n African Journal of Rhetoric - Transformative political rhetoric : argumentation and evaluative meanings in Zimbabwean parliamentary debates

Volume 8 Number 1
  • ISSN : 1998-2054


Delving into the semantics of a notion in order to resolve an impasse between parties with differing standpoints worsen the problem. An argument that could have started with a minor difference of opinion can degenerate into a controversy. Thus, this paper opines that efforts to define the notion 'hero' or 'heroism' in order to determine who is supposed to be buried at the Zimbabwean National Heroes Acre makes the problem 'irresolvable' between the political parties in government. Debates on conferment of hero status in the Zimbabwean parliament are examined. These debates are selected on the basis of their controversiality and representativeness of the major political parties in government. We provide a critical analysis of the rhetorical, pragmatic and evaluative forms realised in the discourse of parliamentarians advancing standpoints in an effort to resolve the problem. The analysis of these debates is couched within the Extended Pragma Dialectic Theory, Controversy Analysis and Appraisal Theory. This multi- theoretic approach to controversial debates unearths essential discourse- linguistic insights on parliamentary discourse and transformative rhetoric.

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