You are on page 1of 65


Language has a powerful influence over people and over their behaviours. The choice of
language to convey specific messages with the intention of influencing people is vitally
People use language differently according to their personalities, their intentions and
the persons they address to in order to express an opinion, to ask for something, to request,
to demand, to command, to communicate messages. As there are different types of people
and personalities it is natural to exist various types of usage of the language. Since we live
in a free society, everybody is free to say what s/he thinks and express it by using a certain
kind of language. For example, teenagers, speak differently from the mature people; they
use slangs in order to create a language of their own, which can be understood only by
The subject I chose for this paper is the Language of Interviews. Nowadays, we are
constantly flooded with all sorts of information. We watch different shows on TV, listen to
the radio or read various newspapers and magazines. We are always trying to find out
something new about the society we live in, about its economy, culture, politics or sports.
Interviews are interesting to read but it is more interesting to see how their language
influences readers opinions and behaviours.
For this purpose we choose different types of media. What could be more
interesting than finding out news from the protagonists of the events? This is the goal of
the interview: to find out new things directly from the people involved in the action.
My paper is structured into four chapters, each of them illustrating different issues
related to interviews: the art of interviewing where there is a definition of the interview, a
short presentation of five of the most representative types of interviews, the stages of the
interview and the target audience they address to, the language of the interviews where we
can find different types of meaning and the functions of the language used in interviews,
the discourse of interviews, the relation between context and text, pragmatic phenomena,
the magazines target audience and the strategies of manipulation the deploy through the
usage of the words.

In order to make a study on the language of the interviews I used critical materials
that are aimed at explaining certain theories about the language. Because every theory must
be demonstrated by examples, I will use some excerpts from authentic materials, that are
some issues from Cosmopolitan, Seventeen, Newsweek, each of them addressing a
different type of readers. Seventeen targets the teens, Cosmopolitan addresses to the young
women and Newsweek is designed for those who like political, economical and social
issues of life. Some of the interviews being translated into English by myself.
Furtheremore, I chose the interview, because I consider it to be the most
representative discourse type to influence mass opinion. The interview is a sequance of
questions and answers where the interviewer chooses a topic, a person who can give details
on that topic and an interviewee who answers the interviewers questions in order to clarify
things to readers.
This paper intends to prove how the interviews from these magazines use language,
what particular strategies they use to attract readers to buy their product, become
interested, in that particular magazine and continue to buy it issue after issue, what type of
audience they are targeting to and how people perceive that magazine.

The Art of Interviewing
The interview in general use is a twentieth-century invention which has grown up from a
daring novelty to a basic part of reporting techniques much of the information a reporter
obtains comes from interviewing, though he or she has the option of using it in a different
ways: attributing it directly to the informant, writing it as information coming from the
newspaper or magazine, combining it with the results of other interviews or storing it in
mind as background information on a general subject.
Interviews generally fall under two major categories:

Written interviews, that we find in the newspapers or magazines:

Oral interviews, that we can hear either on the radio, at television.

A printed interview is a record of a conversation between two or more persons. Most

interviews printed in newspapers, magazines, and journals have been edited to improve the
brevity and clarity of the conversation. While interviews may lack the organization and
coherence of other types of articles they can often provide unique and invaluable insights
into the details of the life, career, and thought of the person interviewed.
In my paper I shall deal only with the written interviews. They depend on the place
where they are published: in local or national newspapers, in women magazines, in
teenagers magazines, in highbrows.
The protagonists of this type of communication, both the interviewer and the
interviewe, make use of all sorts of linguistic and paralinguistic devices that are meant to
embellish the speech act. The language of the interviews is a very colourful one in order to
attract the reader to feel somehow involved in the conversation. Of course that language
differs from one type of interview to another.
We have one sort of language in the political interviews, another in the teenagers
magazines, etc. Written interviews can be devided in several subgroups.

1.1 Types of interviews


1.1.1 The structured interview

The structured interview, at its most formal, may be considered as an oral presentation of a
written questionnaire. Frey and Oishi (1995:01) define it as a purposeful conversation in
which one person asks prepared questions (interviewer) and another answers them
The interviewer will read out the questions and the person being interviewed will
give their response; other interaction is kept to a minimum. This implies that the questions
used in structured interviews will tend to be closed questions although this is not always
the case.
Structured interviews assume that: there is a common vocabulary for all potential
respondents; question formats are equally meaning to all and the context of each question
is obvious.
The process is complex: questions are set in advance. Each interview is conducted
in exactly the same way. The questions and their order are the same for all respondents.
The researcher determines the range of possible responses. If probes are allowed, the
probes are usually scripted beforehand (e.g., can you tell me a liitle more about...?).
Closed or structured interviews are defined by Nichols (1991:131) as a social
survey where the range of possible answers to each question is known in advance.
Its advantages are: quick and easy to answer, answers are easy to code and analyse,
the direction of the inquiry is clear, high degree of reliability, produces comparable data,
reduced possibility of interviewer bias.
It is also inflexible because the number of possible responses is often limited,
participants may be forced into giving responses that do not reflect their true feelings about
an issue(validity problem) and gathers a limited amount of information.
The main disadvantage with a structured approach is that the data gathered will
lack the richness obtained by more open-ended interviews.
The following interview can be considered a good example of this type of interview:
I: If the United States attacks Iraq, how likely is it that Saddam Hussein (1) will attack
A.S: The United States will take all necessary steps (2) to prevent an attack, on Israel.
Everyone understands that if Israel is attacked, Israel will react.
I: Have the Americans done everything they can?

A.S: President Bush emphasized that if Israel is attacked before the American attack,
starts, Israel can do everything it needs to defend itself but once the Americans are in
action, everyone understands the sensitivity of the situation.
I: The majority of Israelis favour building a wall (3) to separate Israel from the terrories.
A.S: These electronic fences are another means to help fight terror, but no more than
I: So will you build a wall?
A.S: We will build it, but dont expect it to answer the problem.
I: Is there any hope to get a deal with the Palestinians? (4)
A.S: We could have gotten into dealing with the Palestinians if we had somebody to talk
I: What do you think of the peace of the so-called quartet (5): the U.S, the U.N, the EU an
A.S: Oh, the quartet is nothing! Dont take it seriously! There is (another) plan it will
I: What is the outline of this plan?
A.S: First, [Yasir] Arafat should be removed from an influential position. Secondly, a
prime minister should be appointed Third, reforms shoul be undertaken, mostly in the
security organizations. Then there are problems on the financial side. I think our estimate
of Arafats property is about $2 billion. Once the reform have been completed, there should
be free and democratic elections.1
This is a long political interview. There is a relationship between questions and
answers, they follow certain order. This type of interview requires good knowledges of the
person that ii~ are involved and mentioned in the text, as well as of the events the
interviewers protagonists are talking about. For example (1) Saddam Hussein~ the
reporter must know who Saddam Hussein is and what he planned to do. Probably the
readers are supposed to know all the characters of the interview. 2
The reporter could have asked more questions~ in order to find out Ariel Sharons
plans and opinions and to explain to the readers what the necessary steps (2) meant, what

1Interview with Ariel Sharon, Israels Prime Minister, Newsweek, January 2003:22
2Interview with Lhamo Thondup, the first recognized as the 14th Dalai Lama- the reincarnation of the 13th
Dalai Lama, Cosmopolitan, August 2001:122

wail (3) they are talking about, what the problems with the Palestinians were and what
the quartet (5) was.
Such kinds of details are necessary for the readers to find out as many new things
as possible from the interview because it presents a well-known and difficult problem of
nowadays society. By presenting a widely spread subject, the interview is targeted to all
kinds of readers and not only to those who usually read political magazines.
The style of the interview is formal. The phrase structure is simple. The words are chosen
in such a way as the text to be understood by all readers. Some of the words, such as any
hope, electric, fences, to help fight tenor, attack, wall, many have different connotations
and can have a serious emotional impact on the public.
It is easy to read such an interview because of the subject and of the use of the language.
1.1.2 The Semi Structured Interview
A semi-structured interview uses a schedule of questions very much like a
questionnaire. The questions are usually open and the responses shoul be taped for later
transcription. In a semi structured interview it is permissible to stray from the subject area
and ask supplementary questions but there are some golden rules: never change the order
of the questions, never allow your opinions to show through, and only promt by asking
could you give me more detail on that point or repeat the question.
The taped recordings of the interview should be typed and then they can be
analysed in the same way as for content analysis.
I: What function does religion serve in our lives?
L.T.: It help us to develop compassion, caring, and, I think, sense of purpose (2).
I: And what is our purpose here on earth?
L.T.: To help one another.
I: So the whole reason we are on this planet its to serve each other?
L.T.: Thats right.
I: Can a person be good without practicing religion?
L.T.: Yes. And he or she can also be happy.
I: Is it possible for everyone to be happy? (3)
L.T.: It is possible-absolutely. And it is worthwhile for one to make an effort to achieve
happiness. Just as the purpose of a plant is to grow, so it is that the main purpose of every
human being is to survive and grow until death. As far as mental development is
concerned, we should never be complacent. We can develop our minds infinitely there is

no limitation. Many of us are discontent with how many possessions we have, but were
content when it comes to our spiritual development. That is the mistake we make.
In this type of interview there is not a certain order of questions and answers. The reporter
could have asked several questions for the reader to find out more about reincarnation and
about other itnersting things presented in the interview. For example, (1) he could have
asked for a definition of religion or for what religion meant to the interviewee.
Maybe it would have been intersting for the readers to find out more about the sense of
purpose (2) and its connotations. Such a question like (3) is quite a general one because
being happy has one meaning for a teenager and another meaning for an adult.
The language of this interview is rather simple. It can be seen like a beautiful
comparison between the plant needs to grow and the human being who must live and grow.
The interview is worth reading because it offers us a sort of internal peace. Such an
interview is created for all types of readers, it has no target audience because it does not
use specific technical terms, slangs or other typical terms for specific target audience.
1.1.3 The Unstructured Interview
Unstructured interviewes tend not to use prepared questionnaires or interview schedules,
rather they will have a number of themes or issues that they aim to explore. Open-ended or
unstructured interview is defined by Nichols (1991:131) a an informal interview, not
structured by a standard list of questions. Fieldworkers are free to deal with the topics of
interest in any order and to phrase their questions as they think best.
This type of interview is sometimes called intensive interviewing or in-depth
interviewing and are usually designed to collect qualitative information from a small-sized
This type of interview is based on the knowledge of, or assumption that, the
respondents have had a particular experience, on which they can elaborate. The situation
has been analysed before the interview, and the researcher is seeking additional
information. The interview guide specifies the topic on which information is sought. And
the interview focuses on the respondents subjective experiences. It allows the respondents
to describe in detail the situation as it is meaningful to them, and allows the interviewer to
freely probe and ask follow-up questions.
Good unstructured interviews require:

Training: interviewers are trained to develop good interpersonal relations, listening

skills, and good interviewing techniques;

Commitment: both parties must derive sufficient rewards from the interaction to

continue the interview.

Meaning: shared meanings cannot always be assumed. It is important to probe, to

ask for clarification.

Flexibility: some questions that dont elicit any response can be dropped or set
aside for later in the interview, while those that prompt a response can be pursued at
The process of elaborating such an interview requires: exploratory approach; no

prepared list of questions; open-ended questions.

