Why do politicians cite others in political debates?
A functional analysis of reported speech in a Japanese political debate
Politicians often quote opponents in political debates so as to highlight contradictions between the opponents’ prior statements and their current political actions, thus construing their political character negatively. From a dialogic perspective, reported speech, alternatively termed “extra-vocalisation”, can be defined as a tool used by speakers to deny alternative points of view and justify their own positions, while simultaneously positioning the audience in agreement with the speaker’s own views. Drawing on this notion of extra-vocalisation, the current study analyses a Japanese political debate to show how politicians use different types of voice to validate their own political ideologies and devalue opposing views. In doing so, the study also identifies the relevant linguistic resources of Japanese in order to show how dialogic positioning via extra-vocalisation is manifested in Japanese, and highlight the fact each language provides its own resources to convey such meanings.