The Emotionality and Complexity of Public Political Language in Canada’s Question Period

Cynthia Whissell

Abstract


Purpose: In order to better understand the impression conveyed by the language of public political discourse occurring in highly regulated settings, it was decided to study words used by politicians from four parties in a random sample of 10 Question Periods from Canada’s 39th Parliament. Data were downloaded from the Hansard Report. In a quantitative textual approach, the language used by speakers was analyzed in terms of its emotional content and linguistic complexity. Findings: In comparison to everyday English, the language of Question Period was complex and emotionally negative. Members of opposition parties asking questions used more negative and arousing words than government members answering them. Women spoke in more pleasant language than men, and addressed different topics. There were also differences among the opposition parties.


Full Text: PDF DOI: 10.5539/ells.v2n4p68

Refbacks

  • There are currently no refbacks.


Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

English Language and Literature Studies   ISSN 1925-4768 (Print)   ISSN 1925-4776 (Online)

Copyright © Canadian Center of Science and Education

To make sure that you can receive messages from us, please add the 'ccsenet.org' domain to your e-mail 'safe list'. If you do not receive e-mail in your 'inbox', check your 'bulk mail' or 'junk mail' folders.