This paper employs the hypothesis that one of the functions of political discourse is to legitimise a perceived point of view by promoting certain representations of a socio-political reality. It could be argued that the 1998 Good Friday (Belfast) Agreement creates a paradoxical reality in Northern Ireland because its language is so vague that it can be interpreted in different ways. This paper analyses linguistic categories used in the text of the Agreement to reveal the type of peaceful reality promoted and the constructive ambiguity used to facilitate agreement. It argues that the success of the peace process depended to a large extent on the particular nuances of discourse in and around this crucial document.

Author Bio(s)

Laura Filardo-Llamas is a lecturer of English at the University of Valladolid, Spain. Her main area of research is political discourse analysis, in particular from a linguistic perspective. She applied both topics in her PhD thesis, entitled “Language and Legitimisation. Political Discourse Analysis in Northern Ireland after the Agreement. 1998-2004.” Email: lfilardo@fyl.uva.es.


1998 Good Friday (Belfast) Agreement, language, Northern Ireland, political discourse

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