The National-Cultural Profile of the Political Language of CDU/CSU Leaders

Chigasheva M.A.,

Associated Professor, Head of German Language Department, MGIMO University,

elibrary_id: 473963 | ORCID: 0000-0003-1423-5479 | RESEARCHER_ID: AAP-4748-2020

Elizar’eva M.A.,

Senior Lecturer, German Language Department, MGIMO University,

elibrary_id: 836126 | ORCID: 0000-0003-1340-8382 | RESEARCHER_ID: AAP-4814-2020

Larina T.S.,

Lecturer, German Language Department, MGIMO University,

elibrary_id: 839069 | ORCID: 0000-0001-5496-5850 | RESEARCHER_ID: AAP-4471-2020

DOI: 10.17976/jpps/2020.04.11
For citation:

Chigasheva M.A., Elizar’eva M.A., Larina T.S. The National-Cultural Profile of the Political Language of CDU/CSU Leaders. – Polis. Political Studies. 2020. No. 4. P. 152-165. (In Russ.).

The article was prepared in the framework of the MGIMO young scientists competition grant No. KMU-10/09.


The study of political discourse characteristics specific to national cultures is becoming one of the most popular fields of academic and practice-oriented research across political science, history, psychology, sociology, political discourse philosophy and, of course, linguistics. The article studies the specific national and cultural characteristics of German political discourse, focusing on the public speeches of CDU and CSU chairpersons (A. Kramp-Karrenbauer and M. Söder respectively) during the Political Ash Wednesday meetings in 2019. “Political Ash Wednesday” (politischer Aschermittwoch) is a traditional event in German politics, at which reacting to recent political events and verbally attacking one’s political opponents are quite typical. Speeches held during Political Ash Wednesdays are usually relatively expressive and are marked with cultural specificity. The research aims to find out and classify culture-specific lexical items and define the key topics of the speeches according to these speakers. The authors used the following methods: semantic analysis, contextual analysis, statistical analysis, semantic field analysis, and survey techniques. By using these methods to approach vocabulary through semantics and context, speakers’ lexical specifics could be chosen, which were then divided into culturally specific categories, “background items” which require cultural knowledge, and gender-specific items. Statistical analysis showed that Kramp-Karrenbauer and Söder mostly brought up similar topics in their speeches, but with notable differences: both speakers focused on domestic politics, but Söder also touched upon local Bavarian issues. Both speakers spoke about challenges including digitalization, energy transition, ecology, the transformation of the German political landscape, and internal governmental problems. Still, only Söder paid attention to the problem of integration of refugees, whereas only Kramp-Karrenbauer spoke on gender and social politics. Both chairpersons criticized their political opponents. There is not much difference in these speeches regarding foreign policy: both politicians referred to the European Parliamentary election and security issues. The authors conclude that comprehensive study of culturespecific lexis in an extralinguistic context could help reveal specific features of political discourse.

political Ash Wednesday, Germany, Christian Democratic Union of Germany, Christian Social Union in Bavaria, political discourse, culture-specific lexis, background items.


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Content No. 4, 2020

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