“Hier in diesem Hause sitzen keine Idioten!” - Emotion and Concreteness in Austrian Parliamentary Discourse


  • Klaus Hofmann Department of English and American Studies, University of Vienna, Austria
  • Tanja Wissik Austrian Center for Digital Humanities and Cultural Heritage (ACDH-CH), Austrian Academy of Sciences (ÖAW)




This study examines Austrian parliamentary discourse styles by combining utterances from the Corpus of Austrian Parliamentary Records (ParlAT; Wissik & Pirker, 2018) with a large dataset of affective norms for German (Köper & Schulte im Walde, 2016). The results suggest that parliamentary discourse styles differ significantly depending on gender, party affiliation and utterance type (regular speech vs. unauthorized utterances). The findings are discussed within the context of gendered language usage and the literature on political speech in general. In particular, we find evidence for a characteristically male right-wing populist mode of parliamentary discourse marked by negative and concrete language use and a penchant for heckling. It is also shown that discourse styles can vary over time, specifically when the parties in power change from one period to the next (e.g. a center-left/center-right coalition government following a center-right/right one).