Edited by Martina Berrocal and Aleksandra Salamurović
[Discourse Approaches to Politics, Society and Culture 84] 2019
► pp. 147–178
Chapter 7. Impoliteness in parliamentary questions
This chapter aims to examine Polish parliamentary discourse by linking (im)politeness theory with approaches describing questions. To achieve this, a corpus from four Polish Question Times was created, analyzing the degree of impoliteness in all of the 336 questions contained within it. In order to minimize the uncertainty of interpretations concerning the politicians’ intentions, scholarly literature from political sciences on parliamentary questions was also applied. Overall, the quantitative analysis revealed a high occurrence of face threatening acts via questions, and a substantial difference according to the political orientation of the opposition. The use of impolite questions by the right-wing opposition far exceeds the use of similar questions by the left-wing opposition. The qualitative analysis shows the full range of impolite questions, from weakest to strongest. Even within the ruling coalition, MPs deal with face threatening questions attacking their “own” government. They mitigate the face threat by using, for example, indirect formulations or the conditional mood. Apart from that, MPs pose partisan questions which enhance the face of their party’s ministers and simultaneously damage the one of the opposition.