Prospektives versus retrospektives Argumentieren.

Redebeiträge vor und nach einer parlamentarischen Abstimmung

  • Irene Kunert Universität Heidelberg


This study aims to investigate the linguistic differences between an argumentation referring to a potential future action (prospective argumentation) and one justifying a past action (retrospective argumentation) in the parliamentary arena. It is based on the analysis of German and French speeches taken from the protocols of the plenary sessions of the European Parliament.

In a plenary session, parliamentary votes are preceded by a general debate. During this debate, speakers may give reasons supporting their own choice in an upcoming vote, but they may also try to persuade other Members of Parliament to vote the same way. This argumentation is prospective. After the vote, Members may give an oral or written explanation of vote designed to justify their decision. The argumentative orientation in this case is retrospective. In an exemplary approach, 50 speeches per language (German/French) and communication situation (prospective/retrospective) will be analyzed. The study argues that the macrostructure of the speeches is influenced by the orientation of the conclusion: In a prospective argumentation, speakers tend to first present their arguments before coming up with their conclusion, the conclusion being a declaration of one’s own intent to vote or a recommendation for other Members of Parliament. In a prototypical explanation of vote, the conclusion precedes the arguments. Special attention is given to the analysis of argument and conclusion markers. The study tries to show that conclusion markers are relatively more frequent in prospective argumentation, while retrospective argumentation makes broader use of argument markers.

Kunert, I. (2019). Prospektives versus retrospektives Argumentieren. Linguistik Online, 97(4), 49-69.