Panel 4 | Metaphor, media, & politics

CADAAD2022 | 06-08/07/2022 | Bergamo, Italy

22 | Charlotte-Rose Kennedy

Worthiness, Unity, Numbers and Commitment: proposing a novel approach to the analysis of protest texts in corpus-assisted Critical Discourse Analysis

The often praised and increasingly used method of corpus-assisted Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA) (Baker 2006) has recently been criticised for not incorporating identifiable and accountable methods in its qualitative analyses (Rheindorf 2019: 33). For example, Rheindorf (2019: 33) notes that the analysis of concordance lines (a popular corpus technique involving the ‘close reading’ of text) rarely explicates the qualitative method involved – that is, if any has been used at all. Critics therefore comment that the lack of explicit criteria leaves manual concordance analysis a ‘readily available but unspecific token statement’ (Rheindorf 2019: 33) that lacks transparency, replicability, and risks researcher bias (Widdowson 2004: 109).

This paper seeks to account for these limitations in the context of research concerning protests and social movements – areas that have received large amounts of academic attention in recent years (for example, Monteverde and McCollum 2020; Hart and Kelsey 2019; Gasaway-Hill 2018). In doing so, it formulates the novel linguistic application of Tilly’s (2004) sociological ‘WUNC’ framework, which argues protests and social movements are successful when they display worthiness, unity, numbers and commitment (WUNC):

Worthiness: protesters are credible

Unity: protesters agree amongst themselves

Numbers: there are numerous protesters

Commitment: protesters will not give up

By drawing on prominent methods and theories established in CDA, the paper formulates consistent and transparent linguistic categorisations of WUNC, realised through referential strategies (worthiness), possessive pronouns (unity), aggregation (numbers) and modality and evaluation (commitment), as a robust and explicit qualitative approach to the analysis of concordances. Although specific to data concerning protests and social movements, the proposed framework provides practitioners of corpus-assisted CDA with an identifiable and accountable method that could be drawn upon in future protest-related studies.

To demonstrate how this novel application of WUNC can be used in corpus-assisted CDA, the paper uses the UK press reporting of four ‘People’s Vote’ anti-Brexit protests that took place between 2018 and 2019 as a case study. In doing so, it investigates how linguistic manifestations of WUNC can be manipulated by the press to convey support or opposition to the anti-Brexit protests, as a means to either legitimate (anti-Brexit press) or delegitimate (pro-Brexit press) the four 'People's Vote' marches.


Baker, P. (2006). Using corpora in discourse analysis. Bloomsbury Academic.

Gasaway-Hill, M. L. (2018). The Language of Protest: Acts of Performance, Identity and Legitimacy. Palgrave Macmillan.

Hart, C. and Kelsey, D. (2019). Discourses of Disorder: Riots, Strikes and Protests in the Media. Edinburgh University Press.

Monteverde, G. and McCollum, V. (2020). Resist! Protest Media and Popular Culture in the Brexit-Trump Era. Rowman & Littlefield.

Rheindorf, M. (2019). Revisiting the Toolbox of Discourse Studies: New Trajectories in Methodology, Open Data, and Visualization. Springer International Publishing.

Tilly, C. (2004). Social Movements, 1768-2004. Paradigm Publishers.

Widdowson, H. (2004). Text, Context, Pretext: Critical Issues in Discourse Analysis. Blackwell.

41 | Elie Friedman

An examination of the liberal-conservative polarization in mediated discourse on civic studies in Israel

In recent decades, western democracies have been experiencing declining social cohesion, due to several changes (for example, growing ethnocultural diversity), which have deepened existing social cleavages. In Israel, these societal divides have become more overlapping, leading to a severe. This development has generated the need to rebuild and strengthen a common civic identity. One of the key venues in meeting this challenge in Israel, as well as in other countries, is civic education, which constitutes a central socialization tool that designs the students’ identity. Due to increasing social fragmentation based on deepening cleavages, the challenge of determining a consensual civic studies curriculum has become acute. Two opposing approaches can be identified in the civic studies debate, namely, the liberal and conservative approaches. The dispute surrounding civic studies in Israel is twofold: the first issue deals with the content that should be taught (democracy as regime type vs. democracy as a worldview), while the second deals with the pedagogical framework for teaching the subject (discipline-based vs. value-based curriculum) (Author, 2021).