Its advantages are: allows flexibility, the interviewer can built rapport with
respondent, respondents cand answer their own words, the nature of the response is not
The respondent may have more control over the conduct of the interview in that
they are often allowed to discuss issues as they arise and not necessarily in an order
predetermined by the interviewer. It is particularly useful as a pilot study, to test out what
peoples responses would be to a particular issue.
There are also some limitations: requires interviewing skill, lack of standardization;
the answers are difficult to analyse; depends on the ability of respondents to express
themselves; time consuming; largest potential for interviewer bias; comparability of data
from different respondents- this may raise issues of reliability.
Due to the varied nature of the responses, it is necessary to use content analysis
technique to analyse it. This is what takes the time, although there are now software
packages available to tackle this problem.
1.1.4 The Case Interview
According to Pierre Russeau (1998:204) the case interview consists of presenting a person
with a typical set of facts that might encounter in a real-life work situation and
observing how he analyses, concludes, and acts or recommends actions to be taken.
His job is to become the professional in the situation, making further inquiries to clarify the
facts, developing and presenting a framework for thinking about the issues, and then
working within the framework to come to conclusions.
I: What are your basic skills? (1)
JL: Well, I am a computer literate (2). I am able to write an speak
languages: French, English, German and Dutch. (3)

fluently four

I: What would you do to improve the company selling? (4)

JL: First, Id change the marketing strategy and try to find easier solutions(4) for selling
our products(7), then id change the working system and the materials(8), we are using in
order to improve quality and reduce costs. (9)3
The interviewer is in search of some important details about the interviewees working
skills and abilities. Referring to (1) the reporter wanted to find out the professional
capabilities of the interviewee. Using the term computer literate (2) it might be
understood that the interviewee knows how to work with computers and can cause another
question from the interviewer part: What programmes are you able to work with? Point
(3) can arouse another question: Are you able to work directly with our foreign providers
and partners? Question (4) is rather vague because the interviewer wants to know about
the interviewees ideas regarding the firm. The language is simple with technical terms that
are related to marketing and management (5,6,7,8,9). This is a typical kind of interview for
those who are in search of a job.
1.1.5 The Biographical Interview
Biographical interviews are longer interviews where the interviewer is asking many
questions about the interviewees life, work, family, background, etc.
I: Where were you born in? (1)
S.R: My birthplace is a suburb of L.A.(2)
I: Any brothers or sisters?
S.R: I have a brother and two sisters.
I: What were you like at 17? (3)
S.R: I was really into basketball lived and breathed hoops. High school bball was the
I: How was your very first kiss?
S.R: It shouldnt have counted I was in fifth grade, and her name was Eileen. I didnt
know what I was doing.4

3Interview with Jackie Lennox, a young manager who took part at a contest-organized by ALL&CARE
Company, Cosmopolitan, 2002:51

4Interview with Simon Rex, Seventeen, February 2001:32

This type of interview is rather easy to be elaborated. Generally, the interviewer

and the interviewee know each other and the atmosphere is friendly. Its style is informal.
Slangs, idioms and other figurative language are likely to be found.
Point (3) can have a double meaning: the reporter wanted to know his physical
appearance at 17 or what he was doing at 17. The answer depended on the interviewer tone
of voice and paralanguage. The same with (4) where the interviewer asked how his firs kiss
was and not when or with whom. The reader can suppose that the interviewee wanted to
skip the question and that was the reason why he avoided to give a description of his first
Biographical interviews are generally created for people to find out more about
public persons, stars. Usually, they are published in women magazines, teenagers
magazines and very rarely in political magazines.
1.2 Setting up an Interview
The use of shorthand has had a great deal to do with the increase of interviewing, for the
ability to record speech as it is spoken not only assists detailed, accurate reporting but also
adds immediacy and vividness, fast, condent shorthand is an immense asset. In these days
of on-the-spot radio and television coverage, a magazine reader is often in the position to
compare the interviewees actual words with what a magazine claims he or she said. The
difference in a word or phrase can be more easily spotted and will always weaken a
readers faith if the printed version is incorrect.
Some of the most important aspects of an interview take place beforehand. While
trying to make an interview we have to keep in mind some basic rule concerning the stages
of an interview. Kvale (l996:241) describes in detail seven stages in designing and
implementing an interview study, as summarized below:
1) Thematizing: Before even thinking about particular methods or interview formats, the
evaluation team needs to be clear on the purpose of the study and the topic to be
investigated. The questions of why and what need to be answered before the question
of how can be answered. This is as important in a qualitative evaluation study as in a
quantitative one. The themes of the interviews must reect several aspects of the society
and of life. In an interview we can have:
Political themes

Cultural activities

Sport issues

Medical research

Economic features

Technical inventions

And any other themes of general interest

2) Designing: The overall design for the study, including the later stages of analyzing and
reporting, should be planned before the interviewing begins. For example, if there are no
funds for transcribing or analyzing interviews, it may be wise to use a more structured
format that will be easier to code later. The reporter must know from the very beginning
what sort of interview he will adopt and must prepare himself as to be aware of all the facts
about a certain event or a certain person. In other words, he has to do a detailed research
job not to skip any important issue of the problem or to be put in a difficult position and to
feel embarrassed because he does not know how and what to ask or to mistaken the events.
3) Interviewing: To an extent that is not true in many other methods, the interviewer is the
instrument in this type of evaluation (Guba & Lincoln, 1981:1152 as cited in Patton,
The instrument can be affected by factors like fatigue, personality, and
knowledge, as well as levels of skill, training, and experience that any face-to-face
interview is also an observation. The skilled interviewer is sensitive to nonverbal
messages, effects of the setting on the interview, and nuances of the relationship. While
these subjective factors are sometimes considered threats to validity, they can also be
strengths because the skilled interviewer can use exibility and insight to ensure an indepth, detailed understanding of the participants experience. While interviewing, the
reporter must be curious and to ask lots of question in order to bring to the light the truth
and to make the interviewee speak.
He does not have to be quiet because the interviewee is not going to answer by him
and in this way the person that leads the interview is the interviewee and not the
interviewer as it would have been normal. The reporter must be his own boss and to
manipulate the interviewee to say what he wants him to say and not to let him to avoid a
direct answer.
4) Transcribing: This important step prepares the material from the interview for analysis.
Both Kvale (l996:246) and Patton (1990:52) provide detailed practical suggestions for this
process, ranging from ensuring that tape recorder has good batteries to developing a
sensitivity to the linguistic differences between oral speech and written text.
The text must be transcribed as it has been recorded and not be changed because in
this way he loses its authenticity and it is no longer interesting. The reporter is allowed to


make some changes in the interviewees lines just when his words are vulgar and cannot be
published in the newspaper or in the magazine.
5) Analyzing: Data analysis is an issue that should be considered very early in the process
of designing a study. If time and resources are limited, the interviewer may wish to use
more standardized interview formats that are easier to code and interpret.
The methods for analyzing and interpreting interviews vary widely. Kvale ( 1996:250)
Describes ve analysis methods that include:
1) meaning condensation,
2) meaning categorization,
3) narrative structuring,
4) meaning interpretation, and
5) generating meaning through ad hoc methods.
Patton (1987, l990:62) also presents a number of techniques for quantifying and analyzing
interview data.
The most appropriate method of analysis for any given study will depend on the
purpose of the evaluation and the nature of the material, as well as the time and resources
available for this part of the process. Some methods attempt to be more objective, while
others depend more heavily on subjective judgments and insights of the researcher.
Computer software programs are available that can assist in categorizing interview
statements or counting key words, which may allow some forms of quantitative analysis.
6) Verifying: In traditional research terms, this means determining reliability (how
consistent the ndings are), validity (whether the study really investigates what you
intended to investigate), and generalizability (whether the ndings apply to anyone outside
of this particular program). Nowadays, it is very important to check back the information
that you received from the interviewee before publishing it. Modes, magazines as
Newsweek, Cosmopolitan, Oprah Magazine are used to check the received information
twice, from two different sources before publishing the interview.
7) Reporting: If the evaluation report is to effectively communicate ndings, it must:
a) Be in a form that meets some accepted scientic criteria,
b) Meet ethical standards such as condentiality and respect, and
c) Be readable and usable for its intended audiences.
In some cases, different reports may be needed for different audiences. An appropriate
balance needs to be found between including endless quotations that will bore the reader
and just quoting a few entertaining stories that happened to appeal to the researcher.

The selection of interviewee may be done from the ofce, either by a sending a
note or verbally. Generally, the protagonists of the interviews will be famous people, stars
or people who did something for the society and in very few cases burglars, criminals or
prisoners because they are not models that must be followed by the society.
For every normal purpose the request for an interview must be made for the right
person: the headmaster of the school and not the school-keeper, the clerk of the council and
not the person on the town-hall switchboard, the owner of the shop and not the counterhands.
Timing the approach is also vital. In most cases an interviewee is giving something
that is. Commercial value if it is going to help selling the magazine. People are always
interested in nding something new about a famous person and many of them will buy the
magazine just for the sake of that interview. If the interview is really interesting and the
magazine is aware of this fact, it will adopt a certain strategy: the magazine stuff will put a
big picture of the person who is interviewed together with a some lines from the interview
on the front page so as for the readers to see it when they go to buy the press.
Having established the right time, it is necessary to choose the topic of the
This may be a simple human experience for which no particular background is
required: someone reaching the age of a hundred, a woman expecting her fourth set of
twins, someone who has been the victim of a robbery. In this case no research are required
and the interview will be an unstructured one because the questions order is not logical
because many of them can arise from the interviewees own words.
But the reason may be something more complicated: a row over the rumring of a
hospital for instance, if the interviewer is to ask intelligent and rewarding questions it is
essential to know something about the way the hospital is administered. A sudden strike at
a factory: do you know the denition of the unofficial strike? Would strikers get strike pay?
Who would have called them out?
Knowing something in advance can save the interviewer to make fool of himself
and undermining the interviewees condence. The reporter has also to think not just of the
subject but also of the story. The subject itself may not be new. What is the story that
makes the subject worth returning to? An interview should have a clear purpose of
producing some news. It is advisable for the reporter to ask simple questions even if they


make him appear ignorant. Simple questions attract simple answers. They can also have the
advantage of testing assumptions.
Interviewing is a complex process. One of the commonest faults in interviewing is the
willing to let the interviewees tell their story assuming that they are not reluctant to do so.
It is a fault to start jumping in with questions before the interviewees shows any sign of
giving up.
The best way to do this is merely to ask: Can you tell me what happened? Or can
you tell me anything about it? Many reporters fail to do this and start asking questions so
clearly that they tend to bottle up the persons own account.
Interviewing is like a lucky dip-you dip in with a question and you never know
whether it is going to bring up a prize or not. But, as with a lucky dip, the more dips you
take, the more likely you are to get some prizes.
The interviewer should never forget to ask: Howl why did all this come about? The
past can throw light on the present and may suggest a further avenue of questioning. Then,
too, always ask: What will happen now?
Just because an answer comes late in an interview it does not mean it is only a
minor fact. Most people do not have the same news sense as a journalist and something
that seems unimportant to an interviewee, hardly worth mentioning, is often the best and
important part of the story.
There are as many different kinds of interview as there are news stories, and it is
obviously impossible to lay down what questions should and should not be asked at each
Nevertheless, guidance can be given to the type of answer that should excite the
interest and make the interviewer further asking the type of bell that sometimes rings, or
should ring, in his mind as an indication that here is something to go into his story.
For example, here is an excerpt from an interview with Sean Doherty- a wealthy
video shop owner whose house was on re. The interview published in Cosmopolitan, May
2002:147 assume the reporter is told by the police or the re service that there has been a
Ike at such- and-such an address occupied by Mr. Brown: time of outbreak 11.30p.m.;
cause unknown; no personal injury; one re appliance attended; damage to furniture and
ttings in downstairs front room. Nothing much on the face or it, but the reporter goes and
sees it the next morning.
He nds him in reasonably co-operative and he gets down to business with the timehonoured:

I: Can you tell me what happened?

He answers (the numbers refer to points which will be discussed later): I was asleep(1)
upstairs (2) last night (3) and everything was quiet when there was a knocking at the front
door that woke me up. ..It kept on and I started to go down I smelled smoke...
There was a young chap (4,) at the door and I d hardly got it open when he said, Your
front rooms on re... he was on his way home from a dance and he thought hed seen
ames in there.
I opened the door in the front room and the place was thick with smoke (5). 1 ran
into the kitchen to get a bucket of water but of course it took a long time (6). The young
chap asked if there was anybody upstairs. There certainly was-the kiddies asleep (7). I gave
him the bucket and ran up. They were awake and there room was full of smoke, too,
coming through the oorboards (8) I told John to get something on (9) and go down, and
took the baby (10) out of her cot.
Then I realized Jeannie (1) was not following. The young chap has started on
another bucketful. The kids were crying. I said, Jeannie s still up there and started to go
up but he beat me to it up the stairs and came down carrying Jeannie...
I took over the bucket while he got the kiddies outside but he could not manage
(120 and the young chap went and called the fire brigade (13). 1 roused the neighbours
(14) and they took the kiddies in (15). Then the firemen came and put it out. Everything
seems to be spoilt either by the smoke or the water. My wife II create (16).
The most obvious rst question is the one prompted by the last casual remark (16): Where
is your wife, then?






