GSE Publications

Document Type

Journal Article

Date of this Version

October 1996


Speakers often evaluate others, implicitly, while apparently speaking in a neutral way about them. This article develops an account of the textual devices speakers use to communicate such implicit messages. The account draws on Bakhtin's (1981[1935]) concepts of 'voice' and 'ventriloquation.' It systematizes these concepts, by proposing five specific textual devices that speakers use to convey implicit evaluations. This account is then applied to samples of discourse from network news political coverage, specifically coverage of the 1992 US presidential election. The five devices occur robustly in this discourse. Three networks' coverage of one campaign event is analyzed in detail to illustrate how newscasters orchestrate their implicit evaluations through skillful use of the five devices.


Reprinted from Text: an interdisciplinary journal for the study of discourse, Volume 16, Issue 4, October 1996, pages 557-585.
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NOTE: At the time of publication, the author was affiliated with Bates College. Currently June 2007, he is a faculty member of the Graduate School of Education at the University of Pennsylvania.
The author has asserted his right to include this material into ScholarlyCommons@Penn.


indexicals, media bias, politics, quoted speech, ventriloquation, voice



Date Posted: 05 June 2007

This document has been peer reviewed.