While various studies have examined the relationship between changes in the civic studies curriculum and social and political changes in Israel as reflected in textbooks, there has yet to be a study which examines the extent to which the media debate on the issue reflects these changes. This article examines non-news articles that were published following specific controversial events between the years 2011-2021, in order to characterize the nature of the public debate with respect to civic studies. With this mind, our analysis of media materials is guided by the following two research purposes:

1. To understand how liberal and conservative approaches to civic studies conceptualize the topic in media debate in order to advance their approach to the issue.

2. To disclose the central discursive resources used by both liberal and conservative camps in order to appropriate central societal values towards their position on civic studies.

We engaged in thematic analysis identifying and analyzing central themes by which both liberal and conservative camps conceptualize civic studies in media discourse. Second, we adopted a Dialectic Discourse Analysis approach (Author & colleague, 2018), which examines how similar discursive resources are appropriated to justify oppositional stances on an issue, in order to illustrate that a specific position represents central societal values. The thematic analysis’s findings show that each of the camps refers to central bones of contention, namely, the nature of democracy, the relationship between the democratic and the Jewish elements of Israel’s identity, and the pedagogical framework of civic studies. In addition, dialectic discourse analysis demonstrates that the two camps compete over the same resources as they attempt to persuade the public to believe that their approach reflects consensual societal values. It appears that the increased media coverage regarding civic studies has two contradicting effects; first, it primes the issue to public awareness, thereby amplifying public debate on this essential issue. However, it does not appear that this critical-rational debate leads to any kind of consensus on the issue, whose very essence is to forge a consensual civic identity through education. Each of the camps is fortified in its position with no intention of recognizing the other side’s perceptions, resulting in a fixed discourse that prevents any possible synthesis of oppositional positions (Author and colleague, 2018).


Author, 2021

Author and colleague, 2018

112 | Oren Livio

Legitimating Violence through Semantic Evolution: An Analysis of Three Hebrew Key Words

Much research has investigated the discursive legitimation of violence through linguistic means such as lexical choices and metaphors (Gavriely-Nuri, 2008; Simonsen, 2019), transitivity, active/passive constructions, and nominalizations (Fairclough, 2010), and the construction of us/them dichotomies (Oddo, 2011). In this paper, I examine this topic in contemporary Israeli society, which is characterised by the simultaneous pull of two seemingly conflicting discourses: persistent militarism (Kuntsman & Stein, 2015) and the self-perception of Israel as peace-seeking (Gavriely-Nuri, 2010). I argue that in this context, legitimation discourses negotiate these contradictory pulls, constantly evolving to reflect changing cultural perceptions. I explore this through a discursive-historical analysis of the semantic evolution of three lexical terms as used in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. My sample of discourse includes uses of these terms in both media coverage and the official social media accounts of the Israel Defence Forces since 2008. The terms are:

(1) ""Lesakel"" (to thwart). In Hebrew, this verb refers to material processes in which only inanimate events or processes may serve as objects. That is, one can lesakel (thwart) an attack or plan, but one cannot lesakel a person. In recent years, however, its use has transformed so that it may also refer to the killing of people; that is, one may find phrasings such as “military forces siklu [thwarted] the militant,” or “the terrorist sukal” (“the terrorist was thwarted”). The use of this term for the killing of people thus has both euphemistic and dehumanising effects, avoiding explicit reference to the act of killing while implicitly constructing the dead as non-human.

