Epistemic stancetaking and speaker objectification in a spatio-cognitive discourse world
A critical contrastive analysis of political discourse
This paper seeks to apply a cognitive-linguistic approach to critical discourse studies in an investigation of epistemic stancetaking and types of inter/subjectivity of the speaker in political discourse. More specifically, the paper presents an analysis of responses by three different politicians, i.e. John Kerry, Bashar al-Assad and Vladimir Putin, to the chemical weapons attack in Syria in August 2013. By incorporating cognitive-linguistic theories in a critical investigation of language, I address diverging representations of the same event and their discursive functions in representing underlying ideologies and motifs of the respective politicians. Specifically, I propose a more nuanced incorporation of epistemic stance in a spatio-cognitive representation of discourse. My analysis shows that type of inter/subjectivity has bearing on the epistemic quality of a proposition. The more prominently a speaker construes him-/herself as evaluator of an event, the stronger his/her assertions become, which is equally visible in a discourse space model.