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Nominal terms of address in EU-parliamentary French debate.Polyphony and Argumentation
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Languages, Department of Modern Languages, Romance Languages.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-0433-2064
2011 (English)Conference paper, Abstract (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Nominal terms of address in EU-parliamentary French debate.

Polyphony and Argumentation.


The purpose of this paper is to examine how nominal terms of address (TA) are used as a rhetorical strategy in political discourse, more specifically in a parliamentary setting. Our empirical hypothesis is that TAs represent a frequent, typical and powerful strategy to impose the responsibility of a point of view on the addressee, who thus is included in the argumentation of the speaker.

This claim is related to the genre of parliamentary deliberation. Previous research has been undertaken on dialogical genres: the typical function of TAs in the turn-taking system (Anglemark 2009, Sutinen 2009) and in the negotiation of interpersonal relations between the participants (Brown and Gilman 1960, Ilie 2009).

We will show that the use of TAs is determined by the genre in which they occur, in this case parliamentary deliberation. Formally it is a monologue, but with clear manifestations of polyphony. Besides the protocolar use of TAs, the typical function is argumentative. Further, we will argue that this argumentative function of the polyphonic use of TAs varies depending on the time framing of the argument, i.e., whether the point of view is placed in the future, the present or the past.

On a theoretical and methodological level, we will apply the extended Scandinavian theory of linguistic polyphony, ScaPoLine (abbreviation for “la théorie SCAndinave de la POlyphonie LINguistiquE”) (Nølke, Fløttum, Norén 2004). Since this approach combines both the linguistic and the discourse level, it provides guidelines for extending the analyses from a micro-linguistic to a macro-linguistic (textual and discursive) level.

This study is based on C-Parleur. Corpus de discours du PARLement EURopéen consisting of 919 speeches during the debates delivered by the 78 French MPs during the period April 2006 – March 2008.





Brown, R. & A. Gilman, 1960, The pronouns of power and solidarity. In: Thomas A. Sebeok, Editor, Style in Language, Technology Press of Massachusetts Institute of Technology, New York/London.

Ilie, C., 2009, Strategic uses of parliamentary forms of address: The case of the U.K. Parliament and the Swedish Riksdag. Journal of Pragmatics. 42/4, pp. 885-911.

Nølke, H, Fløttum, K. & C. Norén, 2004, ScaPoLine - La théorie SCandinave de la POlyphonie LinguistiquE. Paris: Kimé.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Keyword [en]
terms of address, parliamentary discourse, polyphony
National Category
Languages and Literature Specific Languages
Research subject
Romance Languages
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-280462OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-280462DiVA: diva2:910900
Rhetorics in Society, Antwerpen, Belgium
Available from: 2016-03-10 Created: 2016-03-10 Last updated: 2016-03-10

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