(2) ""Lenatrel"" (to neutralize). Originally used to signal that an assailant no longer poses a threat, the meaning of this term has similarly shifted from non-lethal containment (“the assailant was neutralized”) to a broad spectrum of meanings that may also refer to actual killing. While also euphemistic and dehumanising, contemporary use of this term simultaneously serves to mystify, conflating different levels of violence and often leaving it unknown whether an assailant is dead or alive.

(3) ""Mexabel"" (terrorist). Used to refer to Arab assailants, this term has evolved to encompass virtually any form of attack against Israelis, regardless of whether it targeted civilians or soldiers, and sometimes even in absence of any attack. It thus collapses distinctions between different forms of violent and non-violent protest and delegitimates all of them.

I analyse shifts in the meanings of these terms to illustrate how legitimation of violence is an always-evolving discursive process (Simonsen, 2019), often initially found in official military and governmental discourse, then embraced within media coverage. In tracking the trajectory of these changes, I also identify sites where the new meanings are explicitly contested, thus recognizing these sites as potential avenues for resistance.


Fairclough, N. (2013). Critical discourse analysis: The critical study of language. Routledge.

Gavriely-Nuri, D. (2008). The `metaphorical annihilation' of the Second Lebanon War (2006) from the Israeli political discourse. Discourse & Society, 19, 5-20.

Gavriely-Nuri, D. (2010). The idiosyncratic language of Israeli 'peace': A cultural approach to critical discourse analysis (CCDA). Discourse & Society, 21, 565-585.

Kuntsman, A., & Stein, R. L. (2015). Digital militarism: Israel's occupation in the social media age. Stanford University Press.

Oddo, J. (2011). War legitimation discourse: Representing ‘Us’ and ‘Them’ in four US presidential addresses. Discourse & Society, 22, 287-314.

Simonsen, S. (2019). Discursive legitimation strategies: The evolving legitimation of war in Israeli public diplomacy. Discourse & Society, 30, 503-520.

140 | Ryogo Yanagida & Seiko Otsuka

Eloquent silent as a counter-heckling measure: An analysis of parliamentary debates at the Japanese Diet

Heckling, whereby a heckler(s) potentially upset(s) the interactional order by infringing the institutionalised right of a performer or speaker to perform or speak in public with aggressive language (e.g. face-threatening acts: Brown and Levinson 1987). It frequently takes place, among others, in political discourses (see Kádár and Ran 2015 for other discourses in several languages and cultures): it is overlooked or even conventionalised rather than sanctioned. Despite such distinctive features, little attention has been paid to heckling and counter-heckling interactions in politics in critical discourse studies that have intensively analysed political discourses as a site of power struggle (e.g. Chilton 2003 or Fairclough 2015). To fill in the knowledge gap, this paper analyses how Members of the Japanese Diet (henceforth MDs) heckle and how the heckled MDs react to the heckling to examine the interactional dynamics of power struggle. Analysing the data collected from several committee meetings of both the House of Councillors and the House of Representatives, the paper identified three ways of responding to disaffiliative (face-threatening) interjections hurled in the middle of speeches: meta-commenting, commenting, and non-doing. In contrast to the former two (such as responding “Don’t heckle, I cannot speak” or refuting “That is not true!”), the latter is a countermeasure without a word (such as just staring at the heckler(s) with one’s arms crossed): Far from being silenced by heckling, the heckled MDs deliberately keep silent to protest heckling. In so doing, they implicitly expose how the interactional order at the Diet is upset and therefore how their institutionalised right to speak without being disturbed is infringed. With a special focus on such ‘eloquent silence’, the paper analyses how the interactional norm of the meetings at the Diet is negotiated among hecklers and the heckled in pursuit of discursively constructing good ‘us’ in contrast to bad ‘them’.


Brown, P. and Levinson, S. C. (1987) Politeness: Some universals in language usage. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Chilton, P. (2003) Analysing Political Discourse: Theory and Practice. London: Routledge.

