Language of power Cover Image

Võimu keel
Language of power

Author(s): Reet Kasik
Subject(s): Language and Literature Studies
Published by: Eesti Rakenduslingvistika Ühing (ERÜ)
Keywords: critical text analysis; genres; official letters; directivity; Estonian

Summary/Abstract: A concrete letter, sent from a public office to an Estonian citizen, is analysed against the background of the textual principles of writing an official letter. The power relations reflected in the text have inspired a discussion on the possible social reasons behind such language use. The theoretical framework of the analysis relies on functional grammar and the idea of text as a set of linguistic choices, while the methodical basis of the study is provided by critical text analysis and critical discourse analysis. The focus lies on the means used in an official letter to express and enhance directivity and the discursive roles construed by the text for the sender and the addressee. The aim is to point out the essential role of language in the designing, maintaining and changing power relations, and to show how language may support the domination of some people and, via those people, of some institutions over some other people.

  • Issue Year: 2007
  • Issue No: 3
  • Page Range: 167-176
  • Page Count: 10
  • Language: Estonian