DOI: 10.5176/2251-3566_L317.59

Authors: Junhan Luan, Yi Zhang and Yishan Gao

Abstract: Based on Michael Halliday’s definition of the interpersonal functions of language in his theory of Systemic Functional Grammar(SFG) and Michael Strumpf’s definition of personal pronouns in his book The Grammar Bible, this paper studied the interpersonal functions of personal pronouns in British Prime Minister Theresa May’s Inaugural Address delivered on 15th July 2016. Findings suggested that among all the personal pronouns used in her address, the frequencies of “you”, “we” and “I” were 32, 22 and 11, which were the three most frequently used personal pronouns. As for the features of Theresa May’s using of the three personal pronouns, she preferred to show her concern of British people, to connect herself with her citizens, and to attract British people’s attention by using “you”; she was used to highlighting her authority and status as Prime Minister, to showing her politeness and to making her ideas more convincing by using “we”; she tended to present her personal gratitude and good relationship with certain essential political figures, to express her personal ideas and to show her confident attitudes by using “I”. This paper suggested that the reasons behind the features were political background, the way of talking, and the speaker’s identity.

Keywords: Interpersonal functions; personal pronouns; political speech

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