Aleksandra Radovanović

DOI Number
First page
Last page


The current study seeks to investigate evasion in Parliamentary Questions in the National Assembly of Serbia. The objectives of the research are to determine whether and how frequently the members of the Government provided evasive responses and how they did it. The analysis comprising a qualitative and a quantitative method was conducted on the data that comprised the transcripts of three Parliamentary Questions. The responses were classified into answers, intermediate responses and evasive responses. Each identified evasive response was analysed in terms of its level of evasion, the practices involved and the agenda shifts that occurred. The results reveal that evasion did occur in the investigated data. As described and exemplified in the study, the medium level of evasion was the most prominent, and the Government members employed overt and covert practices, as well as three types of agenda shifts in evading answers. These results match those observed in previous studies on evasion in Question Time in other parliaments.


evasion, Parliamentary Questions, answer, agenda shifts

Full Text:



Bavelas, J. B., Black, A., Bryson, L., & Mullett, J. (1988). Political Equivocation: A situational explanation. Journal of Language and Social psychology, 7, 137-145.

Bayley, P. (2004). Introduction. The whys and wherefores of analysing parliamentary discourse. In P. Bayley (Ed.), Cross-Cultural Perspectives on Parliamentary Discourse (pp. 1-44). Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

Beard, A. (2000). The Language of politics. London: Routledge.

Bull, P. & Mayer, K. (1993). How not to answer questions in political interviews. Political Psychology, 14 (4), 651-666.

Bull, P. (2003). The Microanalysis of Political Communication: Claptrap and Ambiguity. London: Psychology Press.

Bull, P. (2008). Slipperiness, evasion and ambiguity: Equivocation and facework in noncommittal political discourse. Journal of Language and Social Psychology, 27(4), 333-344.

Clayman, S. E. (1993). Reformulating the question: a device for answering/not answering in news interviews and press conferences. Text - Interdisciplinary Journal for the Study of Discourse, 13(2), 159-188. doi:10.1515/text.1.1993.13.2.159

Clayman, S. E. (2001). Answers and evasions. Language in Society [Online] 30 (3), 403–442. Retrieved 15 May, 2018 from http://journals.cambridge.org/bin/ bladerunner

Crystal. D. (1997). The Cambridge encyclopedia of the English language. 2nd ed. Cambridge, New York: CUP.

Greatbatch, D. (1986). Aspects of topical organization in news interviews: the use of agenda-shifting procedures by interviewees. Media, Culture & Society, 8(4), 441-455.

Hanafe, N. Z. & Thani, S. R.M. (2016). Evasion Strategies by Politicians in News Interviews. Malaysian Journal of Languages and Linguistics, Vol 5, No 1, 10-30. Retrieved 5 May, 2018 from http://www.journals.mymla.org/index.php/MJLL/issue/view/7

Ilie, C. (2004a). Insulting as (un)parliamentary practice in the British and Swedish Parliaments: A rhetorical approach. In P. Bayley (Ed.), Cross-cultural perspectives on parliamentary discourse (pp. 45–86). Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

Ilie, C. (2006). Parliamentary discourses. In K. Brown (Ed.), Encyclopedia of Language and Linguistics. 2nd ed., Vol. 9 (pp. 188-197). Oxford: Elsevier.

Ilie, C. (2010). Strategic uses of parliamentary forms of address: The case of the UK Parliament and the Swedish Riksdag. Journal of Pragmatics, 42(4), 885-911. doi:10.1016/j.pragma.2009.08.017

Ilie, C., (2015). Parliamentary Discourse. In K. Tracy (Ed.), The International Encyclopedia of Language and Social Interaction (Volume 3) (pp. 1113–1127). London: Wiley Blackwell. Retrieved 15 May, 2018 from https://www.researchgate.net/publication/303459695_Parliamentary_Discourse

Ilie, Cornelia. (2004b). Interruption patterns in British parliamentary debates and in drama dialogue. In A. Betten and M. Dannerer (Eds.) Dialoganalyse IX - Dialogue in Literature and the Media (pp. 311-326). Tübingen: Max Niemeyer Verlag.

Murphy, J. (2014). (Im)politeness during Prime Minister’s Questions in the UK Parliament. Pragmatics and Society, 5(1), 76-104.

National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia. Rules of Procedure of the National Assembly. Retrieved 6 June, 2018 from http://www.parlament.gov.rs/national-assembly/important-documents/rules-of-procedure-(consolidated-text)/the-national-assembly-service.1370.html

Nevrkla, L. (2017). Evasion and hedging in the language of parliamentary Question Time. Linguistica Pragnesia, (27) 2, 83-95. Retrieved 28 March, 2018 from https://linguisticapragensia.ff.cuni.cz/wp-content/uploads/sites/12/2017/10/LP_2017-2_Nevrkla_83-95.pdf

Partington, A. (2003). The Linguistics of Political Argument: The Spin-doctor and the Wolf-pack at the White House. London and New York: Routledge.

Rasiah, P. (2007). Evasion in Australia’s Parliamentary Question Time: The case of the Iraq war (Unpublished PhD thesis). University of Western Australia, Perth. Retrieved 6 May, 2018 from https://research-repository.uwa.edu.au/en/publications/evasion-in-australias-parliamentary-question-time-the-case-of-the

Rasiah, P. (2010). A framework for the systematic analysis of evasion in parliamentary discourse. Journal of Pragmatics, 42, 664-680. doi:10.1016/j.pragma.2009.07.010

Van Dijk T. A. (2005) War rhetoric of a little ally: Political implicatures and Aznar’s legitimatization of the war in Iraq. Journal of Language and Politics, 4(1), 65-92

Van Dijk, T. A. (2000). On the analysis of parliamentary debates on immigration. In M. Reisigl & R. Wodak (Eds.), The semiotics of racism. Approaches to Critical Discourse Analysis (pp. 85-104). Vienna: Passagen Verlag.

Van Dijk, T. A. (2004). Text and context of parliamentary debates. In P. Bayley (Ed.) Cross-cultural perspectives on parliamentary discourse (pp. 340-372). Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

Vuković, M. (2013а). Adversarialness and evasion in broadcast political interviews. International Journal of Language Studies, Vol. 7, No. 4, 1-24.

Vuković, M. (2013б). Slaba epistemička modalnost u crnogorskom parlamentarnom diskursu Weak epistemic modality in Montenegrin parliamentary discourse. Filolog, 7, 65-76. doi:10.725 1/FIL1307065V)

Vukovic, M. (2014). Strong epistemic modality in parliamentary discourse. Open Linguistics, 1(1), (Online) 37-52. doi:10.2478/opli-2014-0003

Vuković Stamatović, M. (2016). Scaling deontic modality in parliamentary discourse. Logos & Littera: Interdisciplinary Approaches to Text, 3(2), 131-149.

Векарић, Г. & Јелић, Г. (2014). Језички изрази говорног чина извињења у српском парламентарном дискурсу. У Мишић Илић Б. и В. Лопичић (Ур.). Језик, књижевност, дискурс: Језичка истраживања. (315–326). Ниш: Универзитет у Нишу, Филозофски факултет.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.22190/TEME180728044R


  • There are currently no refbacks.

© University of Niš, Serbia
Creative Commons licence CC BY-NC-ND
Print ISSN: 0353-7919
Online ISSN: 1820-7804