Volume 7 (1) 2013

SHAPING AND MISREPRESENTING PUBLIC PERCEPTIONS OF ECOLOGICAL CATASTROPHES: THE BP GULF OIL SPILL  Pages 1-18

Richard J. Alexander 

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  • Against the background of corporate globalization and the discoursal integration of ecological issues by multinationals this paper examines how BP played down and took steps to minimize the effects of its Deep Horizon rig explosion in 2010.  Using a combination of CDA methods and corpus linguistic techniques an empirical analysis is first given of a series of BP’s press releases during the attempts to stop the oil spill. Various linguistic features, such as euphemisms and metaphors, are isolated. The manner in which BP presents issues of obligation and responsibility is discussed. A second empirical section considers how the aftermath of the spill, especially the ‘restoration’ of the Gulf, and BP’s claims to be dealing with it is presented on BP’s website. This can be seen as a case of how crisis communication is undertaken by corporations. A key feature that is illustrated is the role terminological control and word choice play in deflecting attention from real and potential troubles. A final generalizing discussion section provides a critical political-economic evaluation of the practices and media presentations that state and business corporate bodies engage in to conceal and obscure their real operations and intentions.
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THE FACE-VEIL THROUGH THE GAZE  Pages 19-32

Ghadah Alrasheed

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  • The paper is to display through critical discourse analysis discursive structures of six opinion articles taken from three Canadian newspapers discussing the niqab after the ban of it in France: two newspapers are national – Globe and Mail and National Post – and one is locally published in Ottawa -Ottawa Sun. Studying these articles through a CDA lens, I have found that the discourse of the opinion articles features two ‘ways of seeing’ (Berger 2008) towards the face veil: one is the colonial gaze, which comes from a history of colonization and for which the face veil stands out as a barrier to obtaining knowledge about these women and thus conquering them. The other coded way of seeing is that of nationalism which translates Muslim women as symbols of anti-nationality and inability to assimilate into the ‘imagined Canada’ (Jiwani 2006; Berland 2009). The theoretical investigation of the paper relies on discussions of Orientalism, and on critical descriptions the socio-historical and political context of Canada. It is substantiated by a qualitative critical analysis of the data to illustrate discursive patterns that characterize ideologically loaded presentations of the face-veil and Muslim women.
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REPRESENTATION OF FOREIGN JUSTICE IN THE MEDIA: THE AMANDA KNOX CASE  Pages 33-50

Michael S. Boyd

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  • The work is interested in the use and recontextualization of certain legal lexis in the representation of mediatized legal discourse. Specifically, it focuses on the media portrayal of Amanda Knox, the American university exchange student who was convicted of and subsequently acquitted for the murder of British Exchange student, Meredith Kercher. A corpus-assisted empirical analysis of word frequencies and keywords is aimed at uncovering examples of recontextualization and misrepresentation of legal terms and concepts. The data are analyzed both quantitatively and qualitatively. From a theoretical point of view, the work is informed by the notion that distinctive contextual characteristics of the system, culture, language, and society and the frames and scripts that these imply must be taken into consideration when analyzing (mediatized) legal discourse. Crucially, it argues that recontextualization is both a selective and on-going process, which in the case of mediatized legal discourse can lead to mispresentation of both rules of law and the systems through which legal systems acquire ‘their meaningfulness and meaning’ (Cao 2007).
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EXCLUSIVE AND INCLUSIVE CONSTRUCTIONS OF ‘AUSTRALIA’ IN THE AUSTRALIAN PARLIAMENT  Pages 51-65