This could give the interviewer the possibility to start asking him different questions in
order to nd out more about the interviewee. Likely points would be:
1: When is the baby due?
Which hospital?
Who is looking after you and the children?
With luck he might say they were expecting triplets!
I: And when is he going to tell her about the re?
S.H: This afternoon when I visit her.
This set of questions also disposes of (1), which should have been a query in the mind as to
say he said:

S.H: 1 was asleep upstairs and not the more customary We were.
I: What did he mean by upstairs (2)? He answers.
S.H.: In the bedroom.
I: What time last night (3)?
S.H.: About 11.30.
This confirms the time given by the official source.
I: Who was the young chap (4) who helped him? He answers.
S.H: I dont know him from Adam.
I: Why doesnt he?
S.H: He never told me his name, never even let me say Thank you. 5
Visions of headlines about Mystery Hero may be occurring to the interviewer at this point
and he will want all the information he can get about that young man. Asks for a
S.H.: About 18, mny haircut, tight trousers, but he was very cool and I dont know what
wed have done without him.
If he can get no more than this, press on to (5):
I: What happened when you opened the front-room door?
S.H.: Curtains were beginning to catch re, hearthrug burning and making a lot of smoke
and smell...
I: Why did it take a long time to get a bucket of water (6)?
S.H.: We havent got a very good low here, I suppose if it only taken ve seconds it
would have seemed a long time.
I: What children (7)?
S.H.: Theres John, hes seven; Jeannie, ve; and the baby, Mary. Shes really three.
I: Is the middle childs name Jeannie or Jean?6
Which schools do they go to?
Nothing special here perhaps but it transpires that Jeannie started at the local infants
school only yesterday.
I: -Will she be attending tomorrow?
5Interview with Sean Doherty, a wealthy video-shop owner whose house was on lire, Cosmopolitan,

6Interview with Sean Doherty, a wealthy video-shop owner whose house was on lire, Cosmopolitan,


S.H.: Yes.
I: Where were the children sleeping (8)?
S.H.: In the front upstairs bedroom.
I: Over the burning room?
S.H.: Yes.
I: Did the re wake them before it woke you?
S.H.: Dont know, didnt hear them when I went downstairs but they may have been
I: The re itself didnt wake you?
S.H.: No, I m a sound sleeper.
I: The knocking on the front door woke you?
S.H.: Yes.
Point 9 arises in his mind when he says the name John without further implication
but the query has already been covered in the answers the interviewee gave on (7): names
and ages of children. The questions he was going to ask about the baby (l0) and Jeannie
(1 1) was also covered.
The phrase Couldnt manage (12) is vague and is worth checking. It turns out the
householder was referring to the poor ow of water. But the men might have been affected
by smoke or heat.
I: How did the young chap call the re brigade (l3)?
S.H.: By phone.
I: Where from?
S.H.: The callbox on the corner wasnt working, he saw phone wires leading to a house
with lights on and called from there.
I: Which neighbors (14)?
Interviewee roused the people in the adjoining house Names? Given.
I: Do they still have the children (I5)
S.H.: Yes.
So the statement he gave the reporter is approximately covered. Possibly he can
think of more questions he would like to ask, or perhaps by the standards of his magazine
this was too trivial an event for an exhaustive interview. Nevertheless, the illustration
shows how interviewees should be allowed to have their say rst of all, then how the
statements should be split up and analysed and followed through even if they produce
nothing much.

On such a story like this, however, there are other questions the interviewer needs to ask,
apart from those arising from the interviewees own story. What was the cause of the re?
Was he covered by insurance? Does he own the house or rent it?
The insurance question is always worth asking because occasionally a family is not
covered and a small re like this can have serious nancial complications. Follow up by a
question or whether they lost anything valuable, it might turn out they lost a small pet, war
medals, grandfathers gold watch.
There are also personal questions to ask about the interviewee; spelling of his
name, initials, where he works, local interests, is he a local man, has he been in this house
long, etc. At rst sight such details seem to be unimportant but if the protagonist is a well
known person these things are important for the readers.
1.3. The Target Audience
Usually the events interviewees describe are of some interest to themselves. We can
distinguish several types of interviewees. It can be said that there are so many types of
interviewees as there are different kinds of personalities. For example:
Garrulous interviewee can be a nuisance, which often needs only an occasional guidance
back to the main theme of the subject. This type of interviewee will probably give facts the
interviewer would not have thought of asking questions about: such people interview
Quid interviewees who answer just for the sake of the interview and who always avoid
simple, short and explicit answers because they want to avoid the truth about certain event.
Their answers will be vague and the interviewer must stop the interview because it tends to
become uninteresting and the readers are not likely to read it.
Bragging interviewees who like to give interviews in which they present their
intentions, values and wishes in order to persuade the readers to trust them. This type of
interviewees is typical for the political interviews during the elections and political
campaigns. Their language is colorful and they make use of rhetoric and paralanguage
devices in order to impress. Interviewing such a person can be difficult because he does not
give the interviewer the opportunity to ask him the questions he wanted to ask because
they talk the most part of the interview and he says what he likes and avoids difficult


Cooperative interviewees are probably the best type of persons to interview

because they accept an interview from the very beginning and answer all the interviewer
questions because they have no established purpose during the interview. Their answers are
shown and characterized by a simple language style.
Uncooperative interviewees are the type of persons that arc hard to get in touch
The reporter must use all his sources to nd such a person and when he nally
managed to talk with him is like in front of a rock because the interviewee refuses to talk
by saying that he has not time, is too busy and that he soon would contact the interviewer
(he wont).
As an interview nears its close, the reporter must be sure that he obtained replies to
all the essential questions he wanted answering, if the matter has been complicated, it often
helps to have a recap at the end of the interview. Most interviewees will not object if the
interviewer asks, Id like to make sure Ive got it right. Would you mind if I go over the
main points again with you? Or if he asks for a recap on just a certain aspect.
In many interviews there is a hidden story that even the sharpest questioning cannot
be relied on to bring to light. That is why a reporter has to be always attentive and to be
curious. A long, monotonous interview will make the reader get bored. The readership is
always searching for something new, extravagant, interesting. Only a new event or detail
can attract readers.
Each means of communication has its target audience. Newspapers and magazines
are intended to all kinds of people: children, teenagers, adults, women, men, intellectuals,
scientists, etc. the interviews they publish vary from one newspaper or magazine to another
because an interview with a teenagers who uses slangs and other specic language for his
age cannot be published in a political magazine that is presenting serious political issues of
nowadays society and that is addressed to a certain segment of readers with a high level of
Christopher Dobson (1994: 132) considered that in an interview a friendly
appearance, a soft voice, amiable chatter and an air of sincerity work wonders. The
interviewer must encourage the interviewee to volunteer information rather than have it
extracted like cross-rooted wisdom teeth. When the interviewer gets to the hard questions
he does not need to ask them aggressively. A pleasant atmosphere is always better than a
tensionate one.


Sometimes, reporters have to make use of all sorts of tricks in order to manipulate
the interviewee to talk. A serious attitude of the interviewer together with well-structured
documentation makes the opponent realize that the reporter knows more than he shows
about the events that they are talking about.
While choosing to make an interview the reporter must be sure that there is
something new that is worth to be brought into light and not to choose a subject that was
already discussed because old news are no longer interesting and the people wont read
something that they have already read or heard.
New things or facts or nothing!
The interviewer is probably the most important element of the interviewing process.
He is the one who leads the conversation, who is responsible for the success or
failure of the interview, who has the job to make research, to establish the format of the
interview, to nd the best topic to be discussed, to prepare the questions, to search the best
persons for the interview, to find a way to make the person he wants to interview accept the
interview, to ask simple, difficult, funny or embarrassing questions, to use all the necessary
indications while transcribing the interview and to give its final form before sending it to
be published. The reporter must be very well trained, clever, to know something about all
the issues of nowadays society, to be calm, curious, respectful with his interviewees, etc.
Re-interviewing new categories of analyses may emerge during research project, so
that former respondents can be re-interviewed about the new questions.
Interviewing is the most widely used method for informing people. The interview
enables the reader to find out more about interviewee. It has also been described as a
mutual exchange of information. Interviewing is not just asking and answering. It
supposes a lot of work and interest from the interviewees part but especially from the
interviewers part.


Chapter II
The Language of Interviews
Words, like little buckets, are assumes to pick up their loads. Of meaning in one persons
mind; carry them across the intervening space, and dump them into the mind of another
(Osgood 1979:213)
Historically, written language was thought to represent spoken language, to in fact
be close enough to a frozen form of a language as to provide most of the information used
for the study of language. More recent thought has contested this idea heartily, and with
good reason. As can easily be determined with an audio recorder, written language does
not directly represent spoken language, and indeed, the two forms are structured quite
differently due to their different natures and purposes. Speech is something common to all
human societies, whereas writing is possessed by only some. According to Salzmann
(1998:234-236) speech is learnt first and used most often in everyday interactions, and it
almost always occurs in a context enriched with paralinguistic informationinformation
that is provided through such means as stress, intonation, physical movement, cultural
gestures, and emotional expressions. The instant feedback in speech situations, the fact
that the addresser hears the speech as it is produced and sees the reactions of the
addressee at the same time, makes dialogue possible. Because of its immediate, transient
nature and frequent, necessary use, speech changes across space and time more quickly
than does writing. Since one of the purposes of writing is in fact to overcome the
transient quality of speech and cross-distances of space and time, it tends to be
standardized and conservative, and to represent only one dialect of a language.
Since written language is presented without the wealth of contextual information
present in speech, it also tends to be carefully structured so as not to be ambiguous.
Language is a complex type of communication on the auditory channel. Language is
so complex that an infinite number of messages are possible. The number of words in a
language is finite, and certainly below one million, but most people can use only 10-20
thousand words.
Messages, however, could be generated indefinitely, especially if one allows
nonsensical constructs too. Language also has the property of self-reference, meaning that

one can communicate about language with language. This property is sometimes
known as metalanguage.
Language is consistently seen as a means for storing, representing,
transmitting (transporting) knowledge, not as an ingredient in peoples social interaction
Since writing is monological rather than dialogical, this is exactly what we should expect.
The functions of words in written texts are of course very much emotive and practical.
Words have a magical function; one can bring about things by the spell of words; nature
and other people may be changed.
After all, people still frequently exploit the magic of words, in attempts at enticing,
flattering, offending, hurting etc.
Linguistics is the study of language: of what it is and what people use it for.
Language also plays a powerful role in society as a means of establishing group identity,
influencing the vires of others and establishing solidarity. Linguists are interested in issues
of language and power, types of discourse, sexism in language and other aspects reflecting
society and culture.
Linguists liked to think of linguistic items as having fixed and stable properties,
among other things, inert, literal meanings. This way of looking at linguistic phenomena
as objects was coupled with a very popular model of linguistic communication, i.e. the
one which portrayed the communication process as the conveyance of a message, or, in
other words, some kind of transportation of a certain, fixed message from the writer to the
reader, a transfer of given thoughts and feelings, as if these thoughts and feelings were
independent of and prior to the encoding and decoding processes in communication.
Semantics is the aspect of language function that relates to understanding the
meanings of words, phrases and sentences, and using words appropriately when we speak
or write.
2.1. Types of meaning
Meanings are objects. Linguistic expressions are objects. Linguistic expressions
have meanings (in theme. In communication, a speaker sends a .fixed meaning to a
hearer via the linguistic expression associated with that meaning.
On this account it is possible to objectively say what you mean, and communication

failures are matters of subjective errors: since the meanings are objectively right there in


the words, either you didnt use the right words to say what you meant or you were
Meanings and interpretations are created through the activities of verbalization
and social interaction themselves.
The written language bias in linguistics has promoted the idea of autonomy of
The meaning of an expression, as opposed to its form, is that feature it, which
determines its contribution to what a speaker says in using it.
The meaning conveyed by a speaker is related to the speakers communicative
intent in using an expression, even if that use departs from the expressions meaning.
Accordingly, any discussion meaning should distinguish the speakers meaning from
linguistic meaning.
The importance of context is very important while writing a text because the
meanings of the words can differ according to the context they are used in. We can
appreciate how someone can mean more than they strictly speaking say by considering
the same thing said in two different contexts.
The relationship between the parts that make up a text (the words) and the text as
a whole is extraordinarily complex. The question of how words influence each other in texts
has often been left unresolved and unexplained; the importance of context is invoked
without making the important distinction between the meaning and the function of a
word. We still have only a limited understanding of the mechanism that makes single
words influence the whole, and the whole influence the content of single words.
This question cannot be resolved without investigating the lexical stylistic value of
individual words.
A word with strong connotative associations in the stylistic dimension
should influence context rather than be influenced by it. Significance differs between
different types of words: the difference between content words and function words is
the most obvious example.
A close examination of most words reveals that they have many different senses
and the rules that combine them into sentence meanings will frequently offer several
possibilities for interpretation. Usually we resolve potential ambiguity unconsciously
until someone carefully constructs a joke that turns on an ambiguity.
7Lakoff& Johnson, 1980:206

I: You should prepare yourself for the jump into hyperspace: its unpleasantly like being
Whats so unpleasant about being drunk
I: Just ask a glass of water. 8
The passage turns on the ambiguity of the word drunk, which can be an adjective,
meaning affected by alcohol or the past participle of the verb drink. Miller takes
the interviewer as intending the first sense of drunk-with good reason; it is unlikely to
mean that someone would drink him. But the interviewer turns the exchange into a joke.
There are several types of meaning.
Literal/Lexical meaning
Associative meaning
Pragmatic meaning
2.1.1. Literal/Lexical meaning
Literal means straightforward or factual; the dictionary meaning of a word. The literal
meaning of a text, as opposed to the literalist meaning, is the meaning which the
original speaker or writer intended. In other words, we should ask ourselves: what did this
person want to say? We may not read more, or less, into a piece of writing than what its
author actually had in mind.
Literal language is language that means exactly what it says. The reader reads it
word by word. Every word can be looked up in the dictionary, and the word means
exactly what the dictionary says.
I:Can you tell us what faith means to you?
A.: I consider that faith is an ambiguous term. You can have faith in God, in your
parents, friends, etc. I have .faith just in God?9
In the above example the meaning of the word faith is that of the dictionary. It has no
other meanings.
The denotative meaning of a word is its literal meaning the definition that can be
found in the dictionary. The word mother for example:
I: Who was the person that influenced you most in life?

