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Political Language

2. Analysing Political Language

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About this Lecture


In this module, we think about how we go about analysing political language, focusing in particular on: (i) the importance of prefixes and suffixes in framing an issue, e.g. the use of the suffix 'gate'; (ii) the importance of particular words in framing an issue, including the use of the word 'smart' to describe (e.g.) smart motorways, the different words used to describe foreign governments, the avoidance of the word 'tax' to describe what are in effect taxes, and neologisms such as 'snowflake', 'gammon' and 'woke'; (iii) the use of stories and narratives as opposed to be facts and statistics to increase engagement in a topic; (iv) competing narratives: when two (or more) sides describe or explain the same event in different ways; and (v) the means by which we can measure the success of political language, from electoral success to audience reactions.


In this course, Professor Jonathan Charteris-Black (UWE Bristol) explores political language. In the first module, we explore the various definitions of political language, before turning in the second module to think about the different levels at which political language can be analysed, from parts of words (e.g. the suffix –gate) to whole narratives. In the third module, we think about the metaphor of war in political discourse, while in the fourth module we think about the kind of language that emerged and was used during the Covid-19 pandemic. Finally, in the fifth module, we think about the concepts of style and character in relation to various political figures, including Tony Blair, Gordon Brown, Boris Johnson, Jacob Rees-Mogg, Greta Thunberg and Dominic Cummings.


Prof. Jonathan Charteris-Black is Professor in Linguistics at UWE Bristol. His recent publications include Metaphors of Brexit: No cherries on the cake? (2019) and Analysing Political Speeches: Rhetoric, Discourse and Metaphor (2018).

Cite this Lecture

APA style

Charteris-Black, J. (2022, April 11). Political Language - Analysing Political Language [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Charteris-Black, J. "Political Language – Analysing Political Language." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 11 Apr 2022,