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Evolutionary Syntax

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Academic Paper

Title: To tell it directly or not: Coding transparency and corruption in Malagasy political oratory
Author: Jennifer L. Jackson
Institution: University of California
Linguistic Field: Sociolinguistics
Abstract: This article discusses stylistic and contextual variations in the political oratory (kabary politika) of urban Madagascar. New imported oratorical styles and older styles of kabary represent competing linguistic markets where political leaders field broader issues of political modernity, fighting government corruption through reforms toward transparency. Kabary has become the object of criticism in models for transparent government practice. This has affected the way leaders speak to and about the country, reifying a moral structure arguing what constitutes truth and how speakers understand language as conveying that truth. In this respect, this article describes linguistic and metalinguistic encodings of transparency versus corruption in the political communication styles of highland Malagasy political orators. It looks at how the rhetorical modes of an urban polity are reorganized in ways that reshape vernacular epistemologies of truth in language and shift the production of particular publics and their access to participation in political process.


This article appears IN Language in Society Vol. 38, Issue 1, which you can READ on Cambridge's site or on LINGUIST .

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