Fairclough, N. (2015) (3rd edition) Language and Power. London: Routledge.

Kádár, Dániel Z. 2017. Politeness, Impoliteness and Ritual: Maintaining the Moral Order in Interpersonal Interaction. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Kádár, Daniel Z. and Yongping Ran. 2015 “Ritual in Intercultural Contact: A Metapragmatic Case Study of Heckling.” Journal of Pragmatics 77: 41–55.

Wodak, R., Culpeper, J. and Semino, E. (2020) “Shameless normalisation of impoliteness: Berlusconi’s and Trump’s press conferences.” Discourse & Society 32(3): 369–393.

218 | Hikaru Suzuki

US Capitol Riot and Protest Paradigm: From a cognitive approach

Media scholarship has shown that in their coverage of political protests the mainstream media routinely disparage protesters and depoliticize protests by focusing on their violent and disruptive effects rather than on the causes that motivate them – a practice described as the ‘protest paradigm’ (McLeod 2007). However, recent studies of media coverage of political protest have found that political protests receive critical evaluations when they are unaligned with media’s political orientation (Weaver and Scacco 2013). In this paper, I treat political orientation of news outlet as a variable and investigate coverage of the 6th January 2021 US Capitol Protest – a right-wing protest organized by supporters of President Donald Trump.

In the field of Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA), it has been shown that ideological orientations towards political protests are realized in particular linguistic and conceptual parameters of meaning construction (Hart 2014). This paper looks at two such parameters; conceptual metaphor (c.f., Lakoff 1987) and schematization (c.f., Langacker 2008). The research questions I address are: How do two rhetorical strategies, framing and structural configuration, manifest different evaluations of the US Capitol Protest and the actors involved? And how does this vary according the ideological orientation of news outlets?

To answer this research question, the paper investigates the press coverage of the protest using Cognitive-Linguistic CDA (c.f., Hart 2014). Data was collected from 7 news outlets (Slate, MSNBC, The NYT, Yahoo News, Fox News, Breitbart, The Epoch Times), in the timeframe up to a month after the day that the protest took place. The following hypotheses were investigated.

H1: Metaphor in the coverage serves to legitimize the protest and actors involved in right-wing media but delegitimize the protest in left-wing media.

H2: Image-schematic representations invoked by structural configuration drive the legitimation of the protest and actors involved in right-wing media, also their marginalization in left-wing media.

The result largely confirms these hypotheses and reveals that the US Capitol Riot was legitimized in conservative media outlets but delegitimized in liberally aligned medias. These phenomena are observed to be driven by framing effects of WAR metaphor and FIRE metaphor. In framing analysis, it was found that conservative media exclusively uses WAR metaphor to legitimize the protest, whereas liberal media uses both metaphors to delegitimize the protest. Analysis of schematization suggests similar ideological biases in the report of two events during the protest. As such, news sources’ ideological orientations are found be reflected in different image schematic representations, structuring different construal of events. Overall, the paper presents a new view to the protest paradigm and suggests that appraisals of protests depend on the ideological orientation of the protest.


Hart, C. (2014). Discourse, Grammar and Ideology: Functional and Cognitive Perspective, Bloomsbury, New York, New York.

Lakoff, G. (1987) Women, Fire and Dangerous Things: What Categories Reveal About the Mind, The University of Chicago Press.

Langacker, R. (2008). Cognitive Grammar: A Basic Introduction. New York: Oxford University Press.

McLeod, D. M. (2007). News Coverage and Social Protest: How the Media's Protest Paradigm Exacerbates Social Conflict. Journal of Dispute Resolution, 2007(1), 185 - 194.

Weaver, DA. And Scacco, JM. (2013) Revisiting the Protest Paradigm: The Tea Party as Filtered through Prime-Time Cable News, The International Journal of Press/Politics, 18(1), 61–84.

243 | Cristina Arizzi

Commencement addresses as forms of presidential discourse between entertainment and politics.

