Code-Switching as Strategically Employed in Political Discourse
There is extensive scholarship in the field of sociolinguistics on mediated political discourse as strategically employed to gain support in the run-up to and during elections. Among other things, this work reveals that the rhetorical success of politicians greatly depends on their ability to get the right balance between the expression of authority and solidarity in their speech performances. The use of code-switching in achieving such balance has been touched upon in some case studies but never studied in depth. I analyse the speech of Boyko Borisov, now Prime Minister of Bulgaria (and at the time of recording, a candidate for the position), in the framework of Bell’s (1984) audience and referee design theory, with reference to Myers Scotton and Ury’s (1977) views on code-switching. Borisov is found to employ two codes, a standard and a nonstandard one, characteristic of two different personae of his: the authoritative politician and the folksy, regular person. Depending on the situation, he chooses to act out either just one of these personae or both of them by switching between the two codes, thus maintaining the aforementioned vital balance between the expression of power and solidarity. The analysis reveals that the switches occur at specific points in the conversation, in line with existing theory on metaphorical code-switching, confirming that they are strategic in nature rather than random or accidental.
Bell, Allan. 1984. Language style as audience design. Language in Society 13(2):145–204.
Bell, Allan. 2001. Back in style: Reworking audience design. In Style and Sociolinguistic Variation, ed. P. Eckert and J. Rickford, 139–169. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
Blom, Jan-Petter, and John Gumperz. 1972. Social meaning in linguistic structures: Code switching in Northern Norway. In Directions in Sociolinguistics: The Ethnography of Communication, ed. J. Gumperz and D. Hymes, 407–434. New York: Holt, Rinehart, and Winston.
Borisov, Boyko. 2014a. Boyko Borisov: Neka RB se darzhi po-uvazhitelno, zashtoto e losho da lizhesh, tam kadeto plyuesh [Video]. Accessed 1 October 2014, URL https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kytj4GoDqfY
Borisov, Boyko. 2014b. Kmetat na s. Velishane kam Borisov: Razreshihte 25-godishniya problem s vodosnabdyavaneto [Video]. Accessed 1 October 2014, URL https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iX0L3BYBIpg
Boussofara-Omar, Naima. 2006. Learning the ‘linguistic habitus’ of a politician: A presidential authoritative voice in the making. Journal of Language and Politics 5(3):325–358.
Boyadzhiev, Yasen. 2011. Smeshnosramnostrashno [Blog post, Deutsche Welle]. Accessed 20 November 2014, URL http://dw.de/p/117BM “Boyko Borissov”. n.d. [Wikipedia entry]. Accessed 8 November 2014, URL http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boyko_Borisov
Brown, Roger, and Albert Gilman. 1960. The pronouns of power and solidarity. In Style in Language, ed. T. Sebeok, 253–276. Cambridge, Mass: MIT Press.
Corner, John. 2000. Mediated persona and political culture: Dimensions of structure and process. European Journal of Cultural Studies 3(3):386–402.
Coupland, Nikolas. 2001. Language, situation, and the relational self: Theorizing dialect-style in sociolinguistics. In Style and Sociolinguistic Variation, ed. P. Eckert and J. Rickford, 185–210. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
Craig, Geoffrey. 2013. How does a Prime Minister speak? Kevin Rudd’s discourse, habitus, and negotiation of the journalistic and political fields. Journal of Language and Politics 12(4):485–507.
Hristozova, Galya. 2001. Yatov preglas (Promenlivo Ya) [Blog post, LiterNet]. Accessed 8 November 2014, URL http://liternet.bg/publish5/ghristozova/iat.htm
Hymes, Dell H. 1974. Foundations in Sociolinguistics: An Ethnographic Approach. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.
Ietcu-Fairclough, Isabela. 2008. Branding and strategic maneuvering in the Romanian presidential election of 2004: A critical discourse-analytical and pragma-dialectical perspective. Journal of Language and Politics 7(3):372–390.
Ingalls, Matt. 2012. Soundflower 1.6.2. Cycling ’74.
Jarraya, Soufien. 2013. Persuasion in political discourse: Tunisian president Ben Ali’s last speech as a case study. Doctoral dissertation, Syracuse University.
Lahlali, Mustapha. 2011. The Arab Spring and the discourse of desperation: Shifting from an authoritarian discourse to a democratic discourse [Online publication]. Accessed 7 March 2016, URL http://www.arabmediasociety.com/?article=772
Momchilov, Krasimir. 2014. Borisov obesha 10 zam.-ministri — myusyulmani, ako upravlyava GERB (OBNOVENA) [Blog post, BNT]. Accessed 10 November 2014, URL http://bnt.bg/news/politika/borisov-obeshta-10-zam-ministrimyusyulmani-ako-upravlyava-gerb
Mond. 2009. Boyko Borisov — praten ot providenieto [Blog post, Deutsche Welle]. Accessed 20/11/2014, URL http://dw.de/p/Iehz
Myers Scotton, Carol, and William Ury. 1977. Bilingual strategies: The social functions of code-switching. Linguistics 15(193):5–20.
Nilep, Chad. 2005. “Code switching” in sociocultural linguistics [Online publication]. Accessed 7 March 2016, URL http://www.academia.edu/489127/_Code_switching_in_sociocultural_linguistics_unpublished_manuscript_
Ritchie, William, and Tej Bhatia. 2008. Social and psychological factors in language mixing. In The Handbook of Bilingualism, ed. T. Bahtia and W. Ritchie, 336–352. Oxford: Blackwell Publishing Ltd.
Sabev, Mitko. n.d. The sound system of Standard Bulgarian [Online publication]. Accessed 8 November 2014, URL http://www.personal.rdg.ac.uk/~llsroach/phon2/b_phon/b_phon.htm
Stoykov, Stoyko. 2002. Balgarska Dialektologia [Online publication]. Accessed 7 March 2016, URL http://www.promacedonia.org/jchorb/st/
“Zhivotnovadi sezirat glavniya prokuror za bolestta sin ezik, GERB gi podkrepya” [Video, 24chasa.bg]. Accessed 10 November 2014, URL http://www.24chasa.bg/Article.asp?ArticleId=4249850
This is an Open Access journal. All material is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) licence, unless otherwise stated.
Please read our Open Access, Copyright and Permissions policies for more information.