The interpersonal strand of political speech: Recruiting the audience in PM Benjamin Netanyahu's speeches

Zohar Livnat, Beverly A. Lewin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


The present study offers an underlying theoretical framework for examining political speeches from a rhetorical perspective. This framework is based on systemic functional linguistics developed by Halliday (most recently updated by Halliday and Matthiessen 2014), and includes discourse structures suggested by later authors. We suggest that the interpersonal stratum of meaning, through which we manage social relations, represents a powerful resource for creating a dialogue with the audience in order to recruit it to a politician's call for action. To address this issue, we analyzed ten speeches delivered by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to five different international audiences. We examined strategies that foster dialogic interaction with the audience, by directly addressing them, or otherwise acknowledging their presence. The interpersonal strategies we identified combine into larger domains which we term forming social bonds, building a consensus and revealing ideology. These strategies may be salient because they tap into various aspects of the audience's experience and identity: the social, affective, and ideological spheres.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)275-305
Number of pages31
JournalLanguage and Dialogue
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© John Benjamins Publishing Company.


  • Audience
  • Benjamin Netanyahu
  • Interpersonal strand
  • Political speech
  • Recruitment
  • Rhetoric
  • Systemic functional linguistics


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