Speech presentation in newspapers: An empirical reader response


This article contributes to the understanding of how readers experience speech presentation. Speech presentation is part of the discourse presentation model (Leech and Short, 1981), which outlines a series of strategies for how a speech event can be presented. The model outlines six categories of speech presentation and positions these categories on a scale of faithfulness. Each category of speech presentation has a prototypical faithfulness assumption which is influenced by textual features such as the reporting verb, amount of propositional content presented to the reader and other linguistic features. Speech presentation has received lots of attention by scholars; Semino et al (1999) and McIntyre et al (2004) demonstrate the model’s applicability in both written and spoken discourse. Despite the model being developed to account for the presentation of speech writing and thought (Short et al, 2002), few studies consider readers’ experiences of speech presentation. This study uses a reader response questionnaire to show how respondents experience speech presentation. It will also demonstrate the usefulness of qualitative and quantitative analysis; use statistical methods to identify significant differences in respondents’ experiences of the texts; and carry out stylistic analyses of the texts in order to account for the results observed. The results observed suggest that readers have high levels of confidence in speech that is presented using certain linguistic features. Therefore, the article examines these linguistic features more broadly and discusses the implication of their presence in speech presentation and how this can affect the experience of a reader. I also outline the practical implications of my research in areas such as law and journalism, and how the findings I report on can enable text producers, or those responsible for presenting others’ speech, to mitigate any confusion or unintended misrepresentation that could be perceived by the recipient.


critical stylistics, stylistics, linguistics, discourse presentation, reader response, Speech presentation

How to Cite

Butler, M., (2021) “Speech presentation in newspapers: An empirical reader response”, Fields: journal of Huddersfield student research 7(1). doi: https://doi.org/10.5920/fields.866


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Matthew Butler (University of Huddersfield)





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