From an anthropological perspective (van Gennep, 1976), graduation ceremonies mark the moment when new graduates are formally accepted into society as highly-educated adults. In the US, these ceremonies typically include inspirational speeches, known as Commencement Addresses (hereafter CA), delivered by well-known figures (Solly 2012). As part of a wider project that reflects the author’s interests in American presidential discourse (Arizzi 2017), the research presented in this paper critically examines CAs delivered by sitting US Presidents between 1992 and 2021 using a corpus based on the transcriptions provided by the American Presidency Project website ( and corresponding YouTube videos.

As a first step, the corpus was quantitatively and qualitatively analysed in terms of general purpose, themes, and performance, to establish correlations and patterns within the two main categories of graduates: those from US Universities and those from military academies.

Following Goffman’s view of social interactions in everyday life as performances in which people act as actors on a stage (Goffman 1959), the corpus was then examined in relation to the performances of US presidents as commencement speakers, including appearance, manner and gestures, and persuasive attitudes (Charteris-Black 2014). The CA’s multimodal and semiotic aspects relating to the performative aspects were also analysed drawing on the methods established in various multimodal studies (Baldry &Thibault, 2006; Kress, 2010; Vasta & Baldry 2020).

The paper concludes with some reflections on how political and non-political genres merge in CAs, for example by embedding disguised political messages in texts with apparently different functions. This is an indication of how CAs require politicians to balance their institutional role with a more entertaining performance, a trend that seems to confirm what has been called the fictionalization of politics or politicization of fiction (Wodak, 2009; Wodak and Forchtner, 2018).


Arizzi, Cristina, 2017. “American Presidential inaugural addresses”. Exploring a genre. In Bettina Mottura, Letizia Osti, Giorgia Riboni (eds.), Media & Politics: Discourses, Cultures, and Practices. Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, pp.182-205.

Baldry, Anthony & Thibault, Paul J., 2006. Multimodal Transcription and Text Analysis. London: Equinox.

Charteris-Black, Jonathan, 2014. Analysing Political Speeches. Rhetoric, Discourse and Metaphor. New York: Palgrave.

Goffman, Ervin, 1959. The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life. New York: The Overlook Press.

Kress G. 2010, Multimodality. A Social Semiotic Approach to Contemporary Communication. London/New York: Routledge.

Solly, Martin. 2012. “Dialogic monologues: commencement speeches as an evolving genre”. In Giuliana Garzone, Paola Catenaccio, Chiara Degano (eds), Genre Change in the Contemporary World: Short-term diachronic perspectives. Bern: Peter Lang, pp. 99-114.

Van Gennep, Arnold (ed.), 2004 [1977]. Rites of Passage. London: Routledge.

Vasta, Nicoletta & Baldry, Anthony (eds), 2020. Multiliteracy Advances and Multimodal Challenges in ELT Environments. Udine: Forum.

Wodak, Ruth, 2009. The Discourse of Politics in Action: Politics as Usual. Palgrave Macmillan.

Wodak, Ruth., & Forchtner, B. (2018). “The fictionalization of politics”. In Ruth Wodak & Bernhard Forchtner (eds), The Routledge Handbook of Language and Politics (pp. 572–586). London/New York: Routledge.

245 | Dario Del Fante

“A wave of problems” - conceptual metaphorical patterns in crisis in newspaper and parliament.

Several crises have globally posed different challenges to the stability of our contemporary societies. The term “crisis” comes from the Latinized form of Greek “κρίσις” (krisis) which refers to a turning point in a disease or to that change that indicates recovery or death. Specifically, it derives from the verb “κρίνω” (krino), "to separate, decide". Following this, a crisis can be interpreted as a separated/distinct moment from a period of stability. During a crisis, norms might be suspended or may be subject to variations: normality is not normal anymore.

