Title

Drawing on the words of others at public hearings: Zoning, Wal-Mart, and the threat to the aquifer

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

11-1-2007

Abstract

This study examines two public hearings on a zoning proposal that would allow the construction of a Super Wal-Mart Center on a field over the town's aquifer. Many citizens speak out against the zoning change because of the risk to drinking water, as well as other issues. Citizens face the speaker's problem of how to make their presentations convincing, given the technical matters involved and the fact that Town Board members have likely already heard about these issues. Some speakers draw on the words of others in their presentations. Using another's words allows the speaker to cite an authoritative source or to respond to what another has said, to evaluate it, and often to challenge it. Speakers use other devices in addition to quotes, such as formulations, repetition, and membership categorizations to develop their evaluative stances in the reporting context. The study's focus is the discursive construction and rhetoric of using others' words for the speaker's own purposes. (Public hearings, risk, reported speech, quotes, Wal-Mart, discursive analysis, rhetoric)* © 2007 Cambridge University Press.

Publication Name

Language in Society

Volume Number

36

First Page

735

Last Page

756

Issue Number

5

DOI

10.1017/S0047404507070674

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