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Dynamics of English gratitude expression: a corpus-assisted analysis of UK government Covid briefings

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posted on 2024-06-10, 10:56 authored by M. Lynne MurphyM. Lynne Murphy, Jilan Wei

With a focus on politicians’ and medical experts’ gratitude expressions in UK government COVID-19 briefings, this research describes how perspective and intensity were modulated in expressing gratitude to realise different pragmatic intentions. This corpus-assisted analysis finds that retrospective or prospective gratitude expression was adopted by the two British elite groups to build solidarity (encouraging) and/or make requests (directing) for protecting public health. Gratitude of varying intensities was expressed (e.g. by highlighting metaphorical dimensions such as WIDTH and DEPTH) to correspond to the importance of a benefit (judged by how much the given benefit matches the receiver’s needs and preferences) and/or to implicitly display the evaluation of the benefactor’s responsibility and efforts. We tentatively formulate a dynamic model of gratitude expression in public discourse and shed light on the metaphorical conceptualisation of English gratitude expression and the power of gratitude expression in boosting social cohesion and directing social actions in a discourse of crisis.

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  • Published

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  • Published version

Journal

Language and Cognition

ISSN

1866-9808

Publisher

Cambridge University Press

Department affiliated with

  • English Publications

Institution

University of Sussex

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  • Yes

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  • Yes

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