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Clichés as evaluative resources: A socio-cognitive study

Bullo, Stella (2019) Clichés as evaluative resources: A socio-cognitive study. Text and Talk. ISSN 1860-7330

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Abstract

In this article, I explore clichés as socio-cognitive resources that enable the expression of attitudinal positioning in interaction. I examine a corpus of 150 clichés collected from a variety of publicly available sources and illustrate their function by exploring how they are used to convey evaluation in institutional meetings. By co-deploying the attitude system of the appraisal framework with socio-cognitive discourse analysis tools, I argue that clichés can be used to provoke evaluation through the socio-cognitive resources they evoke given the shared knowledge contained within them. The findings indicate that the majority of evaluative instances relate to performance or ability of human entities by reference to basic aspects of human experience contained in the socio-cognitive representations evoked. The article also finds that the provoked attitudinal values work in a cumulative way to create a flow of evaluative patterns, which, in turn, contributes to our understanding of the interpersonal function they perform, i.e. persuade, urge action and save face. The paper argues that the co-deployment of both approaches allows the investigation of clichés as resources for covertly expressing evaluation by reference to knowledge shared by the interlocutors.

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