8Interview with Arthur Miller, Seventeen, March, 2003:21


J.B.J: Why mother taught me to listen to aft people and appreciate all the persons I meet. Size was
my model10
The dictionary would define mother as a female parent. But the word
mother probably creates emotions and feelings in everybody: it paints a picture in your
mind. We may think of love and security or we may think of our own mother. The
emotions and feelings that a word creates are called its connotative meaning.
While using the stylistic distinction, denotation is considered to be a part of
the content that is taken to be in one-to-one correspondence with the referent, and
connotation is identified with what remains of the content when denotation is deducted; at
the same time, however, connotation and denotation are ordinarily supposed to be different
kind of content.
Even single words or short phrases can exhibit the distinction between purely
informative and partially expressive uses of language. Many of the most common words
and phrases of any language have both a literal or descriptive meaning, that refers to
the way things are and an emotive meaning that expresses some (positive or negative)
feeling about them. Thus, the choice of which word to use in making a statement can be
used in hopes of evoking a particular emotional response.
This is a natural function of ordinary language. We often do wish to convey
some portion of our feelings along with information. There is a good deal of poetry in
everyday communication, and poetry without emotive meaning is pretty dull. But when we
are primarily interested in establishing the truth the use of words laden with emotive
meaning can easily distract us from our purpose.
2.1.2. Associative meaning
Connotative meaning enriches the communicative value a lexical item has by the
virtue of what it refers to, over and above its denotative content. In other words, what does
the word or expression suggest to the individual when he uses or hears it.
There are various kinds of connotation among which two are the most important:
personal connotation and general connotation.
9Interview with Oprah Winfrey, Cosmopolitan, September, 2001:51
10Interview with John Bon Jovi, Seventeen, February, 2003:41

Personal connotation is what I have just described with the word mother. Its
the emotions or feelings a word creates in any individual.
General connotation is different it is what a word means to a large group of
people; a mind picture that is shared. Take a mans beard, for example.
I: How would you describe the thief who robbed you?
M.P: Well, I could not see him very well but he was a bearded man, at about 30-35, thin,
tall, black haired ...11
In Victorian times, the image of a bearded man was that of a proper older
gentleman a grandfather, perhaps while in the interview, the bearded man is only 30,
he is younger. But in the 1960s, a bearded man came to mean unshaven hippie.
General connotation doesnt mean that everybody in the world thinks the same way about
something, just that large groups of people do.
People who try to persuade you to do things politicians and advertisers
make frequent use of words with strong connotations. They select these words very
carefully in order to get you to vote for them or buy their product.
I: Would you like to send a message for your supporters?
A.S: (Dear citizens, Israel is crying for freedom. Help me and help you to win freedom. His is
our chance to get free. Trust me!12
Connotation is our real-world experience associated with a naming unit.
Connotation is not an essential part of language; it is not specific to language, because it is
shared by other communicative systems, such as music and visual arts.
Connotations vary from society to society, from age to age (`non-trouser-wearing
could characterize women in the nineteenth century), and from speaker to speaker
(women seem irrational to some speakers and are hard-working according to other
speakers). Connotative meaning is the basis of comparison,
e.g as pure/chaste as a lily (the white lily as a symbol of chastity and innocence) and
to he black-hearted.
When many words with strong connotations appear in the same news report, that
news report is said to be slanted or loaded. This means that the words have been
chosen to create either a favorable or unfavorable impression. Here are written two
different accounts of the same event in two different magazines: Cosmopolitan and
Seventeen: (How would you describe the place where the concert was held?)
11 Interview with Mary Pierce, Cosmopolitan, June, 2002:47, page 21


Five teenagers were loitering on the corner. As their raucous laughter cut through the air;
we noticed their sloppy black leather . Jackets and their greasy dyed hair. They slouched
against a building with cigarettes dangling contemptuously from their mouths. 13
Five youngsters stood on tile corner. As the joy of their laughter . Filled the air, we noticed
their smooth loose7fitting jackets and the gleam of their colourfulhair They relaxed
against a building smoking evenly on cigarettes that seemed almost natural in their serious
young mouths.14
The two interviews that are dealing with the same problem but which use
different styles of language in order to address their target audience.Seventeen makes use of
idiomatic expressions, slangs, a colorful language that is used by nowadays teenagers.
On the other hand, Cosmopolitan uses a rather elevated language than Seventeen
because its target audience are not the teenagers but the middle-aged women who do
not use this type of language. It is about the same event but described in two different
ways by means of language.
People can establish stylistic difference among texts. According to their level of
formality, we can speak about formal texts and informal texts.
While creating a text the writer must know from the very beginning that he is addressing,
what his target audience is, what level of culture his target audience has.
For example, a magazine like Seventeen, which is addressed to teenagers, will
use an informal language, a colorful language, full of slangy words and idiomatic
expressions in order to make readers feel involved in its articles. It will make use of the
language todays teenagers speak.
I: OK. Lets do some Freddie questions. Now, we know your plans are private and I
respect that but [cell phone rings]Saved by the bell!
S.M.G: Weve been engaged for a year and its fun to cherish that. Im only going to be
engaged once, so were really enjoying this time.
I:What nice stuff does Freddie do for you?

12Interview with Ariel Sharon, Israels Prime Minister, Newsweek, January, 2003:22
13Interview with John Ron Jovi, Seventeen, February, 2003:41
14 Interview with Jon Bon Jovi, Seventeen, January, 2003:35

S.M.G: Freddie threw me a great birthday party-he rented out an ice-skating ring and got
all of our fiends to come. It was total disco ice-skating. Then we went to this little hole-inthe-wall! Mexican restaurant and just hang out for three flowers.
I: Do you have any pet peeves? [Sarah laughs and looks at Freddie]
S.M.G: Dont look at me. Im perfect [laughs]
It can be easily seen that the language of his interview is set in everyday teens speech.
Using such slangy words, such as stuff (i.e. things) or idioms, such as threw
me a great party (i.e. he organized a surprise party for her) or hung out they
went by themselves the interviewer wants to attract the young public reader to buy and
to read the magazine. If the language had been more elevated the teenagers, were not
interested because they do not like to use common speech. They try to make out a
language of their own, a language understood only by them. Writing for a magazine
whose target audience is represented by the teenagers the reporters must use their
language in order to achieve success. The social meaning of the interview is quite evident
here: the reporter uses the same language as his target audience, to achieve a sense of
equality because it is supposed that both the interviewer and the interviewee belong to
the same world.
Another type of magazine, which has another type of target audience, would not
use this type of language. Newsweek, for example, whose target audience is a person
who is politically involved and who have a higher level of culture, will use a formal
language to create a sort of a distance between the text and the reader.
I: Do you support President Bushs effort to overthrow Saddam Hussein?
A.U.V: I support any action against terror
I: Do you think the U.S. should pay more attention to Colombia?
A.U.V: ~ Of course. We have received excellent help from the U.S. but the magnitude of
our problem requires more help.
I: Do you believe the FARC and other terrorist groups are part of a larger network?
A.U.V: We have in jail some IRA members who came to help tire the FARC.
I: How much of your countrys land is under government control?
A.U.V: There are many parts of Columbia where the state is weak. One of the challenges
of my government is to strengthen the state ant make its presence more effective in many
parts of the country.
I: Whats the most difficult aspect of the situation you face?

A.U.V: The situation is very complicated because of violence, the largefiscal deficit ant
the high rate of unemployment. But we have already signed an agreement with the IMF to
reduce the fiscal deficit in one year from 4.2 percent to 2.5 percent. 15
The interview is addressed to a public with a high level of cultures who are
politically trained and who are accustomed with this sort of language. Reading such an
interview the reader would not feel involved in the action because the words are chosen in
such a way as not to create strong emotional feelings. So, the receiver will read such an
interview for the sake of being informed or to find out political opinions of important
political representatives.
From the examples above it can be easily seen that there is a difference of style,
language, gender, culture and status between the magazines. According to their strategies,
magazines use different kinds of social meaning in order to manipulate readers. In this
way, social meaning becomes the basic tool of selecting target audience.
Affective meaning reflects the personal feelings of the speaker/writer, including his
or her attitude to the hearer/reader and to what he or she is saying. Conceptual,
connotative, or social meaning often conveys affective meaning. Intonation is also an
important factor here. The following two requests are scaled according to politeness:
e.g. I: (speaking on the phone tells the interviewee and some other colleagues who were
talking): I am terribly sorry to interrupt, but I wonder you would be so kind as to lower
your voices a little.
The English language is rich because of the breath of vocabulary available to
speakers and because of abundant usage of figurative language. Figurative language is
language that does not mean exactly what it says word for word and it must be understood
as a whole expression. When people do not recognize instances of non-literal language,
when they have difficulty figuring out intended meaning from context and when they do
not ask for clarification, they may be missing the meaning of a significant portion of the
dialogue that occurs in our daily lives whether it be from instruction, conversation, TV or
movie scripts, advertising, or printed text.
2.1.3. Figurative meaning
Figurative meaning is far more interesting it is imaginative; it conveys not just the facts
but an idea. The meaning cannot be looked up in the dictionary. The reader usually has to
15Interview with Alvaro Uribe Velez, Colombia president, Newsweek, February 10, 2003:41

guess from the context of the sentence or paragraph. It encourages us to use our
I: What do you think about your rival Jerome Davis?
CL: Davis runs like a duck Im not afraid of him .winning the gold medal at the
Olympic Games. I am the best and I am going to win both the 400 and 800 meters race.16
This does not mean that poor Jerome Davis runs exactly like a water bird. We are using
figurative language in this case a figure of speech called a simile. By comparing the
way Davis runs to the way a duck runs, the interviewer suggests that Davis waddles and
that he is awkward. If we wanted to be literal, we would say, Davis is awkward and he
waddles when he runs. Jerome Davis runs like a duck, is far more colorful and
Books, movies, newspapers and magazines articles and interviews and TV shows
are full of figurative language and so is everyday speech. How do we know if someone
is using figurative language?
When the literal meaning doesnt quite make sense and another one (the figurative one)
I: Do you think that the weather is proper for such a long concert?
J.B.J: What are you talk my about?! I am scared: Its raining cats and dogs! 17
(Interview with Jon Bon Jovi, Seventeen, February, 2003:41)
Literal meaning: cats and dogs are falling from clouds in the sky.
Figurative meaning: it is raining very hard, so hard that cats and dogs are not safe outside
in the rain.
There are three types of figurative language:
Idioms: Idioms are the first component of figurative language that is understood
and used by people. Idioms can take either in the form of two or three form verb (e.g. take
care of, keep an eye on, stand for, take part in) and these are sometimes called phrasal
verbs and they consist of a verb along with a preposition or the form of several words.
Together, the words have a special meaning. If they are taken literally, they may not make
sense. So the reader has to understand the meaning of the two words together. With idioms
such as horsing around, for example, the intended meaning is not conveyed by
conventional or literal use of the words involved. Typically horsing around does not
16Interview with Carl Lewis, Seventeen, May 2002:23
17 Interview with Jon Bon Jovi, Seventeen, February, 2003:41

involve any activity with a horse.Horsing around could refer to a rough and tumble tickle
game with a toddler, to teens laughing while skipping stones in a stream, or to adults
playfully teasing one another as they watch a sporting event on TV. The common element
of meaning is a playful, informal interaction.
One does not need to be sensitive, creative, or poetic in order to use idioms. Idioms
are part of our everyday language and most people have a large repertoire upon which to
draw for daily interactions.
I: Do you think that you are going to win the process against Jerome Davis?
CL: I dont know. Im walking on thin ice. 18
Walking on thin ice is an idiom that can be easily understood by everybody because it
can be easily associated with meaning something dangerous just by employing visual
imagery and background knowledge about ice.
Formulas: are groups of words that are used in certain situations. If we try to understand
each word individually, it doesnt make sense. The formula must be understood as a whole.
e.g. I: Thank you for your timer
A.M: Youre welcome.19
Figurative Expressions: are groups of words that have a special idiomatic meaning.
Writers and speakers to give a mental picture to the listener or the reader use figurative
expressions. These expressions are usually descriptive and colorful. To understand these
expressions, we have to be very attentive while reading the piece of writing because we
have to guess the meaning from the context and without a careful reading we cannot
understand what the writer wanted to say.
e.g I: Theres little time left until the concert begins. You have to take the bull by the
horns unless the people will hate you.
J.B.J: Dont tell me to do that. Im too chicken 20
While talking about figurative language we should not forget to mention the figures of
speech. There are many different ways to use figurative language. These ways are called
figures of speech or tropes. Here are a few of the most common ones:

