Volume 10 Issue 1 (June 2000), Pages 3-158

Cliché‐based metadiscursive argumentation in the Houses of Parliament (pages 65-84)

This article puts forward a discourse‐analytical and argumentative framework for the interpretation of clichés used in parliamentary debates. The analysis of their argumentative functions is based on their metadiscursive use and institutional evaluation provided by the cliché‐users, namely British Members of Parliament. Metadiscursively introduced clichés undergo a double evaluation by their utterers: evaluation of the status of the cliché as a discursive strategy in general, and of the appropriateness or validity of the cliché as the bearer of a particular topos in a certain context. The argumentative orientation of political clichés is shown to originate in the speaker's implicit and explicit ideological commitments and to involve a marked, but shifting, polarization in terms of positive and negative values. The most frequent argumentative topoi for the parliamentary clichés in this corpus convey cliché status evaluations in scalar terms, such as ‘old’, and cliché appropriateness evaluations in binary terms, such as ‘true’/‘untrue’.

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