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Politeness at work in the Clinton Email Corpus: A first look at the effects of status and gender

De Felice, R; Garretson, G; (2018) Politeness at work in the Clinton Email Corpus: A first look at the effects of status and gender. Corpus Pragmatics , 2 (3) pp. 221-242. 10.1007/s41701-018-0034-2. Green open access

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Abstract

This article introduces the Clinton Email Corpus, comprising 33,000 recently released email messages sent to and from Hillary Clinton during her tenure as United States Secretary of State, and presents the results of a first investigation into the effect of status and gender on politeness-related linguistic choices within the corpus, based on a sample of 500 emails. We describe the composition of the corpus and mention the technical challenges inherent in its creation, and then present the 500-email subset, in which all messages are categorized according to sender and recipient gender, position in the workplace hierarchy, and personal closeness to Clinton. The analysis looks at the most frequent bigrams in each of these subsets as a starting point for the identification of linguistic differences. We find that the main differences relate to the content and function of the messages rather than their tone. Individuals lower in the hierarchy but not in Clinton’s inner circle are more often engaged in practical tasks, while members of the inner circle primarily discuss issues and use email to arrange in-person conversations. Clinton herself is generally found to engage neither in extensive politeness nor in overt displays of power. These findings present further evidence of how corpus linguistics can be used to advance our understanding of workplace pragmatics.

Type: Article
Title: Politeness at work in the Clinton Email Corpus: A first look at the effects of status and gender
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1007/s41701-018-0034-2
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1007/s41701-018-0034-2
Language: English
Additional information: © The Author(s) 2018. Open Access: This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.
Keywords: Hillary Clinton, Email, Politeness, Workplace communication, Gender
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Arts and Humanities
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Dept of English Lang and Literature
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10046231
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