Impersonalisation and reference in English and Spanish: evidence from newspaper discourse



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Martínez Caro, Elena (2002) Impersonalisation and reference in English and Spanish: evidence from newspaper discourse. In Conceptualization of Events in Newspaper Discourse : Mystification of Agency and Degree of Implication in News Reports. Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Proyectos Complutense 2000, Madrid, pp. 71-88. ISBN 84-699-9724-6

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In this chapter I investigate the use of impersonal pronouns and other non-specific NPs in semantically impersonal constructions in newspaper reports in English and Spanish. These linguistic strategies are used by the writer in order to hide and mitigate the agency or avoid culpability. In English the impersonal use of ‘we’ and ‘they’ often occur as “corporative” reference to non-specific groups of individuals. In Spanish their omission may perform the same function. Other impersonalisation strategies include the use of indefinite pronouns with a generic or ‘vague’ interpretation, other non-specific NPs ranging from generic ones, such as ‘people’, to more specific and modified NPs referring to a single individual or groups of individuals, whose identity is still not fully specified.

Item Type:Book Section
Uncontrolled Keywords:Impersonalisation; Mystification of agency; Newspaper discourse; Personal pronouns; Indefinite pronouns; Non-specific NPs; Impersonal infinitive clauses.
Subjects:Humanities > Philology > Spanish language
Humanities > Philology > Linguistics
Humanities > Philology > English philology
ID Code:55900
Deposited On:24 Jul 2019 17:08
Last Modified:24 Jul 2019 17:08

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