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The Use of Language and Power Extracts

Essay by   •  November 4, 2012  •  Essay  •  430 Words (2 Pages)  •  1,440 Views

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The intension of this piece of text is to inform, instruct and advice visibly stating information about a penalty notice and, directing the conditions that the recipient has to assemble. The police letter contains a variety of linguistic devices to reveal instrumental and political power stressing authority.

Straight away, the writer puts emphasis on the significance of the notice by intentionally positioning the logo and address of the police station at the top of the letter. This follows the use of prosodic stress "POLICE" creating a solemn and authoritative tone increasing the formality of the text making it suitable for the recipient.

The idea of Wareing's theory relating to political power is further exercised through technical law and order language such as; "evidence, penalty, endorsement" which these nouns symbolise the authority figure of the police. The noun "endorsement" gives approval to the recipient about the consequences of not paying for the penalty. This use of language device constructs a fear-provoking address as the police will endorse "3 points and fixed penalty of £60". The use of legal terminology presents an intense tone inflicting on Fairclough's theory on instrumental power - power implemented by the police through language to maintain authority, almost directing the recipient to follow their instructions. The use of instrumental power accentuates the importance and seriousness of the letter as the conditional clause followed by the destructive noun "failure" stresses the possible penalties that can be sanctioned.

The intelligent technique of exercising command and supremacy is further emphasised through the use of semantic field, "notice, offence, committed, exceeding, speed limit" generating a sequence of the incident. The writer uses repetition of the noun "notice" to familiarise and in fact, advise the recipient with the potential difficulties that may occur if notice is not followed as instructed.

The conventional formal opening is used through-out the letter. The address establishes a connection between the Police and recipient by using 2nd person pronouns "you, your". This use of pronouns personalise the letter to the recipient making them feel nervous and alarming. A formal register is illustrated through syntax which hints the language of power. Complex and compound sentences are used to bring information about the important actions that the recipient has to "comply with" in "28 days", once more indicating the serious consequence which will "result in court proceeding" if the recipient fail to comply with the instructions. This piece of text persuades the recipient to "contact the Central Ticket Office, as soon as possible" creating a warm manner advising them to follow these instructions using influential power.



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