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Mockery as a tactic of destructive verbal communication in American political discourse

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The aim of this paper is to analyze the communicative tactic of mockery in American political discourse. The problem of intensification of destructive elements in American political speech requires thorough investigation as political discourse becomes less conventional and more aggressive. In this context mockery is one of the general communicative tactics, which is used for humiliation and verbal assault on the speaker’s opponents. Mocking lets politicians destroy reputation of their competitors, presenting them in a negative way. Not only politicians, but also social, political and economic groups of people can become a target of mockery. The paper draws extensive empiric material to reveal that mockery is often used in pre-election discourse, because the goal of speakers in this kind of political discourse is to prevail over their opponents by all means. The communicative tactic of mockery may include destructive speech elements, e.g. invectives, negative epithets, dysphemism, pejoratives. This communicative tactic may be used along with special mimics, gestures or graphic content (caricature, video in media etc.). The analysis of empiric material proves that mockery rarely has unilateral character and frequently requires a response from the target. Users of this tactic demonstrate disrespect towards each other and try to impress and entertain their voters.

About the Author

Y. Y. Khlopotunov
Tula State Lev Tolstoy Pedagogical University
Russian Federation


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For citations:

Khlopotunov Y.Y. Mockery as a tactic of destructive verbal communication in American political discourse. Professional Discourse & Communication. 2019;1(2):60-70. (In Russ.)

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