When faced with crises such as sanitary or social ones, the media relies on metaphors and commonplace images to conceptualize and communicate about them (Charteris-Black 2021). Metaphors play a fundamental role in understanding and influencing how we think and talk about reality. Human reasoning is intrinsically metaphorical and imaginative: metaphors connect the domain of concrete and distinct experiences (the Source Domain) onto the domain of predominantly abstract and complex experiences (the Target Domain), thus enabling us to better understand the complexity of reality that surrounds us (Semino 2008). A crisis is a kind of subjective and difficult experience that tends to be talked whereby metaphorical expressions. In this sense, the analysis of conceptual metaphorical patterns used to communicate about a crisis can help us to advance our understanding of how we interact with and react to these problematic events.

To address this issue, I intend to embark on a case study: drawing on previous metaphor research on migration (Charteris-Black 2006; Taylor 2021) and pandemics (Semino 2021) and building on conceptual metaphor theory (Kövecses 2020), this project uses Critical Metaphor Analysis (Charteris-Black 2004) to examine the metaphorical representation of two recent crises in newspaper and parliamentary discourse: Covid-19 sanitary crisis and 2015 migration crisis. Lastly, the paper aims to investigate newspapers and political communication within a not-normal situation.

Three datasets will be analysed:

- A collection of articles on Covid-19 from two US newspapers and two Italian newspapers published between 2020 and 2021 (20 million tokens each);

- A collection of articles on Migration from two US newspapers and two Italian newspapers published between 2015 and 2016 (30 million tokens each).

- Parlamint Corpus – a multilingual comparable corpus of parliamentary debates (Erjavec et al. 2021)

A cross-linguistics perspective has been adopted to expand the scope of our research and to let comparison among two countries that are both strongly connected to the crises under study.

Preliminary results suggest the presence of three main metaphorical mappings for migration and pandemic:

- water: wave /surge of/flow/rise+ migrant/cases of disease;

- Fire: explosion of + migrant/cases of covid;

- war: invasion of/attack/fight/combat + migrant/ cases of disease/disease

Charteris-Black, J. (2004). Corpus approaches to critical metaphor analysis. Basingstoke: Palgrave-MacMillan.

Charteris-Black, J. (2006). Britain as a container: Immigration metaphors in the 2005 election campaign. Discourse & Society, 17(5), 563-581.

Charteris-Black, J. (2021). Metaphor of Coronavirus. Invisible Enemy or Zombie Apocalypse? Basingstoke: Palgrave-MacMillan.

Erjavec, Tomaž; et al., (2021), Linguistically annotated multilingual comparable corpora of parliamentary debates ParlaMint.ana 2.1

Kövecses, Z. (2020). Extended Conceptual Metaphor Theory. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Semino, E. (2008). Metaphor in discourse. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Semino, E. (2021): “ ‘Not Soldiers but Fire-Fighters’ – Metaphors and Covid-19”, In: Health Communication, 36, 1, 50–58.

Taylor, C. (2021): “Metaphors of Migration over Time”, In: Discourse & Society, 1-19,

264 | Nicoletta Vasta

Enemy at the Gates: "Languaging" the Other in US Conflict Discourse

Drawing on the author's previous research (Vasta 2004a, 2004b, 2016; Vasta/Coulthard 2009; Vasta/Martorana 2018), the paper aims to explore the “languaging” (Cortese 2001) strategies of Otherization (e.g. Hall 1997) deployed to tackle such controversial political issues as terrorism and immigration. The underlying assumption is that resorting to powerful myths and cultural constructs sustained by carefully manufactured discursive representations of ‘reality’ is essential for a US President in order to monitor dissent and win domestic consent over policies which constrain personal freedom.

The investigation is focused on languaging activities constructing asymmetrical relationships of power that define the possible actions of the parties involved as socio-discursive practices in their respective contexts. Following Fairclough (1992: 67), discourse is “a mode of political and ideological practice which […] constitutes, naturalizes, sustains and changes significations of the world from diverse positions in power relations.” Hence the domestication of the Terrorist/Immigrant’s identity as the defective Other clashing with the western ‘norm’ (Said 1978; Demata/Šarić 2018).