Jennifer E. Cheng

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  • Due to the way racism is now hidden behind discourses of ‘cultural difference’ rather than relying on beliefs of biological inferiority, capturing instances of racism has now become a difficult task. The discourse of ‘difference’ in recent times has strongly manifested itself as exclusion from a discursively constructed nation: borders of the nation are redrawn along cultural essentialist lines so that undesirable ‘others’ are always excluded. Taking data from Australian parliamentary debates on immigration and citizenship during 2006-2007, this paper uses critical discourse analysis to explore how politicians discursively (re)construct borders of ‘Australia’ to either exclude or include immigrants. This paper argues that exclusion and inclusion in national constructions are more conducive ways of seeing how racism and anti-racism towards immigrants are enacted.
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‘I DON’T KNOW THE ANSWER TO THAT QUESTION': A CORPUS-ASSISTED DISCOURSE ANALYSIS OF WHITE HOUSE PRESS BRIEFINGS  Pages 66-81

Silvia de Candia, Cinzia Spinzi and Marco Venuti

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  • White House Press Briefings, daily meetings with the press held by the White House Press Secretary, are the main information conduit for the White House (Kumar 2007). They are considered a ‘political chess game’ where the Press Secretary and the press face a ‘wrestling match’ (Partington 2006: 16). Our analysis is carried out on a corpus comprising all the Press Briefings across three presidencies from Clinton to Obama. The additional mark-up includes information about individual speakers and their role, allowing us to compare different discourse strategies adopted by the participants in the briefings at different points in time. This leads us to determine the extent of the differences in the patterns found as well as the nature of the variation from one participant to the next one. Starting from a phraseological perspective (Granger and Meunier 2008), our analysis will focus on avoidance strategies enacted by the podium with the main purpose of preserving face and yet ‘doing the job’ (Partington 2003: 80). We will show how the cluster ‘I don’t know’ can be exploited by various podiums, mainly in accordance with strategic communication choices made by the US administrations, highlighting differences in the podium’s attitude towards the press.
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AT AN INTERSECTION OF POSTFEMINISM AND NEOLIBERALISM: A DISCOURSE ANALYTICAL VIEW OF AN INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S MAGAZINE  Pages 82-99

Kati Kaupinnen

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  • Female empowerment, success and agency have become icons of contemporary postfeminist popular culture and especially of women’s magazines. While in previous research these notions have been seen as manifestations of a new, popular feminism, more recently they have also been connected to the growing hegemony of neoliberal governance, a mode of power that ultimately aims at an economization of the social and is fundamentally exercised in and through discourse. This article seeks to contribute to the emerging body of research on the interconnectedness of these two phenomena, postfeminism and neoliberalism, by using the example of the German edition of the women’s magazine Cosmopolitan. Methodologically the study draws on linguistically oriented discourse analysis. The analysis focuses on the operation of a ‘discourse of postfeminist self-management’ in two key domains of the magazine: work and sex. Following a multilayered examination, the study concludes that although the discourse of postfeminist self-management evokes a feminist ethos, its logic is that of neoliberal governmentality. Thus the study suggests that rather than feminist action of any kind, what is going on here is gender-specific neoliberal governance, whereby the subversive power of feminism is systematically turned into a productive force for the (self-)production of neoliberalized, entrepreneurial subjects.
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SPEAK ENGLISH OR GO HOME: THE ANTI-IMMIGRANT DISCOURSE OF THE AMERICAN ‘ENGLISH ONLY’ MOVEMENT  Pages 100-122

Rachele Lawton

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  • This paper examines the discursive construction of immigrants and immigration within the ‘English Only’ movement in the United States.  In this critical discursive language policy study, emphasis is placed on the role of discourse in the reproduction of discrimination and anti-immigrant sentiment in the context of a debate related to language in the U.S.  The aims of the English Only movement are to make English the official language of the United States, restrict linguistic access to political and civil rights, and dismantle or restrict bilingual education programs (Schmidt 2000).   A variation of the discourse historical approach (DHA) (Wodak and Meyer 2009; Reisigl and Wodak 2001; Wodak 2006) is applied as a framework to analyze public texts that are produced by proponents of the English Only movement.  The DHA’s concept of context, the use of metaphor, and the macro-strategies of (mis)representation, (de)legitimization and coercion (Chilton 2004) are emphasized as analytical categories.  Finally, the analysis exposes the movement’s ideological aims by demonstrating how ‘in groups’ and ‘out groups’ are constructed in order to depict both the act of immigration and immigrants themselves in derogatory and thus discriminatory terms.  
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SECURITY, POPULATION AND GOVERNMENTALITY: UK COUNTER-TERRORISM DISCOURSE (2007-2011)  Pages 123-140

