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East, West and Westminster: A corpus-based study of UK foreign policy statements regarding the unification of Germany, October 1989 to November 1990

Appleton, Stephen 2021. East, West and Westminster: A corpus-based study of UK foreign policy statements regarding the unification of Germany, October 1989 to November 1990. Journal of Corpora and Discourse Studies 4 , pp. 39-62. 10.18573/jcads.52

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Abstract

This paper is a study of the language used to articulate UK foreign policy regarding the unification of Germany. It identifies events which drove changes in UK policy and explores changes in ministers’ discourse as the government’s policy evolved. The primary source material is a bespoke corpus extracted from Hansard, the official report on proceedings in the UK Parliament. It comprises the words attributed to the Prime Minister, Foreign Secretary and his ministerial team between October 1989 and November 1990. The paper identifies lexical items that are more frequent in speeches and statements relating to Germany than in the corpus as a whole and which display a large change in frequency within the period. Through quantitative and qualitative analysis, it identifies distinct features of ministers’ discourse that correlate with phases of policy. These include the prominence of Germany in ministers’ discourse; ministers’ lexical choices; and changes in the seniority of the ministers delivering the discourse. It also identifies one aspect of ministers’ discourse that does not change in a way that correlates with phases of policy: their descriptions of the Warsaw Pact.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: English, Communication and Philosophy
Subjects: J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
J Political Science > JZ International relations
P Language and Literature > P Philology. Linguistics
Publisher: Cardiff University Press
ISSN: 2515-0251
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 7 May 2021
Date of Acceptance: 18 February 2021
Last Modified: 07 May 2021 10:20
URI: http://orca.cardiff.ac.uk/id/eprint/140992

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