Volume 36, Issue 3, September 2021
José Ramón Torices
Understanding dogwhistles politics
This paper aims to deepen our understanding of so-called covert dogwhistles. I discuss whether a covert dogwhistle is a specific sort of mechanism of manipulation or whether, on the contrary, it draws on other already familiar linguistic mechanisms such as implicatures or presuppositions. I put forward a series of arguments aimed at illustrating that implicatures and presuppositions, on the one hand, and covert dogwhistles, on the other, differ in their linguistic behaviour concerning plausible deniability, cancellability, calculability and mutual acceptance. I concluded this paper by outlining a simple theory for covert dogwhistles according to which they are attitude-foregrounders.