Arab World English Journal (AWEJ) Volume 11. Number1 March 2020                                                     Pp.331-375

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Pragmatics of Political Blame in British and Iraqi Parliaments

Ammar Ghalib Saleem
Department of English, College of Languages
University of Baghdad, Baghdad, Iraq

  Rihab Abduljaleel Saeed Alattar
Department of English, College of Languages
University of Baghdad, Baghdad, Iraq



This research is a pragmatic study of political blame in British and Iraqi Parliaments. It aims to unfold the similarities and/or differences in terms of the pragmatic and pragma-rhetorical strategies used by British and Iraqi politicians when they exchange blame in both offensive and defensive situations. A statistical analysis is conducted to quantitatively support the findings of the pragmatic analysis. The analyses conducted have yielded different results among blame is a process composed of two stages. Each stage is distinct for its pragmatic components and pragma-rhetorical strategies. British and Iraqi MPs at the blame stage tend to utilize impoliteness as their main strategy. However, British and Iraqi MPs perform differently at the blame avoidance stage in that British MPs employ politeness as their main defense strategy, whereas Iraqi MPs exploit impoliteness. Besides, British and Iraqi MPs at the blame stage tend to violate the maxim of quality by fabricating their statements. At the blame avoidance stage, the maxim of relevance was the most violated one through the strategy of evasion. As for pragma-rhetorical strategies, British and Iraqi politicians at the blame stage exploit the pragma-rhetorical strategy of number-game to support their credibility. At the blame avoidance stage, British politicians primarily utilize hyperbole, whereas Iraqi politicians deploy shifting blame.
Keywords: blame avoidance, British and Iraqi parliaments, impoliteness, political blame, politeness

Cite as: Saleem, A. G., & Alattar, R. A. S. (2020). Pragmatics of Political Blame in British and Iraqi Parliaments. Arab World English Journal, 11 (1) 331-375.


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Ammar Ghalib Saleem received his BA in 2015 from the College of Languages at the University
of Baghdad. He has been teaching English as a foreign language since 2015. He is an MA student
in the English Language. He has completed the thesis “A Pragma-Rhetorical Study of the
Proceedings of Question Time Held in the British and Iraqi Parliaments.”

Dr. Rihab Abduljaleel Saeed (Ph.D.) received her Ph.D. from the College of Arts, University of
Baghdad in 2006 with a dissertation on Gricean maxims of conversational implicature. Her fields
of research are pragmatics and stylistics. She is an assistant professor at the department of
English/College of Languages and has been teaching pragmatics, semantics, and many other MA
courses since 2008. ORCID: