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    Tannen on Discourse

    Number of Pages: 8

     

    Summary of the research paper:

    An 8 page research paper that discusses Deborah Tannen, linguist and author, who presents a compelling view of the subject of argumentative discourse. Tannen argues that what we say and how we say it can be more instrumental in altering people's perceptions and persuading them to a specific point of view than what we actually do. In her article, "Let them eat words" and in her book The Argument Culture, Tannen demonstrates the intricacies of discourse and how language influences everything from intimate relationships to government agendas. Bibliography lists 5 sources.

    Name of Research Paper File: D0_khtannen.rtf

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    instrumental in altering peoples perceptions and persuading them to a specific point of view than what we actually do. In her article, "Let them eat words" and in her book  The Argument Culture, Tannen demonstrates the intricacies of discourse and how language influences everything from intimate relationships to government agendas. In her article, "Let them eat words," Tannen analyzes  how Republican have perfected the art of shaping their words so that they win many friends and influence millions of voters. Tannens point in this article is that much of  the Republic rhetoric is political spin and does not necessarily indicate either their true intentions or the programs that they will actually push through Congress. Her first examples of Republican  linguistic finesse refer to the phase of the estate tax, which was made appealing to the public by calling it a "death tax" and the linguistic juggling that made a  rare abortion procedure a national issue. However, Tannen really becomes persuasive in her argument when she begins to recount the strategies of Frank Luntz, "Republican pollster and tactician" and  the influence that he has had on Republican agendas. Tannen says that Luntz has advised Republicans to change "what they say, not what they do" (Tannen, 2003, p. 29). George  Lakoff looks at Luntz Republican discourse and describes Luntz as the "premier conservative linguist who helps the Republicans frame their issues in a powerful way" (Lakoff, 2004). Nancy Snow, however,  is in consensus with Tannen and sees Luntzs machinations as going beyond phrasing political goals powerfully, as she pictures Luntz as venturing into the boundaries of mind-control areas of propaganda  (Snow, 2005). Snow draws on a memo issued by Luntz that instructs Republican politicians on "14 Words Never to Use" (Snow, 2005). For example, Luntz stresses that Republicans should 

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