18Interview with Carl Lewis, Seventeen, May, 2002:23

19Interview with Arthur Miller, Seventeen, March, 2003:21
20Interview with John Bon Jovi, Seventeen, February, 2003:41

Smile - when one thing is explicitly compared to another with the use of the words like
or as. For example: Jerome Davis runs like a duck,- in the example above or time is
like a river.
I: What does time mean to you?
J.P: Time is like a river when I am looking in the mirror I see that I became older.21
What does the phrase time is like a river mean? It might mean that both life and a river
wander a meandering path or that both life and a river go endlessly on.
The meaning is up to you. Metaphor According to Webster Dictionary a phrase can be
considered as being a metaphor when one thing is compared to another without the use of
the words like or as. For example, the metaphor life a game.
I: Can you give a definition for life?
O.W: I think that life is a game, without beginning and end.
(Interview with Oprah Winfrey, Cosmopolitan, January, 2003:33)
What does that mean? That life has its winners and losers? That it has rules? Again its up
to you. And a lot depends on the context in which the metaphor is used. People use
metaphors all the time and sometimes they mix them up. Imagery the use of words to
create a mental picture of something. For example, if you read the words the sea was
calm, you create a calm sea in your imagination.
I: How was your first day of your honeymoon?
J.B.J: Magnificent. We stayed in a wonderful hotel and in the evening, after having a
delicious dinner, we walked on the beach. The sea was calm and the sand was thin. 22
Symbolism- the use of one thing to represent something else. Literally, a countrys flag is
just a piece of cloth but symbolically it means patriotism and love of country.
I: How do you define your love for USA?
M: I pledge allegiance to the/lag of the United States of America and to the country for
which it stands.23
Irony something that intentionally means the exact opposite of what the words actually
say. For example, a father calling his little boy big fellah
I: How is your relationship with your son?
21Interview with Sarah Jessica Parker, Cosmopolitan, June 2001:21
22Interview with Jon Bon Jovi, Seventeen, February, 2003:41
23Interview with Mark OMalley, commander of the USA army in Iraq, Newsweek March, 2003:44

B.J: Wonderful, he is my big fellah.24

The most commonly used tropes (figures of speech) imagery, symbolism; metaphor and
irony ~ correspond to description, analogy, comparison and contrast in literal speech or
writing. There are many ways for a writer or speaker to say what he or she means. A police
report or testimony in court should probably stick to literal language, but a figurative
language is appropriate and welcomes almost anywhere else!

2.1.5 Euphemism
Since there are many words with negative connotations, people often use a form of
speech called a euphemism to try and say the same thing in a more positive or pleasant
way. Instead of saying youre fired, they say were downsizing. Instead of talking about
a corpse, they use the word remains. Instead of calling somebody short, they say
vertically challenged.
I: How would you describe Davis?
CL: Hes vertically challenged. Im taller, stronger, better. The best.25
Euphemism refers to something hurtful or offensive in terms that make it sound
milder or more polite. The unpleasant connotations, however, are not the fault of the words
but of what the words refer to and this is why they are carried over to the milder word. The
result may be a series of euphemisms,
e.g.: for lavatory, backward countries (underdeveloped c., less developed c., developing c.,
emerging nations).
I: Whom are these strategies addressed to?
A.S: U.E. elaborated some marketing strategies for lavatory, backward countries such as
Israel Iraq, India, etc. 26
The use of some euphemisms is connected with a change in attitudes,
e.g.: in unmarried mother; single-parent family

24Interview with John Bon Jovi, Seventeen, February, 2003:41

25Interview with Carl Lewis, Seventeen, May, 2002:23
26Interview with Ariel Sharon, Israels Prime Minister, Newsweek, January, 2003:22

Euphemisms are also used in politics (There was World War II, the Korean conflict,
and the Vietnam era), and in selling and advertising (previously owned (used), genuine
imitation, natural flavor)
Virtually all societies have taboos against direct reference to death and preference is
given to some euphemism concerning a journey to an unknown destination, such as pass
on, pass away.
I: What can you tell me about your friend, Mark Webber?
J.B.J: It is a subject that I prefer not talking about. Unfortunately, he passed away last
year, after a terrible accident. I found out 2 days later and I wasnt able to be there. 27
Taboo areas encourage some speakers to the opposite verbal reaction to
euphemisms, namely dysphemisms: in the field of death one could cite pushing up
daisies, snuff it (informal), croak (slang).
Euphemisms transform taboo forms by means of phonetic disguise, either on a rhyming
basis, as in suck, or on an alliterative basis, as in flicking flipping, fluffing. The stronger is
the taboo, the greater is the number of evading forms. Cockney rhyming slang exemplifies
a highly developed disguise mechanism, e.g.: Cattle, Goose, which are abbreviated forms
of the rhymes Cattle truck, Goose and duck. English like any other language is used in very
different ways. People use words to express situations, to share their feelings. But the
language they use is not a pure language. In order to create their own language people
make use of figures of speech, figurative language and other means of communication. By
using so many types of words, the language can become degraded. For example: at the
funeral some very nice words are spoken:
Are you ready for this one?
One can ask for what. This statement can be interpreted in various ways. One can
suppose that he is asked to go at the funeral, other if he is ready to see how the corpse is
This is the degeneration of language. Words are robbed of their meanings as men
seek to make vain and empty lives significant by elevating the normal to the desirable, and
thus perverting the language.
Linguists tend to have rather definite preferences for certain theories of linguistic
meaning and communication. Attached to these theories are certain implicit evaluations of
which communicative functions are most important and most characteristic of language.
27Interview with Jon Ron Jovi, Seventeen, February, 2003:41

Grice (1978:165) has argued that the meaning of a word in general is a derivative
function of what speakers mean by the word in individual instances of uttering it. That is
the universal type meaning, or set of such meanings, for a given word is an abstraction
from the token meanings that speakers mean for the word in specific instances of use.
Among other things, this account opposes the formalist orthodoxy in semantic theory,
according to which the universal conventional meaning of a word predetermines what that
word might mean in any given instances of use.
The conventional theory discourages inquiry into what a particular speaker might
mean by a word in a particular utterance; to understand the utterance it is enough to know
what the word means. But Grice holds that what a word means derives from what
speakers mean by uttering it; and he further holds that what a particular speaker or writer
means by a sign on a particular occasion... may well diverge from the standard meaning of
the sign.
2.2. The Functions of the language in interviews
While using the language in interviews we can speak about three major functions:
The informative function
The phatic function
The poetic function
2.2.1. The Informative Function of Language
While we communicate we use language in order to express opinions, feelings, to ask for
advice or information, to give details, to describe an event, etc. The informative use of
language involves an effort to communicate some content. For example,
I: Do you know that the 5th of May is Mexican Independence Day?
M.C: No, I dont. I only know when USAs Independence Day is. Im not quite interested
in remembering dates.28
By asking him if he knew that the 5 th of May was Mexican Independence Day, the
interviewer uses language informatively. He gives Macaulay information, he brings out
something new. This kind of use presumes that the content of what is being communicated
is actually true. This is probably the most important function of the language used in

28Interview with Macaulay Culkin, Seventeen, May, 2001:44


interviews because people are interested to find out new information from the
2.2.2. The Phatic Function of Language
Some messages are not relevant to the MESSAGE in the center of the table above: their
main aim is to maintain the contact with the addressee. Good examples could be sentences
like Hello? or Can you hear me? (speaking by phone) or, again, sentences that aim at
prolonging a contact, a conversation. In an elevator, for instance, the contact with other
people is an end in itself and its function is that of avoiding some embarrassing minutes of
silence: in an interview with Jon Bon Jovi, Seventeen. February, 2003:41, the sentence: I:
Its a nice day, isnt it? disguised as a question, is merely a way of making some kind of
conversation. An answer like J.B.J: Yes, but yesterday it was less windy actually means
(Yes, I am ready to keep a contact with you, provided that, in our relationship, we will
limit ourselves to formal exchanges.)
Before learning to speak according to Jakobson the infants learn the phatic function:
when they understand that, by pronouncing a syllable or a vowel, theres someone who
responds to them, who tries to get in touch with them, by replying, by making
interpretations in a loud voice, by exchanging glances (eye contact), they are induced to
make certain sounds in order to establish a contact (preverbal communication).
2.2.3. The Poetic Function of Language
Jakobson states that The poetic function projects tile principle of equivalence from tile
axis of selection into tile axis of combination. In simpler words, we can say that, in
poetry, the principles of syntactical construction rules that prevent certain types of
contiguousness are sometimes ignored, and syntagmatic construction (verse composition)
occurs by referring to the paradigmatic repertoire.
Poetic function is based on the message, which becomes important as such, almost
regardless of the other six elements of the communication.
It is important to keep in mind that the poetic function can be found even in a prose
text. In this case, the poetic function is not the dominant, but it can be found under the
layers of the other (more important) functions.
Linguists may suggest a separation between the content and the expression of the
linguistic message. Early in the process of utterance production we find the thoughts and
representations which directly encode or are even equal to the content of the message,

and only later the whole message gets transformed into phonetic behavior; the message,
and its meaning, is given an outer form. The comprehension process is essentially the
reverse; the reader starts with the expression and ends up with the content.
Most linguistic messages are multifunctional, although many are specialized in
various ways so as to stress certain particular aspects. However, the actual state of affairs is
rather inadequately reflected in most theories of linguistic meaning, which are very much
focused upon the cognitive and referential aspects. The aim behind certain types of texts is
very much to describe reality as explicitly as possible and to display the lines of
argumentation as clearly as possible. The ideal is often to pursue description, explanation
and argumentation in such a way that they appear to be independent of the views of the
author (legal and scientific texts).

As language is a complex system, knowing, but most of all understanding the

functions of the words are an important issue in the communication system. Words are
pieces that form a unitary whole and they are not just simple things that people can make
use of.
By choosing between potential terms, authors define their topic and shape their
readers perception of that topic. One of the most critical decisions an author makes, then,
is in the choice of words exactly what to call things. Writers must be alert to their
possible choices, and sensitive to the meanings and nuances of each. They must not only
convey the desired meaning, but the desired overtones as well. The writers, no matter if
they work for a newspaper, magazine or book must choose the proper words to satisfy the
readers needs. When in doubt, consult a dictionary.
Lexical meaning is interesting but figurative language is more picturesque. It
enables writers to indicate layers of meaning. Figurative language raises the readers
interest and often conveys meaning hard to convey in words.
The language of interviews is a complex system that makes use of every means to
influence people. But why are texts meant to manipulate people? This can be considered as
a management strategy because each newspaper or magazine is interested in selling its
They are aware of the fact that they must create something original in order to
make the public buy the product. As the technology has developed and all the written press
makes use of colors and other elements of design. The only way of differentiating the

components of the written press is by using a certain type of language. It is rather simple:
the magazine chooses a target audience to whom it is going to address its messages and
uses the language of that type of readers.
The study of the language of interviews can go beyond any limits. People use
language on their own manner and there are lots to be said on word meaning. Reading
interviews is a very interesting thing. Seeing how language is used to manipulate people is
interesting too.

Chapter III
The Discourse of Interviews
3.1 Text
Some theorists distinguish between text and discourse as two separate terms and
concepts. Salkie (1995:9) states that text or discourse is a stretch of language that
may be longer than one sentence. Text and discourse analysis is about how sentences
combine to form texts by means of cohesiveness and coherence.
Widdowson (1983:9) also refers to textual cohesion, recognizable in surface
lexis, grammar and prepositional development, from discourse coherence which
operates between underlying speech acts.Newmarks (1988:54) definition is similar
to Salkies definition, in that he states:
the analysis of texts beyond and above the sentence- the attempt to find linguistic
regularities in discourse its main concepts are cohesion-the feature that bind
sentences to each other grammatically and lexically-and coherence-which is the
national and logical unity of a text.
Two important aspects (standards of textuality), coherence and cohesion, are
mentioned in the above definitions. Coherence refers to those elements that make a
text hang together, and refers to textual and contextual aspects of discourse.

According to Fairclough (1992:83) a coherent text is a text whose constituent parts

(episodes and sentences) are meaningfully related so that the text as a whole makes
sense, even though may be relatively few makers
3.1.1 Cohesiveness and Cohesion
Cohesiveness or cohesion, according to Fairclough (1992:77), refers to how clauses
are linked together in sentences, and how sentences are in turn linked together to form
larger units in texts. This can be achieved by repetition, conjunctive words,
synonymous or vocabulary from a common semantic field. Cohesion deals with the
textual aspects of discourse.

