Closeness and distance through the agentive authorial voice

Construing credibility in promotional discourse

Keywords: credibility, persuasion, closeness, distance, agentive self-mentioning, attenuation, hotel websites


Credibility is a function associated with promotional genres and persuasion, and a powerful marketing concept (Eisend, 2006; Ming, 2006) which provides trustworthiness about the quality of products or services offered by hotels (Suau-Jiménez, 2012a, 2019). It is partly attained through the hotel’s self-mentioning in websites. When this self-mentioning is agentive with action verbs, the main instantiation is the pronoun we, projecting closeness and assertiveness. However, this self-representation is also construed with depersonalized realizations like the hotel’s proper name, other nominalizations or even pronouns like it and they, which provide attenuating aspects and create a sense of distance. The current corpus-based study of 112 hotel websites hypothesizes that this attenuation may diminish closeness of the authorial voice (Brown & Levinson, 1987), thus displaying authority, following disciplinary and generic constraints. Results suggest that discursive closeness and distance, intertwined with personalized and depersonalized self-representations of the authorial voice, may aid to improve credibility.


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How to Cite
Suau-Jiménez, F. (2020). Closeness and distance through the agentive authorial voice. International Journal of English Studies, 20(1), 73-92.