Malcolm N. MacDonald and Duncan Hunter

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  • Over the past decade, governments worldwide have taken initiatives both at a national and supra-national level in order to prevent terrorist attacks from militant groups. This paper analyses a corpus of policy documents which sets out the policy for UK national security. Informed by Foucault’s (2007) theory of governmentality, as well as critical discourse analysis and corpus linguistics, this paper analyses the ways in which the liberal state in late modernity realizes security as discursive practice.  A corpus of 110 documents produced by the UK government relating to security in the wake of the 7/7 attacks between 2007 and 2011 was assembled. The paper analyses the discursive constitution of the Foucaultian themes of regulation, knowledge and population, though carrying out a qualitative analysis of relevant key wards, patterns of collocation, as well as features of connotation and semantic prosody.
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    4. Baker, P., C. Gabrielatos, M. KhosraviNik, M. Krzyzanowski, T.  McEnery and R. Wodak (2008). A useful methodological synergy?  Combining critical discourse analysis and corpus linguistics to examine discourses of refugees and asylum seekers in the UK press. Discourse & Society 19: 273-306.
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    23. Foucault, M. (2007). Security, territory, population; lectures at the College de France, 1977-78 (trans. G. Burchell). London: Palgrave Macmillan.
    24. Foucault, M. (2008). The Birth of Biopolitics: Lectures at the Collège de France 1978-1979. Basingstoke: Palgrave.
    25. Freake, R., G. Gentil and J. Sheyholislami (2011). A bilingual corpus-assisted discourse study of the construction of nationhood and belonging in Quebec. Discourse & Society 22 (11): 1-27.
    26. Gabrielatos, C. and P. Baker (2008). Fleeing, sneaking, flooding: a corpus analysis of discursive constructions of refugees and asylum seekers in the UK Press 1996-2005. Journal of English Linguistics 36: 5-38.
    27. Gales, T. (2009). Diversity as enacted in US immigration politics and law: a corpus-based approach. Discourse & Society 20 (2): 223-240.
    28. Gillborn, D. (2006). Rethinking white supremacy: Who counts in whiteworld. Ethnicities 6 (3): 318-340.
    29. Graham, P., T. Keenan and A.-M. Dowd (2004). A call to arms at the end of history: A discourse-historical analysis of George W. Bush’s declaration of war on terror.Discourse & Society 15 (2-3): 199-222.
    30. Home Office (2003). Prevent Strategy. London.
    31. Home Office (2006). CONTEST: The United Kingdom’s Strategy for Countering Terrorism. London.
    32. Home Office. (2009a) CONTEST: Countering International  Terrorism: The United Kingdom’s Strategy. London.
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    35. Home Office. (2011a) CONTEST: The United Kingdom’s Strategy for Countering Terrorism. London.
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    37. House of Commons Communities and Local Government Committee (2010). Preventing Violent  Extremism. London: DCLG.
    38. Institute of Community Cohesion (iCoCo) (2011). Available at: http://www.cohesioninstitute.org.uk/
    39. Johnson, R. (2002). Defending ways of life: The (anti-)terrorist rhetorics of Bush and Blair. Theory, Culture and Society 19 (4): 211-31.
    40. MacDonald, M.N., R. Badger and J. O’Regan (2009). The social cognition of medical knowledge: With special reference to childhood epilepsy. Critical Inquiry in Language Studies  6 (3): 176 – 204.
    41. Meadows, B. (2007) Distancing and showing solidarity via metaphor and metonymy in political discourse: A critical study of American statements on Iraq during the years 2004-2005. Critical Approaches to Discourse Analysis across Disciplines 1 (2): 1-17.
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    43. Mulderigg, J. (2003). Consuming education: A critical discourse analysis of social actors in New Labour’s education policy. Journal of Critical Education Policy Studies 1 (1). Available at:  http://www.jceps.com/index.php?pageID=article&articleID=2.
    44. Mulderrig, J. (2011a).  The grammar of governance. Critical Discourse Studies 8: 45-68.
    45. Mulderrig, J. (2011b). Manufacturing consent: A corpus-based critical discourse analysis of New Labour’s educational governance. Journal of Educational Philosophy and Theory 43: 562-578.
    46. Office of Security and Counter Terrorism (2009). Delivering the Prevent Strategy: An Updated Guide for Local Partners. London: Home Office.
    47. Pennycook, A.  (2001). Critical Applied Linguistics: A Critical Introduction. Chicago: L. Erlbaum.
    48. Preston, J. (2009). Preparing for emergencies: Citizenship education, whiteness and pedagogies of security. Citizenship Studies 13 (2): 187- 200.
    49. Rose, N. and P. Miller (1992). Political power behind the state: Problematics of government. British Journal of Sociology 43 (2): 173-205. 
    50. Salama, A.H.Y. (2011). Ideological collocation and the recontexualization of Wahhabi-Saudi Islam post-9/11: A synergy of corpus linguistics and critical discourse analysis.Discourse & Society 22 (3): 315-342.
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THE CONSTRUCTION OF GENDER-BASED VIOLENCE IN THE BRITISH PRINTED AND BROADCAST MEDIA  Pages 141-163