The relevance of these two aspects is that they are important in text production, and
thus in discourse analysis. Should one or both of these features be absent, the text
would not be able to function as a meaningful whole. This in turn would have an
impact on the context of discourse.
The importance of text and context are more obvious in political interviews.
The fact that political interviews are confrontational, competitive encounters is
clearly documented by both researchers in this area and by the media personalities
themselves. It is argued that politicians deliberately ignore the questions they are
asked and insist on repeating statements irrespective of whether they bear any relation
to the interviewers questions. Therefore, the confrontational nature of the political
interview, where disagreement, challenges and competition frequently occur in
interaction, are perfectly acceptable forms of linguistic behavior in a community of
e.g I: How would you describe the conflict between Israel and Palestine?
A.S: There is a sort of conflict but the reasons that lead to it are varied.
I: But could you possible explain this statement?
A.S: The causes are already well-known. 29
In this interview we can easily see how the interviewer tries to keep the direct
answering to the question. There is a sort of confrontation between the participants

29Interview with Ariel Sharon, Israels Prime Minister, Newsweek, January 2003:22

because the interviewer wanted to obtain some important details but the interviewee
refuses to give direct answers.
Political interviews are constructed encounters that are set up to produce
discourse for an overhearing audience. For the interviewers and the interviewees in
the political interviews, the learning experience continues as they perform their social
and institutional identities. Political interviewees will participate in political
interviews over a period of time during their careers. Although they do not appear as
often as the interviewers, interviewees learn the rules of engagement in political
interviews through their own experience and through the training they receive from
their political parties.
e.g. I: What is your position regarding the conflict?
A.S: Together with the partners from the Liberal Party, we discussed the strategy
to avoid a larger expansion of the conflict. We try to find solution to put the conflict
to the end. 30
In this interview it can be seen the interviewee opinions as part of a
community, namely, of a party.
Furthermore, although the individual participants do change, the predetermined roles of the interviewer and interviewee remain constant. The political
interview has a clearly defined set of norms and expectations governed by the
established membership roles of political interviewer and political interviewee.
There are distinct roles for the interviewers and the interviewees. In news
interviewing, there is a turn-taking system which specifies that interviewees should
confine themselves to answering interviewers questions. Within the turn-taking
system, the interviewers are responsible for topic control and the time management of
the discourse. There are three defining characteristics that are meant to give clarity to
the definition of the political interview.
Mutual engagement is evident in political interviews, with the interviewer and
interviewee mutually engaging with each other to produce for an overhearing
audience. Although the interviewers and the interviewees will be mutually engaging
with one other, this does not mean that conflict and competition will not occur. On the
contrary, confrontational discourse will be expected, with the interviewer attempting

30Interview with Ariel Sharon, Israels Prime Minister, Newsweek, January, 2003:22

to hold the interviewee to account on the perspectives and policies of their particular
political party.
A joint negotiated enterprise is also observable in political interviews. It is the
job of the interviewer and interviewee to jointly produce discourse for the
overhearing audience. Through the production of question-answer adjacency pair pair
sequences, the interviewer and interviewee work jointly to one another in a two-way
process: the interviewer asks question design to elicit information from the
interviewees for the listening audience and the interviewees role is to answer these
questions to best effect for both themselves as individuals and the political parties
which they represent. While their purposes within the interview are different, the
interviewer and the interviewee work jointly in order to produce discourse for the
listening audience.
3.2 Context
In the case of the interviews, context includes:

Substance- the physical material which carries or relays text


Paralanguage- meaningful behavior accompanying language, such as voice quality,n

gestures, facial expressions and touch (in speech) and choice of typeface and letter
sizes (in writing)

Situation- the properties and relations of objects and people in the vicinity of the text,
as perceived by the participants; the events that each magazine presents

Participants- they are described as interviewer, interviewee and target audience

Function- what the text is intended to do by the interviewer and interviewee or

perceived to do by the readers and target audience
3.3 Discourse formats
Cook (1992:4) states that there are hundreds of discourse types which merge into
each other and defy exact definition. There are also hundreds of discourse formats.
The best discourse format for the interviews is a recurrent discourse structure
characterized by a pattern sequence of speaker-turns each with specific discourse
For instance, a typical discourse format is the conversational between the
interviewer and the interviewee. The interviewer typically does the initiation by

asking a question. The interviewee typically takes the response speaker-turn, most
interviews are organized by the use of this format. The use of this format enables the
reporter to have the power regarding decisions on topic selection and change.
The following example makes use of such a format. It was taken from the
early party of an interview of two gangster girls, Candy and Winnie, 15 and 16 years
old respectively.
I: Then what about you Winnie? After you have joined the gang, how did your
friends look at you?
W: Changed bad... felt that I had!
I: Felt that you have changed bad, they felt that you have changed bad, but did they
find changes in the other aspects of you?
W: Yes!
I: How?
W: Also more violent! And arrogant!
I: And did they avoid you, or did they stay in touch with you? 31
In the above example, we see that the interviewer asks a question about how
Winnies friends saw her after she had joined the gang. This question is followed by
Winnies answer that her friends felt that she had changed badly. The interviewer
acknowledges Winnies answer by restating in two times and then asks a follow up
question which requires Winnie to further elaborate the changes perceived by her
3.4 Pragmatics
Pragmatics studies the factors that govern our choice of language in social
interaction and the effects of our choice on others. David Crystal
Pragmatics is a systematic way of explaining language use in context. It seeks
to explain aspect of meaning which cannot be found in the plain sense of words and
structures, as explained by semantics. As a field of language study, pragmatics is
fairly new. Its origins lie in philosophy of language and the American philosophical
school of pragmatism. As a discipline within science, its roots in the work of Paul
Grice on conversational implicature and the cooperative principle, and on the work of
Stephan Levinson, Penelope Brown and Geoffrey Leech on politeness.
31Interview with Winnie and Candy, Seventeen, September, 2002:11

In the following example from association with the football we can easily see
how pragmatics works:
I: What did you say to your partner when you played against Real Madrid?
D.B: I told van Nistelrooy Man on! because Hierro was close to him. 32
Semantic analysis can only divide the phrase: Man on! into two parts. For example,
it can elicit different lexical meaning of the noun man (mankind or the human race,
as individual person, a man specifically) and the preposition on (on top, above, or
other relationships as in on fire, heat, on duty, on the fiddle, or on the
And it can also explain structural meaning, and account for the way this phrase
works in longer sequences such as the first man on the moon, a man on the run.
All these explanation are available just in the linguistic context.
None of these explains the meaning in the context of the football game. This is very
complex, but perhaps includes at least the following elements:
Beckham has seen another players movement and thinks that the other player
has either not seen it or has not responded to it, appropriately.
He wants his playmate to know he was likely to be tackled or impeded in some
David Beckham wants van Nistelrooy to respond appropriately, as by shielding
the ball, passing it to an unmarked team mate, laying it off for another player and so
He has an immediate concern for his playmate, but this is really subordinated
to a more far-sighted desire for him, as a player on his team, to protect the ball or
retain possession, as this will make his team more likely to gain an advantage.
Beckham understands that his opponent will also hear the warning but thinks
that his hearing it will not harm his teams chances as much as not being aware of the
approaching player.
He foresees that his playmate rebuke him (and the other players on the team
collectively) if no one, from better vantage point, alerts him to the danger.
3.4.1. Pragmatic phenomena Implicature
Among the things one should know while studying pragmatic phenomena are:
32Interview with David Beckham, Cosmopolitan, May 2003:62

Speech acts
Politeness (impoliteness) and implicature.
Interpreting the language of the interviews needs good knowledge of the
language because there are people who might not understand the language used in
Seventeen, for example or teenagers who do not understand the political or
managements terms used in Newsweek.
Understanding and interpreting the message of an interview depends on the
pragmatic phenomena that are linked to the public knowledge of the world, situation,
context, and activity type. We use language all the time to make things happen. We
ask someone to pass the salt or marry us-not, usually at the same time. We order pizza
or make a dental appointment. According to Austin (1962) words not only say things
but also do things.
I: Whats the matter with you?
M.P: I must leave. 33
The interviewee uses words that express a meaning and she also performs the action
of informing the interviewer that she had to leave.
Speech acts include asking for a beer, promising to drink the beer, threatening
to drink more beer, ordering someone else to drink beer and so on. Some special
people can do extraordinary things with words, like baptizing a baby, declaring war,
awarding a penalty kick to Manchester United or sentencing a convict.
A few years after publishing his original paper on meaning, Grice sketched out
a theory of pragmatic implicature, distinct from semantic implicature, as a tool for
resolving certain linguistic problems in the theory of perception.
I: What happened?
M.P: Im not feeling good. That box, looks red to me. 34
Grice denied that is simply by virtue of the semantic phrase looks to me that
uttering the phrase implies the acknowledgement of some doubt and denial of the box
being red. Rather, such an implication arises from a general feature or principle of
the use of language. Grice roughly formulated that principles as, One should not
make a weaker statement rather than a stronger one unless there is a good reason for
so doing.
33Interview with Michelle Pfeiffer, Cosmopolitan, November, 2012:61
34Interview with Michelle Pfeiffer, Cosmopolitan, November, 2009:61

It is readers knowledge of such a principle governing the speakers and

readers use of language, rather than any peculiar semantic features of the phrase
looks to me, that enables him to infer, on hearing the speaker saying it, that the
speaker means to acknowledge by implication that some doubt has been cast on the
boxs being red.
Similarly for an utterance such as:
I: What do you know about your brother, Rudy?
J.B.J: Rudy is either in Minneapolis or in St. Paul. 35
Grice outlines the general line of reasoning by which the hearer should be
able to recover the implicatum (thing implicated) in any given case of
conversational implicature.
Evidently, the conversational implicatum will be determinate (determined by
the intentions of the speaker) in every case.
Grices theory of conversational implicature has been variously attacked, defended,
and revised by others. P. Brown and Levinson (1978) would place it within a larger
model of sociolinguistic politeness. The implications of Onces model for literary
and rethorical theory have only begun to be explored.
There are several types of implicature, manner implicature, actual implicature,
potential implicature, generalized implicature, or flouting implicature but, the most
important in the case of interviews is conversational implicature.
3.4.2 Conversational implicature
In a series of lectures at Harvard University in 1967, the English language
philosopher H.P (Paul) Grice outlined an approach to what he termed conversational
implicature how hearers and readers manage to work out the complete message when
speakers mean more than they say. An example of what Grice meant by
conversational implicature is the utterance:
Have you got any cash on you?
Where the speaker really wants the hearer to understand the meaning:
Can you lend me some money?
I dont have much on me.
The conversational implicature is a message that is not found in the plain sense
of the sentence. The interviewer implies it. The interviewee or the reader is able to
35Interview with Jon Bon Jovi, Seventeen, September, 2002:33

infer (work out, read between the lines) this message in the utterance, by appealing to
the rules governing successful conversational interaction. Grice proposed that
implicatures like the second sentence could be calculated from the first, by
understanding three things:
The usual linguistic meaning of what is said
Contextual information (shared or general knowledge).
The assumption that the speaker is obeying what Grice calls the cooperative
The success of a conversation interview depends upon the various speakers
approach to the interaction. The way in which people try to make conversations work
is sometimes called the cooperative principle. We can understand it partly by noting
those people who are exceptions to the rule, and are not able of making the
conversation work.
We may also, sometimes, find it useful deliberately to infringe or disregard it
as when we receive an unwelcome call from a telephone salesperson, or where we are
being interviewed by a police officer on suspicion of some terrible crime.
Paul Grice proposes that in ordinary conversation interview, speakers/
interviewers or interviewees and hearers/ readers share a cooperative principle.
Speakers/ interviewers or interviewees shape their utterances to be understood by
hearers/ readers.
The principle can be explained by four underlying rules or maxims.
There are the maxims of quality, quantity, relevance and manner.
Quality: speakers should be truthful. They should not say what they think is false, or
make statements for which they have no evidence.
Quantity: a contribution should be as informative as is required for the conversation
to proceed. It should be neither too little, nor too much. (It is not clear how one can
decide what quantity of information satisfies the maxim in a given case).
Relevance: speakers contributions should relate clearly to the purpose of the
Manner: speakers contributions should be perspicuous: clear, orderly and brief,
avoiding obscurity and ambiguity.
Grice does not of course prescribe the use of such maxims. Nor does he
suggests that people use them artificially to construct conversations. But they are
useful for analysing and interpreting conversation, and may reveal purposes of which

(either as speaker or listener) people were not previously aware. Very often, we
communicate particular non-literal meanings by appearing to violate or flout
these maxims. If we were to hear someone described as having one good eye, we
might well assume the persons other eye was detective, even though nothing had
been said about it at all.
3.5 Face saving strategies
Face (as in lose face) refers to a speakers sense of linguistic and social identity.
Any speech act may impose on this sense, and is therefore face threatening. And
speakers have strategies for lessening that threat. Positive politeness means being
complimentary and gracious to the addressee (but if this is overdone, the speaker may
alienate the other party).
Negative politeness is found in ways of mitigating the imposition.
Hedging: Er, could you, er, perhaps, close the, urn window?
Pessimism: I dont suppose you could close the window, could you?
Indicating deference: Excuse me, sir, would you mind if I asked you to close the
Apologizing: Im terribly sorry to put you out, but could you close the window?
Impersonalizing: The management requires all windows to be closed.
Perhaps the most thorough treatment of the concept of politeness is that of
Penelope Brown and Stephen Levinson, which was first published in 1978 and then
reissued, with a long introduction, in 1987. In their model, politeness is defined as
repressive action taken to counter-balance the disruptive effect of face-threatening
In their theory, communication is seen a potentially dangerous and
antagonistic. A strength of their approach over that of Geoffrey Leech is that they
explain politeness by deriving it from more fundamental notions of what it is to be a
human being. The basic notion of their model is face. This is defined as the public
self-image that every member (of society) wants to claim for himself. In their
framework, face consists of two related aspects.
One is negative face, or the rights to territories, freedom of action and freedom
from imposition wanting your actions not to be constrained or inhibited by other


