Speech Act of Complaint in Political Discourse

Suzana Marković


The paper deals with the ways of realization of speech act of complaining in the political discourse, more precisely, in the three presidential debates between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. The examples of complaint are analyzed from the syntactic aspect. Apart from expressing their complaint with the opponent in a rather explicit way, the politicians tend to use certain strategies to emphasize their dissatisfaction, such as intensification of certain parts of sentence, or several sentences in a row, use of passive voice, interrogative sentences, attention getters etc. The final aim of complaining in the political discourse is to discredit the political opponent and to ensure a bigger number of voters for him/her. The goal of this paper is to point to how certain speech acts, such as the act of complaining which is transferred from purely expressive to a more directive type, can obtain different features when realized in a particular contextual setting, such as presidential debate.


Speech act of complaining; political discourse; directive speech acts; intensification; passivization; interrogative sentences; attention getters;

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