Golubeva T.M. Hyperbole as a Persuasion Tool in Political Discourse (The Case of British Politicians’ Speech)

DOI: https://doi.org/10.15688/jvolsu2.2019.3.16

Tatyana M. Golubeva

Candidate of Sciences (Philology), Associate Professor, Department of Professional Communication in Foreign Languages, Minin State Pedagogical University of Nizhny Novgorod (Minin University)

Ulyanova St., 1, 603950 Nizhny Novgorod, Russia

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Abstract. The article investigates hyperboles as a persuasion tool in British political discourse. The corpus under analysis comprises scripts of speeches by UK Permanent Representative to the UN Karen Pierce, Prime Minister Theresa May and Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson which are devoted to the incident in Salisbury. The research has shown that to describe the event under study the politicians use rhetoric devices that exaggerate its social and political importance. In political discourse hyperboles have an impact on three modes of persuasion – logos, pathos and ethos, but in political communication the effectiveness of a hyperbole as a persuasion tool mainly depends on ethos, i.e. conditions of a speech act which determine the relevance of this rhetorical device and a speaker's personality. In some statements hyperboles are so efficiently embedded the communicative context that they are interpreted literally. In political discourse persuasion is often implemented through the use of hyperboles and other rhetorical devices (analogy, alliteration, anaphora, climax). The evocative character of hyperbole is key to the implementation of its persuasive function in political discourse. Under the influence of the representations evoked by hyperbole, the object of exaggerated description acquires characteristics which quantitatively and, in some cases, qualitatively differ from its real properties.

Key words: hyperbole, persuasive function, logos, pathos, ethos, metaphorical hyperboles, political discourse, evocation.

Citation. Golubeva T.M. Hyperbole as a Persuasion Tool in Political Discourse (The Case of British Politicians' Speech). Vestnik Volgogradskogo gosudarstvennogo universiteta. Seriya 2. Yazykoznanie [Science Journal of Volgograd State University. Linguistics], 2019, vol. 18, no. 3, pp. 195-205. (in Russian). DOI: https://doi.org/10.15688/jvolsu2.2019.3.16

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