The concept of stance has been approached from different perspectives and assigned a wide
variety of labels, for the same or very similar phenomena, including “stance” itself (Biber &
Finegan 1989; Jaffe 2009), “attitude” (Jones & Harris 1967), “affect” (Ochs 1989),
“positioning” (Davies & Harré 1990), “hedging” (Hyland 1998), “evaluation” (Hunston &
Thompson 2000), or “appraisal” (Martin and White 2005). The present paper considers
speaker/writer’s stance as the way the various enunciational positions of the speaker/writer
reflect their experience, attitudes and assessments regarding the communicated events or
propositions (Marín-Arrese 2009). From the various aspects that lie under the stance umbrella,
this paper focuses on effective stance, that is, speaker/writer’s attempt to exert control or
influence on the course of reality (Marín-Arrese 2011).
Effective stance is used to construct subject positions in the expression of support for the
realization of events, and this may be done with several aims, such as controlling their hearers
or readers’ acceptance of events or persuading them to perform actions. In order to do so,
several strategies can be adopted. For example, speakers/writers may exert a direct command
(Directivity), claim there is an obligation or necessity to do so (Deonticity), highlight how
socially desirable, required or normative it is (Normativity), and indicate the author’s intention,
inclination or commitment (Intentionality) or even possibility (Potentiality) to perform the
action itself (Marín-Arrese 2011).
This paper explores the similarities and differences in the lexical realisations of Effective stance
strategies in journalistic discourse and in political discourse in English and Spanish. The paper
presents results of a contrastive corpus study on effective stance markers in political speeches
(UK Conservative party and Labour party, Spanish Partido Popular and PSOE), as
representatives of centre-right and centre-left ideologies, and in opinion columns from
newspapers of both right-wing and left-wing leanings (UK: The Guardian, The Times, Spain:
El País, ABC). The texts in both languages and domains add up to about 400,000 words.
The paper addresses the following issues: (i) what the most common realisations for each of
the five above-mentioned categories inside Effective stance (Directivity, Deonticity,
Normativity, Intentionality and Potentiality) are; and (ii) whether these realisations are similar
across languages (English and Spanish) and (iii) domains (political and journalistic discourse).
With the aim of throwing some light on the specific realisations of Effective stance in these
languages and domains, the process of analysis of the data relies first on a manual, textualbased annotation, to identify the categories of Effectivity in the corpus, and a posterior
computer-assisted extraction of the annotated items and identification of relevant lexical items
and structures. These extraction and identification processes are assisted by the use of
Sketchengine, a web-based corpus query system platform that allows exploring how language
works in large collections of texts in many different languages. Expected results include, on
the one hand, a similar use of lexical strategies across languages, indicating a higher influence
of domain over language and, on the other hand, an inclination to use single lexical items to
convey Effectivity, with a preference for verbs. However, special attention will also be paid to
those cases which show differences across languages and less used lexical categories.