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Conclusions

This study has dealt with the relation between coherence and persuasion in political discourse. Since coherence and persuasion are regarded as dynamic interpretative constructs that are instantiated in the process of interaction, it has been argued that the strategic use of the pragmatic functions of deictic pronouns and modal expressions and their genre-specific distribution in opening addresses enable the speakers to construe a coherent discourse and a coherent representation of their identity and institutional ideology, thus enhancing the persuasive force of the rhetoric. It is acknowledged, however, that as discourse meaning is constantly open to recontextualization and reinterpretation, the audience may understand the message without necessarily accepting and believing what the speaker says.

The analysis of the pragmatic functions of personal pronouns has revealed that they are instrumental in the construal of the existential coherence and credibility of the speaker. While drawing on the interplay of the institutional, professional and personal identity of the Directors- General to establish them as authoritative, competent and benevolent social actors, pronominal reference also contributes to the asserting of the institutional ideology and the evaluation of political actors as proximal to or distal from the perspective of the in-group identified on the basis of shared common values. The contribution of deontic and epistemic modal meanings to the perception of coherence and persuasiveness resides in their potential to allow orators to construct a consistent subjective representation of the discourse world in which the morality and veracity of the state of affairs is evaluated from the perspective of the institutional values and beliefs. By expressing their commitment to the institutional value system, the speakers try to impose on the audience a compliance with the institutional ideology and to persuade them to support a suggested course of action.

To conclude, it should be noted that while this strategic use of the pragmatic functions of personal pronouns and modality is characteristic of all genres of political discourse, the specificity of the context of intergovernmental organizations brings to the fore the potential of the inherently indeterminate personal deixis in constructing an in-group ideology which transcends national boundaries and the availability of modal meanings for the reflecting of variation in the evaluation of internal and external ideological conflicts.

 
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