“Code of silence” – linguistic approach to political discourse

This article attempts to describe taboos regarding race, gender, sexuality, and religion as a “code of silence” in political discourse.

Political discourse is an arena of language where speakers use various linguistic strategies to convey their messages and influence their audiences. However, some topics are left unsaid or avoided, creating a “code of silence” in political discourse. This article explores the concept of taboos in language and how they create a code of silence in political discourse.

Taboos are words, topics, or actions that are forbidden or avoided in a culture or society. They can be religious, social, or political. In political discourse, taboos are often related to sensitive or controversial issues such as race, gender, sexuality, and religion. Political actors may avoid discussing these topics to avoid offending their supporters or opponents, or to avoid backlash from the media.

The “code of silence” in political discourse can have various consequences. It can limit the range of topics that are discussed in public, creating an incomplete picture of the issues at hand. It can also lead to a lack of transparency and accountability, as politicians avoid discussing their policies or decisions in detail.

Moreover, the code of silence can lead to misunderstandings and miscommunication between different groups in society. If a taboo topic is not discussed openly, people may form their own opinions based on rumors, stereotypes, or assumptions. This can create a divisive atmosphere and hinder progress towards social or political change.

However, breaking the code of silence can also be risky. Gender, race, sexuality and religion generally are a No-Man’s Land for politicians. Those who discuss taboo topics openly may face criticism or backlash from their opponents, the media, or their own supporters. Therefore, it requires skill and strategic thinking to navigate the code of silence in political discourse.

In conclusion, the code of silence in political discourse is a complex linguistic phenomenon that affects the way we communicate and understand political issues. While taboos can limit open discussion and create misunderstandings, breaking the code of silence can also be risky. Therefore, it is important to recognize and understand taboos in political discourse, and to use language strategically to communicate effectively and responsibly.

Mariana Gryniv
Mariana Gryniv
Mariana Gryniv is a PhD candidate of Applied Linguistics at the College of Humanities, Jilin University. An alumnus of Vasyl Stefanyk Precarpathian National University, Ukraine.