“This Broadcast Is Being Watched Live by Millions of Americansâ€: Vague Language in Jimmy Kimmel's Oscars 2017 Opening Monologue

Wahyuningsih Wahyuningsih, Nina Setyaningsih


When delivering a speech or talk, a speaker shares a great deal of background knowledge to the audience. However, as human being, the speaker often gets nervous and forgets the words to say. Sometimes the speaker is not able to memorize all information that s/he wants to present to the audience. In fact, during the talk, the speaker must speak fluently to maintain a good situation and communication to the audience. Therefore, to fill a gap during a talk because the speaker could not memorize every detail of information to be presented, using vague language sometimes becomes an option. Vague language may also be used for other purposes besides nervousness and memory problem, i.e. as a tension management (Trappes-Lomax, 2007). This research explores vague language as tension management device used by Jimmy Kimmel as the host in the Oscars opening monologue in 2017. The method used in this research was qualitative descriptive since it describes the data in the form of word or sentence. The results demonstrate that Jimmy Kimmel used vague language types such as conventional indirectness, category and quantity approximation, hedges, modal expressions, implicitness, euphemisms, softeners and down toners as tension management devices. Furthermore, vague language can function as hedges for Jimmy Kimmel’s statements when the information he presented is not precise.

Full Text:



Biber, D., Johansson, S., Leech, G., Conrad, S., & Finegan, E. (1999). Longman grammar of spoken and written English. Harlow, England: Longman.

Brown, G., and G. Yule. (1983). Discourse analysis. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Crystal, Davy. (1975). Vague expression in English: Studies in language and communication. In Giuliana Garzone, James Archibald (Ed),

Discourse, Identities and Roles in Specialized Communication (pp.87-90). Peter Lang AG, International Academic Publisher, Bern 2010.

Carter, R., & McCarthy, M. (2006). Cambridge grammar of English: A comprehensive guide. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Channell, J. (1994). Category of vague language: The use of vague language accros spoken genres in an intercultural Hong Kong corpus. In

J. Cutting (Ed), Vague language explored (p.161-2)

Cutting, J. (2007). Introduction to vague language explored. In J. Cutting (Ed.), Vague language explored (pp. 3-26). New York Basingstoke.

Koester, A. (2007). “About twelve thousand or soâ€: Vagueness in north American and UK offices. In J. Cutting (Ed), Vague language explored (pp. 40-61). Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

O’Keeffe, A., McCarthy, M., & Carter, R. (2007). “Relational language†From corpus to classroom: Language use and language teaching. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press

Trappes-Lomax, Hugh. (2007). Vague language as a means of self-protective avoidance: Tension management in conference talks. In Joan Cutting (ed.), Vague Language Explored, 117–137. Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan

Cheng, Winnie and M. Warren, (2001). The use of vague language in intercultural conversations in Hong Kong. Article in English World-Wide 81–104. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/233613944

Zhang, Grace. (2011). Elasticity of vague language. Intercultural Pragmatics, 8-4, 571–599. DOI 10.1515/IPRG.2011.026

DOI: https://doi.org/10.33633/es.v1i2.2135

Article Metrics

Abstract view : 201 times
PDF - 246 times


  • There are currently no refbacks.

indexed by:



Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.