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The language of power is found in
different contexts...
The purpose of political language is to persuade. To achieve this,
politicians use rhetorical devices (rhetoric is the art of using
language persuasively).
1. Repetition ­ those who betray their party, betray themselves
2. Three-part lists ­ He came he saw he conquered
3. First person plural pronoun (we) ­ We must strive together for
the better health of the nation
4. Figurative language ­ Under our leadership, the winter of
discontent has become a summer of prosperity
5. Rhetoric questions ­ How much longer must our people endure
this injustice?
6. Hyperbole (exaggeration) ­ Plague would be a better option than
the health policies proposed…read more

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Legal language...
1. Legal language is quite distinctive ­ it has it's own
lexis. The specific vocabulary used by an
occupational group is known as jargon.
2. The syntax is often complex, with lots of
subordinate clauses. It's also repetitive.
3. Because it's so complex, knowledge of this language
gives specialists a distinct advantage over non-
specialists. This means that lawyers have a lot of
power ­ if their clients don't fully understand the
difficult jargon, then they have to trust that their
lawyers understand it and deal with their case
poperly.…read more

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1. The language of power is seen in schools, colleges
and universities. The language of education reflects
the power structures in schools.
2. Teachers often use imperatives ­ open your books
and direct questions ­ what's the answer to question
3. Students use fewer imperatives and ask more
indirect questions ­ is it ok if I go to the toilet?
4. There's often an imbalance in address terms ­
students might use respectful address terms to the
teacher like sir, or title + surname constructions
(Ms Smith), while teachers just use the students first
name. This shows an understanding that the
teacher has authority.…read more

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1. Power structures in the language of
business are very similar to those in
education ­ managers may speak more
directly to their employees may use more
politeness strategies and fewer
2. The hierarchical structure of many businesses
is shown in nouns such as subordinate,
superior, team leader, and chief
executive.…read more

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Address terms show power
What people call each other can reveal power relationships. As with
everything, they vary in different contexts.
Context... Form of address...
Politics Madam/Mr Speaker,
Honourable Member
Law Your Honour, Ladies and
Gentlemen of the jury
Education Sir, Miss, Mr Briggs, Ms
Briggs, Dr/Professor
Business Madam chair, Sir, Madam
Look out for imbalances in address terms, because they can reveal unequal
power relationships.…read more

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