A qualitative SFL/CDA analysis of selected extracts from US Presidential speeches and tweets will be undertaken with a view to highlighting ideational, interpersonal and textual choices instantiating:

(i) socio-institutional roles (e.g. President-as-Father-of-the-Nation; Community-as-protector-of-its-members' interests; Individual-as-protector-of-his/her-right to self-determination/liberty) projecting distinct (often conflicting) standpoints which invite and indeed prefer certain social and linguistic acts on the ground of power asymmetries;

(ii) micro-textual choices based on polar constructs (e.g. rationality/irrationality; distance/proximity), often supported by value-laden interpersonal choices (e.g. imminent threat) and metaphors (Paissa et al. 2021);

(iii) macro-textual strategies issuing from master/counter-/meta-narratives (Halverston/Goodall 2011) and Intertextual Thematic Formations (Lemke 1988: 32) feeding the multifaceted myth of a ‘superempowered’ Presidency (Jeffords 2012) which legitimises the fight against the Terrorist/ Immigrant as the threatening Other.


Cortese G. 2001. Introduction. In Cortese G./Hymes D. eds. Languaging in and across Human Groups. Textus XIV/2, 193-230.

Demata M./Šarić L. eds. 2018. Discursive Constructions of Migrants, I-LanD 2018/1.

Fairclough N. 1992. Discourse and Social Change. Cambridge: Polity.

Jeffords S. 2012. Terror, the Imperial Presidency, and American Heroism. In Barkawi T./Stanski K. eds. Orientalism and War. London: Hurst & Co., 65-82.

Hall S. 1997. The Spectacle of the ‘Other’. In Ibid. ed, Cultural Representations and Signifying Practices. Milton Keynes: The Open University, 223-290.

Halverson J.R./Goodall H.L./Corman S.R. 2011. Master Narratives of Islamist Extremism. New York: Palgrave.

Lemke J.L. 1988. Discourses in Conflict. In BensonJ.D./Greaves W.S. eds. Systemic Functional Approaches to Discourse. Norwood NJ: Ablex, 29-50.

Paissa P. et al eds. 2021. Metaphor and Conflict. Bern: Peter Lang.

Said E. 1978. Orientalism. London: Penguin.

Vasta N. 2004a. Sport a Yellow Ribbon. In Dente C./Soncini S. eds. Conflict Zones. Pisa: ETS, 115-51.

Vasta N. 2004b. Consent and Dissent in British and Italian Parliamentary Debates. In Bayley P. ed. Cross-Cultural Perspectives on Parliamentary Discourse. Amsterdam: Benjamins, 111-49.

Vasta N./Caldas-Coulthard C.R. eds 2009. Identity Construction and Positioning in Discourse and Society. Textus XXII/1.

Vasta N. 2016. Identities in Conflict. In Campagna S. et al eds. Languaging in and across Communities. Bern: Peter Lang, 199-222.

Vasta N./Martorana V. 2018. Minaccia alla sicurezza e uso della forza. In Melchior C./Romoli A. eds. La strategia della persuasione. Milan: Franco Angeli, 155-90.

271 | Patryk Dobkiewicz

The conference interpreter as agent in multilingual political discourse: Extending experimental approaches to CDS

This paper presents the preliminary results and methodological considerations of a research project investigating the role of conference interpreting in normalising radical political discourses. Mediation of such discourses through the mass media has been widely discussed as a factor in their normalisation in the public sphere (e.g. Krzyżanowski 2020). I propose that a different type of mediation, through conference interpreting, carries similar potential for normalising radical discourses, and attempt to answer the question whether the political orientation of the interpreter influences the ideological salience of the interpreted text.

