Alignment, ‘politeness’ and implicitness in Chinese political discourse
A case study of the 2018 vaccine scandal
This paper aims to examine the ways in which official Chinese written monologues implicitly trigger alignment with the public in the wake of national social crises. Our understanding of alignment encompasses the attitude of creating an authoritative line of discourse, which in turn triggers the responsive alignment of the receivers with the decision makers. We believe that alignment is a fundamental concept to understand how linguistic politeness operates in political monologues such as gong’gao. Such texts are rich in forms of deference such as honorifics and other ritual phrases used towards Chinese politicians. The reason why such forms of politeness deserve special attention in language and politics is that they are not interpersonal, and their use correlates with implicit communication.
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