Asymmetry of Institutional Talk in Post-Communist Poland. A Linguistic Approach

Mariusz Rutkowski


Institutional talk can be defined as a type of communication situation taking place between an official and a client of an office in an institutional setting when the asymmetry of the relation is maintained. A critical discourse analysis will allow for discussing institutional talk in terms of power and domination. Symbolic power manifests itself in language and through language. Analyzing certain linguistic behaviours thus makes it possible not only to reveal the real intentions and aims, but also to reconstruct a social relation, with reference to the domination/submission criterion. Power and asymmetry are manifested in taking the floor, i.e. domination by speaking, controlling the topic, relations and roles in a conversation. The topic is controlled by linguistic means such as interrupting someone’s utterance, using questions, or the right to control the code or variety of the language used. In order to control the relation one may use primarily addressative forms and means of persuasion of the ‘inclusive we’ type. The paper is a part of the author`s linguistic research on institutional talk in Poland, performed on the basis of concrete material collected for this purpose in offices in Olsztyn (Poland).

DOI: 10.5901/ajis.2013.v2n3p409

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Academic Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies ISSN 2281 3993(Print) ISSN 2281-4612(Online)

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