Strategic English: linguistic framing as strategic communication in the EU political arena
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[ACCESS RESTRICTED TO THE UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI AT AUTHOR'S REQUEST.] The research presented here examines lobbyists’ language choices in strategic communication within the EU political arena. Framing theory and code switching are used to analyze the strategic choices lobbyists use to engage policymakers. Lobbyists acknowledged the predominance of English in the EU political sphere and native English speakers’ advantage when communicating messages. Because of English’s predominance, lobbyists stated that many concepts, terms, and policies are easier to discuss in English and that translations or equivalent concepts may not exist in other European languages. The study examined the language use in terms of the proposed linguistic frames of facility and solidarity. Lobbyists engage the facility frame to reach a diverse group of politicians in a common language, such as English. Conversely, lobbyists can reach out to politicians in their native language in the solidarity frame. Lobbyists’ responses suggested that engaging politicians in their native languages expressed empathy and implied that this tactic allowed lobbyists to get a foot in the door with politicians. Lobbyists stated language knowledge also contributed to their personal effectiveness and to organizations’ success and hiring decisions. Their responses, language knowledge, and use of those languages affirm that language functions as a deliberate framing tool, whether to develop relationships with politicians, reach audiences with wide linguistic backgrounds, or more clearly explain concepts and policies.
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