The strange case of Dr Blair and Mr Bush: counting their words to solve a mystery

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THE ALLIANCE between US President George W. Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair during the recent Second Gulf War has appeared anomalous to many, because they belong to ideologically very different political parties. Blair, in particular, has been accused of having betrayed some of the left-wing ideas that, historically, have characterised the Labour Party. This article seeks to understand the extent to which, at least in linguistic terms, the ideas of Blair and Bush may not be as alike as one might be tempted to believe. Two small corpora of interviews and speeches were collected over a period of some six weeks, all relating to the war in Iraq. Analysis of the corpora reveals some notable differences between Blair and Bush and also shows that certain important – and more hidden – elements of discourse escape this type of investigation and need closer scrutiny.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3-13
Number of pages11
JournalEnglish Today
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2003


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