Alessia Tranchese and Sole Alba Zollo

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  • This study is part of an ongoing investigation into the portrayal of violence against women in the British media and it draws on Fairclough’s model of CDA and Kress and van Leeuwen’s theory of multimodality. The aim of this analysis is to compare the representation of victims and perpetrators of rape in the printed and broadcast media. By bringing to light the intertextual and interdiscursive elements which come out of the comparative linguistic and/or semiotic investigation, this study explores how an incident of rape is recontextualised in two different media and across genres through the use of different verbal and visual strategies. In addition, this research aims at showing how media discourse, regardless of the genre, may contribute to creating a stereotyped construction of gender-based violence by, for example, shifting the responsibility from the perpetrator to the victim’s mother, thus minimising the rapist’s foul play and leading to his almost total invisibility.
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    2. Benedict, H. (1992) Virgin or Vamp: How the Press Covers Sex Crimes. New York: Oxford University Press.
    3. Bingham, S.G. (ed.) (1994) Conceptualizing Sexual Harassment as Discursive Practice. Westport, Conn: Praeger.
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    5. Carter, C., Branston, G., Allan, S. (eds) (1998) News, Gender and Power. London: Routledge.
    6. Connell, I. (1980) Television news and the social contrast. In S. Hall, D. Hobson, A. Lowe, & P. Willis (eds), Culture, media, language: Working papers in cultural studies, 1972-1979. London: Hutchinson. pp.139-156.
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    8. Fairclough, N. (1989) Language and Power. London: Longman.
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    12. Fairclough, N. (2010) Critical Discourse Analysis: The Critical Study of Language (2nd edition). London: Longman.
    13. Fairclough, N. and Wodak, R. (1997) Critical Discourse Analysis. In T.A. van Dijk (ed.) Discourse as Social Interaction. Discourse Studies: A Multidisciplinary Introduction.Vol. 2. London: Sage. pp. 258-84.
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    17. Iedema, R. (2003) Multimodality, Resemiotization: Extending the Analysis of Discourse as Multi-Semiotic Practice. Visual Communication 2(1): 29-57.
    18. Jewitt, C. (ed.) (2009) The Routledge Handbook of Multimodal Analysis. London; New York: Routledge.
    19. Kress, G. (2009) What is mode?. In C. Jewitt (ed.) The Routledge Handbook of Multimodal Analysis. London; New York: Routledge. pp. 54-67.
    20. Kress, G. and van Leeuwen, T. (1996) Reading Images: the Grammar of Visual Design. London and New York: Routledge.
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    22. Meyers, M. (1997) News Coverage of Violence against Women: Engendering Blame. London: Sage.
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THE DISCURSIVE CONSTRUCTION OF MINORITIES: NARRATIVES OF THE SELF IN ISREAL AND MOLDOVA  Pages 164-179