The other is positive face, the positive face, positive consistent self-image that
people have and their desire to be appreciated and approved of by at least some other
The rational actions people take to preserve both kinds of face, for themselves
and the people they interact with, add up to politeness. Brown and Levinson also
argue that in human communication, either spoken or written, people tend to maintain
one anothers face continuously.
In everyday conversation, people adapt their conversation to different
Among friends we take liberties or say things that would seem discourteous among
strangers. And we avoid over-formality with friends. In both situations we try to
avoid making the hearer embarrassed of uncomfortable. Face-threatening acts are acts
that infringe on the hearers need to maintain his/her self-esteem, and be respected.
Politeness strategies are developed for the main purpose of dealing with these facethreatening acts. Suppose somebody sees a crate of beer in his neighbors house.
Being thirsty, he might say:
I want some beer.
Is it OK for me to have a beer?
I hope its not too forward, but would it be possible for me to have a beer?
Its so hot. It makes you really thirsty.
Brown and Levinson sum up human politeness behavior in four strategies,
which correspond to these examples: bald on record, negative politeness, positive
politeness, and off-record-indirect strategy.
The bald on-record strategy does nothing to minimize threats to the hearers face:
e.g An emergency: Help!
Task oriented: Give me those!
Request: Put your jacket away!
Alerting: Turn your lights on! (While driving)
The positive politeness strategy shows you recognize that your hearer has a
desire to be respected. It also confirms that the relationship is friendly and expresses
group reciprocity.
e.g Attend to the hearer: You must be hungry, its a long time since breakfast.
How about some lunch?


Avoid disagreement: A: What is she, small? B: Yes, yes, shes small,

smallish, um, not really small but certainly not very big.
Assume agreement: So when are you coming to see us?
Hedge opinion: You really should sort of try harder.
The negative politeness strategy also recognizes the hearers face. But it also
recognizes that you are in some way imposing on them. Some other examples would
be to stay, I dont want to bother you but or I was wondering if...
e.g Be indirect: Im looking for a pen.
Request forgiveness: You must forgive me but
Minimize imposition: I just want to ask you if I could use your computer?
Pluralize the person responsible: We forgot to tell you that you needed to buy
your plane ticket by yesterday.
Off-record indirect strategies take some of the pressure off of you. You are trying to
avoid the direct FTA of asking for a beer. Instead you would rather it be offered to
you once your hearer sees that you want one.
e.g Give hints: Its a bit cold in here.
Be vague: Perhaps someone should have been more responsible.
Be sarcastic, or joking: Yeah, hes a real Einstein (rocket scientist, Stephen
Hawking, genius and so on)!
These strategies are not universal, they are used more or less frequently in
other cultures. For example, in some eastern societies the off-record-indirect strategy
will place on the hearer a social obligation to give us anything we admire. So
speakers learn not to express admiration for expensive and valuable things in homes
that they visit.
3.5.1 Neglect or Impoliteness
Brown and Levinsons concentration on strategies which avoid the performance of
face-threatening act leads to the area of linguistic impoliteness being overlooked. As
Eelen argues, their positive and negative politeness strategies stipulate how to be
polite rather than impolite. Although Eelen acknowledges that, as Brown and
Levinson do not claim to look at impoliteness then they cannot be criticized for
something they did not claim to do in the first place, he does argue that politeness and
impoliteness are two sides of a coin, and therefore any theory that pretends to say
something valuable about one side, automatically needs to deal with the other side as

well. Culpeper who believes that, in order for

theory of politeness to be

comprehensive, it is integral that the topic of linguistic impoliteness is addressed also

makes this government.
Eelen points out that by conceptualizing face redress and face threatening acts,
Brown and Levinsons theory seems to be capable of accounting for linguistic
impoliteness. Their theory implies that if speakers aim for conflict, then they should
avoid using redressive strategies and instead use bald on-record strategies.
If face-wants were to account for impoliteness in the same way as politeness,
they would need to include the want not to satisfy ones own face-wants, which is a
contradiction in terms.
Furthermore points out that Brown and Levinsons theory appears to predict
that their bald-on record strategy is only employed in situations where face threat is
small, due to their premise that is generally in the mutual interests of participants to
maintain each others face. Thomas argues that Brown and Levinson have neglected
the fact that there are occasions where speakers do perform utterances that are
designed deliberately to be maximally offensive.
In light of this evidence, a theoretical approach to politeness that incorporates
both politeness and impoliteness appears to be required in order to provide a more
comprehensive explanation of linguistic politeness as a whole. Culpeper has
attempted to define a theory of impoliteness that works as a parallel framework to
Brown and Levinsons model of politeness.
However, the criticism that have been highlighted above can also be applied to
Culpepers work, as he follows Brown and Levinsons basic principles of face, facethreatening acts and positive and negative politeness.
3.5.2 Impoliteness and Political Interview
In political interviews it is not in the interests of the participants to pay mutual
attention to each others face needs. The face needs theory means that it does not
appear to account for confrontational discourse where not paying attention to the
addresses face needs and attacking their position is a frequent and expected
I: How would you describe the conflict between Israel and Palestine?
A.S: There is a sort of conflict but the reasons that lead to it are varied.
I: But could you possible explain this statement?

A.S: The causes are already well-known.

I: Explain in detail in order that every reader to understand!
A.S: There is nothing to be explained! 36
This is a typical example of impoliteness in interviews: the interviewer lost his
patience while trying to make the interviewee describe the conflict. The interviewee,
for personal reasons, probably, did not want to answer the question.
Yet, failure to pay attention to the face needs of the participants in an interview does
not result in conversational breakdown in political interviews, as predicted by Brown
and Levinsons theory.
The community of practice enables a more dynamic approach to be taken to
the definition of politeness which considers impoliteness as part of the overall
concept of politeness. It draws attention away from a search of politeness universals
and leads instead to a detailed examination of what politeness means in specific
contexts: it is the participants themselves who define what is polite and impolite
behavior against the norms they have for the specific communities in which their
discourse practice takes place. In interviews, it can be easily observed if the
interviewer and the interviewee are polite and impolite. This can be achieved by
looking at the gestures the participants do, by face expressions, and, of course, by the
language they use.
Impoliteness is only classified as such by certain people and/or when it leads
to a breakdown in relations. For impoliteness to be evident, either the interviewee or
the interviewer would need to highlight this themselves. Impoliteness becomes
obvious when one of the participants makes use of trivial words, phrases that can
offend his opponent or putting him in embarrassing situations.
By focusing on the institutional context of political interviews, it is hoped that
the benefit of focusing studies of politeness on discourse has been emphasized.
The neglect of impoliteness by previous linguistic politeness researchers has
been overcome by theorizing how nations of both politeness and impoliteness can be
conceived. Instead of applying a certain set of politeness universals to individual
speech acts, the community of practice approach demonstrates that politeness and
impoliteness have different functions for different individuals depending on what
kind of context they are acting in.
36Interview with Ariel Sharon, Israels Prime Minister, Newsweek, January, 2003:22


What is very important is the relationship between language and gender.

Instead of treating men and women differently the focus on local practices enables
language and gender researchers to stop searching for differences between male and
female speech patterns and instead consider that gender may not be the only aspect of
identity that is influencing linguistic behavior in specific contexts.

Adopting the notions of politeness and impoliteness should avoid the

decontextualised analysis that are a consequence of adopting Brown and Levinsons
politeness universals, thus bringing advantages to studies of language, gender and
politeness. It is important for both the interviewer and the interviewee to know when
to be polite and impolite. This depends on the context the interviews takes place.


Chapter IV
How interviews manipulate people
According to Webster dictionary, manipulation is defined as to influence, especially
with the intent to deceive. To influence is defined as the act or power of producing
an effect without apparent force or direct authority. And to deceive is to cause one
to believe an untruth. The combination of the above definitions gives the following
Manipulation- having the power to produce an effect without force or direct
authority, especially with the intent to cause one to believe something that is untrue.
Every day we are flooded with all kinds of information. Newspapers,
magazines, radio or TV stations do everything they can to sell their product. In this
way they resort to different tricks so as to persuade the public to believe them, and
the most important thing, to buy them and if possible, to use the same media product
for long periods of time.
No description can be entirely objective or neutral: we cannot perceive every
single thing, we cannot be neutral recording machines even of the things we do catch
with our senses, and we cannot recount in language all the details about even one
minute of one event. Although the inevitable selection is a problem of knowledge, our
subjective screens do help us not be swamped by detail. If we were totally objective,
we might have innumerable undifferentiated observations, but no sense of what was
relevant or important or interesting- all of which are value judgments. There
are different ways of addressing the target audience. The criteria chosen can be
described as being the following:
Selection: Out of all observations made, which ones are chosen to be reported?
Emphasis: Out of all observations chosen, which ones are emphasized (by degree of
detail or by placement within the account)?

Word choice: What are the connotations, the overtones, of the words? What is the
coloring given by values or emotions? What interpretive language is used?
Context- is the account in language affected by where it is placed- where it is printed,
for example, or whether it is accompanied by images?
Statements that are solely observations may be tested (correspondence test for truth:
checking facts and evidence), but even testable statements are selected according to a
purpose in communication.
A body of true statements can add up to a biased account through the use of
selection and emphasis. When value judgments, other beliefs, and emotions are
added, the line between true and false becomes increasingly difficult to draw.
When an account is not a report but an attempt at persuasion, it can still be considered
trustworthy if the argument is supported with good reasons and evidence. It is
important, though, that we evaluate persuasive writing on the basis of its
justifications rather that accepting its conclusions on the basis of emotional appeal.
Although it is difficult to evaluate the accuracy of an account when we do not
have independent access to the facts, but it can certainly help to be aware of some
persuasive techniques.
4.1 Strategies of manipulation. Equivocation
Errors in thinking are often created by vague or shifting definitions that confuse what
we are talking about. Equivocation uses double meanings of a word or an imprecision
in its definition to blur or shift it meaning mid-sentence or mid-speech so that, having
accepted the original meaning, an unwary listener or reader may be led, through
equivocation, to accept conclusions based on a rather different definition of the word.
e.g The fact that there are laws of nature shows that God exists. For the existence of
a law implies the existence of a lawgiver, and God is the supreme law-giver in the
universe. 37
The sense in which we call natural regularities laws is different from the
sense in which laws depend on a lawgiver. The term laws shifts meaning, and so the
conclusion does not follow.
Repeated affirmation

37 Hitchcock, Critical Thinking: A Guide to Evaluation. Methuen: Agincourt, 1983:177


In this trick, an assertion is not supported by arguments or evidence, but simply

repeated in the same words or paraphrase. Slogans of advertising and political
campaigns, for example, use repetition to drum catchwords into the audiences minds
in an effort to influence choices.
In asserting a point of view, an advocate might simply ignore all his opponents
counter-arguments based on evidence and go back to repeating the same assertion,
even if it has been refused. The audience may not notice.
Much can be implied through devices of innuendo. Since the writer makes no
direct statement, he can smear his opponent but not risk being taken to court on
charges of libel or defamation.
e.g the question that implies an answer or interpretation that the writer does not or
cannot prove:
The Water Board has not replied to our demand for an investigation. What are
they afraid of? What are they trying to hide? (Fear may have nothing to do with not
responding to a demand.)
Is it possible that someone in his position could actually be a racist? I would
be sorry to think so! (The person is not directly accused of racism, but the
suggestion has been planted.)
e.g a statement that is general but attached loosely to the person being discredited
We cannot accept corruption in our elected officials. Mr. Smith is once again
seeking election.
Unidentified Sources
Unidentified sources cannot be checked, but can give an illusion of evidence
and support. By using impersonal constructions such as It is widely believed that the
riots were started by a group calling itself the Peace Brigade the reporter creates a
sort of ambiguity in the mind of the reader. Who is doing the believing, and how
many? Sometimes the source is given with numerical precision, seeming very certain,
when it cannot be checked: Five of the other employees in my office have told me
that they agree with me. Marlin gives the further example: a foreign correspondent
reporter may write, seasoned observers here feel that when the reference is only to
a taxi driver, himself, or other journalists holed up in some hotel bar, with no real
access to what is going on outside.
Padding of High Sentiment

A persuasive speech, article, letter, etc. may include expression of fine values and
deep concers to create an impression of integrity and high-mindedness that give no
information but persuade by impressing. How could a person possessed of such ideals
and lofty concerns be manipulating the truth?
Quotations from venerable figures such as Nelson Mandela, the Dalai Lama, or Jesus
Christ, or reference to books on ethics or freedom add to the lofty tone.
I: Can a person be good without practicing religion?
D.L: Yes. And he or she can also be happy.
I: Is it possible-absolutely and it is worthwhile for one to make an effort to achieve
happiness. Just as the purpose of a plant is to grow, so it is that the main purpose of
every human being is to survive and grow until death. As far as mental development
is concerned, we should never be complacent. We can develop our minds infinitely
there is no limitation. Many of us are discontentwith how many possessions we have,
but were content when it comes to our spiritual development. That is the mistake we
make. 38
4.2 Addressing the target audience
But magazines and newspapers are the most likely to persuade the people to read
them. And how can they achieve this? It is not enough for a magazine to have a nice
colored cover, (which is indeed a definitory issue for the success of the magazine
because what people see at first is the cover and if they find it interesting they will
buy the magazine, only after that they will read its content) it should also have
interesting articles, reports, interviews. I chose three publications, Seventeen,
Cosmopolitan and Newsweek and in the following lines I am going to analyze them
in order to see their characteristics and why certain types of people buy them and how
they manipulate their readers.
According to Connell (1987:187) teenage magazines play an important role in
shaping images of feminity and in turn in socializing girls about adolescents
concerns. Girls often refers to magazines for advice on topics where they feel their
mothers ideas are outdated. Of all media forms, teenage magazines provide the most
accessible, private sources for addressing the issues of young women.

