• Jason Reeve Faculty of Liberal Arts, Mahidol University




For many decades linguists and social scientists have been developing frameworks that enables deep analysis and explanation of language use. Of special note are political speeches because they involve society as a whole and are often powerful enough to change national policy, force forward new economic policies or take nations to war. Lesley Jeffries recent book Critical Stylistic Analysis claims to offer a framework that is able to uncover the intricacies of ideological manipulations within political language. This paper uses Jeffries’framework to analyze Tony Blair’s ‘going to war’ speech which took Britain into an invasion of Iraq, and has been cited by numerous social commentators as a manipulative and misleading dialog. Using Critical Stylistic Analysis this paper uncovers and explains how Blair was able to mislead the British public, and take Britain into an unjust and unfounded (by his examples) war. The paper concludes that Critical Stylistic Analysis affords valuable new insights into the study and deciphering of ideologically manipulative language.


Download data is not yet available.


Austin, J.L. (1962).How to Do Things with Words. Oxford: Clarendon Press.

Bakhtin M.M. (1986). Speech Genres and Other Late Essays. In: Jaworski, A. andCoupland, N. The Discourse reader, p. 98-107. London: Routledge.

Bhatia, V.K., Flowerdew, J. and Jones, R.H. (2008). Advances in Discourse Studies. London: Routledge.

Biber, D. and Conrad, S. (2009). Register, Genre, and Style. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Fairclough, N. (1989). Language and Power. London: Longman.

Grice, P.H. (1975). Logic and Conversation. Syntax and Semantics3: pp. 41-58.

Grice, P.H. (1991). Studies in the Way of Words. Massachusetts: Harvard Uni Press.

Gumperz, J. (2009). Sociocultural Knowledge in Conversational Inference. In: Jaworski, A. and Coupland, N. The Discourse reader, p. 78-85. London: Routledge.

Jeffries, L. (2010). Critical Stylistics: The Power of English. Basingstoke: Palgrave.McCarthy, M. (2001). Issues in Applied Linguistic. Cambridge: Cambridge Uni Press.

Searle, J.R. (1969). Speech Acts. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Searle, J.R. (1979). Expression and Meaning. Cambridge: Cambridge Uni Press.

Sperber, D. and Wilson, D. (1995). Relevance: Communication and Cognition. Oxford: Blackwell.

Schegloff, E.A., and H. Sacks. (1973). Opening up closings. Semiotica, 7: 289-327.

Van Dijk, T.A. (2006a). Discourse and Manipulation, Discourse and Society, 17(2): 359-383.

Van Dijk, T.A. (2006b). Discourse, context and cognition, Discourse Studies, 8(1): 159-177.