Dialogic language and meta-language in a conflictual discourse

Ohala Spokoiny, Zohar Livnat

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Based on Buber's dialogic philosophy, ideas from the ethics of dialogue and politeness theory, we analyze letters written by members of an Israeli organization named Besod Siach - who come from both the left and right wings, are both religious and secular, who decided to broaden and deepen the dialogue between different groups in Israeli society against the backdrop of the polarization, alienation and violence threatening the state's integrity and democratic foundations. Our analysis has three focal points: the language of the letters themselves, meta-linguistic utterances that appear in the letters and explicitly refer to the language the writers choose to use or refrain from using, and meta-textual utterances that relate more generally to the dialogic approach guiding the members of the group. Harmony is evinced among these three perspectives, thus exemplifying the conditions needed in order to hold an argumentative discourse that promotes dialogue.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)837-860
Number of pages24
JournalPragmatics and Society
Issue number5
StatePublished - 6 Dec 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© John Benjamins Publishing Company.


  • Meta-language
  • dialogic philosophy
  • dialogue
  • ethics of dialogue
  • face-work
  • politeness strategies


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