Pragmatics of Political Blame in British and Iraqi Parliaments

Author: Ammar Ghalib Saleem

Keywords: blame avoidance, British and Iraqi parliaments, impoliteness, political blame, politeness


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.