38Interview with Dalai Lama, Cosmopolitan, August 2001:122


In the United States, Seventeen is the teenage girls magazine with the largest
circulation. Editors take pride in nothing that the magazines has been continuously
published for over fifty years and that three generations of American women have
grown up reading Seventeen.
The average age of the readers is 16, with almost half of the readers are 16,
with almost half of the readers in the 12-15 age range, confirming that many girls
want to identify as being older by reading magazines targeted for an older audience.
The potential of reaching so many young American women gives enormous influence
to Seventeen as representative of the teen media. The implications are even greater
when viewed from global perspective. In most First World countries similar
adolescent girls magazines exist and the First World media producers are eager to
spread their publications in the Third World to promote their products. At the same
time, media like Seventeen send explicit consumer messages internationally, they
convey implicit cultural messages about feminine roles.
I: What your opinion about Seventeen?
M.P: Its really interesting reading about it. Here, in my country, we dont have such
a magazine. It was new for me to find out so many things about sex, beauty womens
role in society. Seventeen became my best friend. 39
The importance the magazines places upon education has varied throughout
the decades with positive emphasis on schooling until the mid 1980s, when school
began to be trivialized. From its conception in 1944 through 1950s, the relevant
articles regarding school included topics such as: Why Finnish High School?, Do
You Need College?, How to Study?
The 1960s and the 1970s began to show more peripheral representation of education.
A popular feature in Seventeen is the makeover section, illustrating the
before and after results, e.g when a young woman changes the style of her hair or
the application of cosmetics. The makeover implies a magical transformation, e.g
one can change appearance instantly by learning new make-up techniques and
purchasing new products.
I: How did you manage to change your hairstyle?
J.L: I always wanted to look like the models on the covers of the magazine. When I
read in Seventeen an article about hairstyling and I saw the pictures I asked my
39 Interview with Maria Pazdewska, a 15 years old girl from Poland, Seventeen,
February, 2002:38


mother to cut my hair. First, it was a disaster. After I went to a hairdresser, I showed
her the magazine and here I am! All new! 40
Throughout the decades, Seventeen has increased its number of pages per
issue, however the number of articles on education has continued to decrease
dramatically. As the magazine gets larger, more and more space is dedicated to
advertising. In fact, in Seventeen, ad and article often overlap on a single page,
leaving the reader to try and decipher whether non-commercial advice is given or a
product is promoted.
The consumerism promoted by Seventeen not only prepares teens for a
lifetime of consumption, but also adds to the trivialization of education. Nowadays,
even mature women read Seventeen and what is surprising is that they enjoy reading
I think the magazines influenced me to act, dress and think, differently they tell
you how you should be dressed and this way everyone wants to be like each other.
Many of the magazines have questions or messages which tell you how you should
act in relationships, etc. 41
Womens comfort with the information received as teens points to the need for
concern about the persuasive power of magazines have over their readers. For
example: I was always trying to look, and act these magazines said. I even started
wearing make-up (putting it on at school) because I thought I could look like the
models. 42
The images presented to teens are interpreted by the reader themselves as
having a negative impact. Instead, the respondents overwhelmingly considered their
teen media as a friend who helped them dial with the difficulties of growing up and
developing as women. Some even discussed how they treasured the magazine so
much they keep copies for years. Even ten years later, these women felt a positive
impact from the magazine they read as teens.

40 Interview with Jessica Linch, Seventeen, January, 2003:47

41 Interview with Sarah Michelle Gellar, Seventeen, May, 2002:52
42 Interview with Jessica Linch, Seventeen, Janury, 2003:47

Through the make-up hints, relationship advice and school trivialization, the
magazine conveys implicit cultural messages and how feminity should be both
constructed and performed. The photographs of girls or models shown in the
magazine present girls in nonthreatening or subordinate poses, such as standing on
one leg or looking up to a young man who might even be ignoring her.
Thus, the girls are not only learning beauty or fashion skills, but also
implications of the importance of appearance as a means to manipulate relationships
with men whether they are boyfriends, bosses or teachers. At the same time, the
magazine reinforces the importance of appearance, it de-emphasizes the significance
of education and learning.
The worlds no.1 magazine for women, target young women aged from 18 to
25, the term cosmopolitan describes a quality of a place and person who belongs to
the worlds as opposed to any particular culture, society or country. It describes
something free from attachments and prejudices of a petty community and thereby
holding a transcendent cultural status of global context. In order to attain this status
as an individual one has to be wealthy and has constant contact with the high culture
of Western capitalism; the freedom to fly to any destination in the world, to afford the
most expensive fashions and to believe such things to constitute the highest level of
freedom available.
If a magazines headlines read, Get this close to him, Make him all yours,
or 97 sexy date looks under 200$, would you be intrigued? These are just a few of
the articles a Cosmopolitan reader would see in a typical issue. Cosmo has a wide
range of readers because of expanding from Cosmopolitan-British Edition and now
Cosmo Girl, all of which are sold in the United States.
Women should celebrate their individuality and society (especially womens
magazines) should encourage them. Although Cosmo wants readers to think they help
liberate women, their articles and advertisements contradict that image. The editors
have enslaved Cosmos readers to their norms and sat unrealistic ideals for women to
try to attain.
Cosmos editors might say that if they address more womens issues and social
problems such as poverty or womens equality their readers would stop buying their
magazine. However, their readers would go along with the change because it is

Cosmo, the most popular Womens magazine. Cosmo sets trends! By using average
looking models and writing articles that would help women in daily life, Cosmo could
use its popularity to crush the stereotype of the feeble, powerless women.
Cosmopolitan needs to demonstrate that women not only have a voice, but can speak
their views as well.
It is probably the best well-known news magazine. It has several edition
spread all over the world. It became famous for its subjects that deal with political,
economical, financial, cultural issues, generally, with all types of subjects that people
are interested in. Its target audience is somewhere at the age of 30-65 but the
magazine can be easily read by all those who are interested in a detailed review of the
most important events of the human society. In the magazine we find analysis of a
certain event, the war from Iraq for example, interviews with the protagonists of a
conflict (an interview with Israels Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon, for example, where
he discusses the problem with the Palestinians).
Although at first it contained just 8 pages, the magazine increased its number
of pages per issue and the articles on politics became the most important.
Newsweek had its best year ever in 1997. Sustained growth in advertising sales,
substantial revenue from special issues, and a boost in the companys pension credit
helped produce the highest earnings in the magazines history.
The Diana series culminated with a commemorative issue that sold more than
2 million copies worldwide.
Domestic paid circulation was strong and steady at more than 3.2 million. The
magazines circulation strategy continues to yield the most long-term subscribers
among the three newsweeklies, as well as the fewest subscriptions sold with
Newsweek remains the only new magazine with foreign-language editions- in
Japanese, Korean and Spanish. Also published in cooperation with Newsweek is Itogi,
Russias first independent news magazine. It celebrated its one-year anniversary in
Looking at these three magazines we can easily understand their aims and
purposes. Each of them has adopted a certain style, a certain format, and, of course, a
specific type of language in order to attract readers. Nice girls on the cover,

multicolored ads, shocking titles or articles are only a few things that make people
buy a certain magazine.
How do the readers choose a magazine? People try to find the best media that
is likely to reflect their thoughts, beliefs, feelings, trust, personalities and hobbies.
Choosing a certain magazine depends on each of us.
Of course, we are not going to buy Newsweek if we are not interested in politics or
economy, or we are not going to buy Seventeen if we are old and we do not
understand and like the language of the teens. Everybody is free to read what he or
she considers is worth reading and the media world is so varied that we can choose
whatever we want. Being interested in a certain type of media, we might accept its
beliefs and try to be like that. In this way we become manipulated. The tricks,
deception, camouflages and makeshifts are just some of the manipulation tool used in
order to change the appearances or to hide the unpleasant reality by misleading the
reader. The manipulators influence primarily the opinions and behaviors that are not
so strong.
People should never forget: MEDIA ARE MEANT TO MANIPULATE
PEOPLE- by language, images, formats, ads, etc.


Language is a complex system. We use language all the time. But everybody uses
different type of words according to their own personality, intentions, sex, gender,
culture; situation and the person they are interact with.
In the present paper I managed to demonstrate that it can be very interesting to
see how people use language in different contexts and what massages words convey
while being used in a certain moment and by certain people.
With the four chapters of my paper we could see how simple words can
achieve great power while being used in different contexts by different speakers.
In chapter one we could discover several types of interviews accompanied by a
series of examples, the stages that a reporter has to follow while elaborating an
interview and the target audience that must be established while creating a media
Chapter two is concerned with different kinds of meaning and what the
functions of the language interviews are.
In chapter three it can be observed how interviews can be seen as discourse,
the relation between text and context, how pragmatic phenomena (implicature,
politeness or impoliteness) work in a text.
With chapter four I tried to point out the main techniques of manipulation used
by reporters in order to attract readers and to establish a target audience. Here are also
present short study cases for each magazine I used in my research: Seventeen- The
Teens World Known Magazine, Cosmopolitan- the World No.1 Magazine for Women
and Newsweek- Best Political Magazine.
Interviews are meant to bring out new things regarding a certain issue. They
are not just a sequence of senseless words. Therefore, I tried to analyze the language
both semantically and pragmatically because we must know that words are like tools
and everybody is free to use them in his own way.

Interviewing is the most widely used method for informing people. The
interview enables the reader to find out more about the interviewee. It has also been
described as a mutual exchange of information.
Creating an interview requires good knowledge of language and of facts that
become subjects for the interview. The reporter must be aware of what sort of
language uses and whom he is addressing to in order to clarify things to the reader
and not to create confusion and ambiguity.


Linguistic materials:

Austin, J.L (1962) How to do things with words, Oxford University press,

Brown, G. & Yule, G (1983) Discourse Analysis, Cambridge, Cambridge

University Press;
Brown, P. & Levinson, S.C (1978-1987) Politeness- Some Universals in

language usage, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press;

Crystal, David (1987) The Cambridge Encyclopedia of the Language English;
Cook, G. (1992) The Discourse of Advertising, Routledge London & New

Fairclough, N.L (1996) Discourse and social change, Polity Press;
Grice, H.P. (1981) Presupposition and conversational implicature, in Cole P.

(ed) Radical pragmatics, Academic, New York;

Lakoff, R.T (1974) What you can do with words, politeness, pragmatics and
performatives, Berkeley studies in syntax and semantics vol. 1, Institute of

Human Learning, University of California, Berkeley, CA;

Leech, G.N. (1981) Semantics (2nd edition), Penguin, Harmondsworth;
Leech, G.N (1983) Principles of pragmatics, Longman, London;
Levinson, S.CN (1983) Pragmatics, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge;
Vizental, A. (2002) The Pragmatics of Advertising, VasileGoldis, Univerity
Press, Arad;

Authentic Sources:
Seventeen Magazine:

May, 2001:44
May, 2002:23
July, 2002:42
September, 2002:47
October, 2002:49

February, 2003:41
March, 2003:21

Cosmopolitan magazine:

June, 2001:21
August, 2001:122
September, 2005:51
June, 2002:47
August, 2002:64
November, 2002:61
January, 2003:33
March, 2003:67
May, 2003:62

Newsweek Magazine:

January, 2003:22
February, 2003:41
March, 2003:44