Quitting with Style: Linguistic Analysis of Political Resignation Speeches
Political discourse mainly serves as a platform where a struggle for power takes place. Nevertheless, political resignation speeches stand out because their purpose is completely different – politicians relinquish power to other political actors. Quitting a high-ranking public position is never a simple matter; consequently, politicians are extremely cautious in coming forward with well-structured and well-phrased speeches. This research looks into the syntactic formula politicians apply in announcing their resignation. The focus is placed on determining the types of sentences (both according to function and structure) the resigning politicians prefer; their usage of syntactically marked sentences versus sentences in which the SVOCA rule is observed. Finally, the different realizations of the Subject and the use of passive voice are analysed, since these are deemed to have a direct bearing on the amount of responsibility politicians assume. The study offers a linguistic analysis of the resignation speeches of the last three British Prime Ministers and is directed at finding commonalities and differences in the syntactic features of their resignation speeches.