Eurosceptic Language: An Analysis of British Discourse Styles Among Dutch Eurosceptics in the European Parliament
Graaf, R. de
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Parliamentary discourse in the Netherlands has been characterised as “business-like” and dispassionate, with little of the theatrics and verbal duels that are such a recogniseable feature of their British neighbours. The recent upsurge in Eurosceptics seems to have infused some British-style parliamentary discourse into the Dutch political sphere. This paper focused on the question of whether Dutch Eurosceptics share a significant portion of their discourse style with British MPs, specifically in the supranational context of the European Union. Features of British discourse style were found in previous authors, such as Ilie (2004), and Harris (2010), and operationalised along Brown & Levinson’s facework politeness theory. A corpus of parliamentary transcripts was selected, focusing on the speeches of Dutch Eurosceptics in the European Parliament, and analysed on the basis of whether they showed a significantly higher usage of unmitigated face-threatening acts and emotional language compared to mainstream parties, and the norm for Dutch members of parliament. The results show that there are similarities between Eurosceptics and British MPs discourse styles that may indicate that Dutch Euroscepticism is in some way influenced by British political culture.