Sharon Weinblum and Julien Danero Iglesias

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  • Studies on nation-state models and state-minorities relations often draw implicitly or explicitly on the civic vs. ethnic nation-state dichotomy, where the first would include minorities in a ‘civic’ nation, and the second would be the state of a sole ethnic nation, hence excluding minorities from this construction. Following other authors, the main argument of this paper is that in order to enhance our understanding of the state-minorities relations, these categories need to be challenged, but also empirically deconstructed. The paper argues that in so-called civic states, similar exclusivist discursive articulations to those present in ethnic states, are at play and vice versa. The argument is articulated through the study of central political elite’s narratives on the nation-state in two cases: one (self)-proclaimed ‘civic nation-state’, Moldova, and one ‘ethnic nation-state’ state, Israel. The analysis is based on an original methodology combining narrative analysis with critical discourse analysis (CDA). Through an analysis of the narrative chronological sequencing – present, future and past – the paper demonstrates that in both cases, inclusive discursive strategies are at play in the present. It then highlights that in both cases the future and past sequences of the narrative entail exclusive discursive practices leaving minorities out of the nation’s boundaries.
    1. Anderson, E. (2005). Backward, forward, or both? Moldovan teachers’ relationships to the State and Nation. European Education 37 (3): 53-67.
    2. Anderson, E. (2007). ‘They are the priests': The role of the Moldovan historian and its implications for civic education. Compare 37 (3): 277-290.
    3. Brown, D. (1999). Are there good and bad nationalisms? Nations and Nationalism 5 (2): 281-302.
    4. Brubaker, R. (1996). Nationalism Reframed: Nationhood and the National Question in the New Europe. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
    5. Brubaker, R. (2011). Nationalising states revisited: Projects and processes of nationalisation in post-Soviet states. Ethnic and Racial Studies 34 (11): 1785-1814.
    6. Cazacu, M. and  N. Trifon (2010). Un Etat en Quête de Nation: La République de Moldavie. Paris: Non Lieu.
    7. Ciscel, M. (2006). A separate Moldovan language? The sociolinguistics of Moldova’s Limba de Stat. Nationalities Papers 34 (5): 575-597.
    8. Danero Iglesias, J. (2013). Constructing national history in political discourse: Coherence and contradiction (Moldova, 2001-2009). Nationalities Papers 41 (5) : 780-800..
    9. Ihrig, S. (2007). Discursul (ne)civic si nemultumirile exprimate de el. In M. Heintz (ed.), Stat Slab, Cetatenie Incerta: Studii despre Republica Moldova. Bucharets: Curtea Veche. pp. 191-214.
    10. Jamal, A. (2007). Nationalizing states and the constitution of ‘Hollow Citizenship': Israel and its Palestinian citizens. Ethnopolitics 6 (4): 471-493.
    11. Kaplan, T. (1993). Reading policy narratives: Beginnings, middles and Ends. In F. Fischer and J. Forestor (eds.), The Argumentative Turn in Policy Analysis and Planning. Durham: Duke University Press.  pp. 167-185.
    12. Kaufman, I. (2010). Escalating minority claims: The Arab ‘visions documents’ of 2006-2007 in Israel. In A. Lecours and L. Moreno (eds.), Nationalism and Democracy: Dichotomies, Complementarities, Oppositions. London and New York: Routledge.  pp. 184-208.
    13. Kohn, H. (1946). The Idea of Nationalism: A Study in its Origins and Background. New York: Macmillan.
    14. March, L. (2007). From Moldovanism to Europeanization? Moldova’s communists and nation building. Nationalities Papers 35 (4): 601-626.
    15. Negura, P. (2009). Ni Héros, ni Traîtres. Les Écrivains Moldaves Face au Pouvoir Soviétique sous Staline. Paris: L’Harmattan.
    16. Noiriel, G. (1991). La question nationale comme objet de l’histoire sociale. Genèse 4.
    17. Roe, E. (1994). Narrative Policy Analysis: Theory and Practice. Durham: Duke University Press.
    18. Rouhana, N. (1997). Identities in Conflict: Palestinians in an Ethnic Jewish State. New Haven: Yale University Press.
    19. Schnapper, D. (1994). La Communauté des Citoyens. Sur l’Idée Moderne de Nation. Paris: Gallimard.
    20. Shenhav, S. (2004). Once upon a time there was a nation: Narrative conceptualization analysis. The concept of ‘nation’ in the discourse of Israeli Likud Party leaders.Discourse & Society 15 (1): 81-104.
    21. Shenhav, S. (2009). We have a place in a long story empowered narratives and the construction of communities: The case of US presidential debates. Narrative Inquiry 19 (2): 199-218.
    22. Spencer, P. and H. Wollman (1998). Good and bad nationalisms : A critique of nationalism. Journal of Political Ideologies 3 (3): 255-274.
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    Speeches (Israel)

    1. Foreign Minister Lieberman (2011) Independence Day address by FM Lieberman to the diplomatic corps, 10 May 2011.
    2. Foreign Minister Livni (2008) FM Livni’s Independence Day address at the President’s Residence, 8 May 2008.
    3. Prime Minister Netanyahu (2009a) Incoming PM Benjamin Netanyahu presents his government to the Knesset, 31 March 2009.
    4. Prime Minister Netanyahu (2009b) Address by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the Memorial Service for Victims of Terror, Mt. Herzl, 28 April 2009.
    5. Prime Minister Olmert (2009a) Address by PM Olmert – 30th anniversary of Israel-Egypt peace treaty, 30 March 2009.
    6. Prime Minister Olmert (2009b) Farewell speech by Israel’s 12th Prime Minister, Mr. Ehud Olmert, 1 April 2009.
    7. President Peres (2009) Independence Day message from President Peres, 27 April 2009.
    8. The Declaration of the Establishment of the State of Israel, 14 May 1948.

    Speeches (Moldova)

    1. President Voronin (2001) Address for the the 15th anniversary of the independence of the Republic of Moldova, 27 August 2001.
    2. President Voronin (2004a) Address for Independence Day, 27 August 2004.
    3. President Voronin (2004b) Address at the 1st Congress of the Moldovans abroad, 8 October 2004.
    4. President Voronin (2005) Inaugural Address, 7 April 2005.
    5. President Voronin (2006) Address for the 15th anniversary of the independence of the Republic of Moldova, 26 August 2006.
    6. President Voronin (2008) Address at the official reception for Republic’s Day, 27 August 2008.
    7. President Voronin (2009a) Address for the 18th anniversary of the Republic of Moldova, 27 August 2009.
    8. President Voronin (2009b) Address for the inauguration of the monument for Bogdan I the Founder, 8 September 2009.
    9. Interim President Ghimpu (2009a) Address for the Romanian National Day, 1 December 2009.
    10. Interim President Ghimpu (2009b) Address for New Year’s Day, 21/12/2009.
    11. Interim President Ghimpu (2010) ‘We are European and we need to be in the European Union’, 15 May 2010.