The conference interpreter has increasingly become the object of academic attention for their role in co-constructing multilingual political discourses. Recent studies grounded in CDS have been successful in showing interpreters’ patterns of mitigation of racism between source and target text (Bartłomiejczyk 2020) and patterns of intensification of dominant ideologies (Gu & Tipton 2020). This project builds on these studies by analysing parliamentary speeches across the political spectrum and triangulating the results with an experimental study.

The initial step is the systematic analysis of ideologically salient nominations and predications of key social actors and phenomena (Reisigl & Wodak 2009) in a parallel corpus of 49 European Parliament speeches in English across the left–right spectrum and their simultaneous interpretations into Polish. The analysis of 1,054 tokens using tools of the discourse-historical approach points towards a relationship between source text ideology and the realisation of the token in the target text. While 53.45% of nominations and predications produced by centrist speakers were realised by interpreters with no change to ideological salience, only 42.36% and 42.86% of the left-wing and right-wing tokens were realised neutrally. Of the ideologically shifted tokens, most were mitigated, which underlines the potential of normalisation of radical discourses through interpreting.

The results of this discourse-analytical study are triangulated with an experimental study. 30 professional interpreters working from English into Polish interpret a series of speeches controlled for their ideological salience: a left-wing, centrist, and right-wing speech. The interpreters’ realisations of key ideological nominations and predications in these speeches are analysed using methods of the discourse-historical approach to indicate whether their ideological salience is retained. The participating interpreter's political orientation is then measured using the EUandI 2019 questionnaire. Its results are correlated with the results of target texts’ ideological salience, thus allowing an insight into the potential causes of ideological shifts in interpreted political discourse.


Bartłomiejczyk, M. (2020). How much noise can you make through an interpreter?: A case study on racist discourse in the European Parliament. Interpreting, 1–24.

Beaton-Thome, M. (2013). What’s in a word? Your enemy combatant is my refugee: The role of simultaneous interpreters in negotiating the lexis of Guantánamo in the European Parliament. Journal of Language and Politics 12 (3), 378–399.

Gu, C. & Tipton, R. (2020). (Re-)voicing Beijing’s discourse through self-referentiality: a corpus-based CDA analysis of government interpreters’ discursive mediation at China’s political press conferences (1998–2017). Perspectives 28 (3), 406–423.

Krzyżanowski, M. (2020). Discursive shifts and the normalisation of racism: Imaginaries of immigration, moral panics and the discourse of contemporary right-wing populism. Social Semiotics, 1–25.

Reisigl, M. & Wodak, R. (2009). The Discourse-Historical Approach (DHA). In R. Wodak & M. Meyer (Eds.), Methods of Critical Discourse Analysis. London: Sage.

272 | Andrea Macrae & Chris Washington-Sare

Language and trust in charity fundraising letters

This paper presents an analysis of the results of a study investigating language, trust and manipulation in the context of fundraising letters.

The research questions investigated by the study are:

1. What linguistic cues in fundraising postal appeals trigger readers' feelings of trust or distrust?

2. What relationships exist between language, readers’ feelings of trust or distrust, and perceptions of manipulation in response to fundraising postal appeals?

3. How far do readers expect, accept and/or object to manipulation in fundraising postal appeals?

400 participants, aged 18-70, completed a questionnaire which solicited two initial propensity-to-trust scores (based on Rotter's Interpersonal Trust Scale and the ADTRUST scale), to contextualise responses, and proceeded to ask questions about segments of a fundraising letter relative to manipulation and trust.

This paper focusses on the linguistic features most commonly identified by participants as triggering increased trust and those triggering increased distrust, and uses cognitive stylistics (and in particular schema theory) to propose hypotheses about why these features evoked these responses in this context. If presents some selected statistical analysis along with qualitative analysis of participants’ free text responses.

This is a novel study in an underexplored area, and forms part of a longer term investigation which seeks to provide better understanding of readers’ responses to the language of charity fundraising letters.


Gibbons, A., Whiteley, S. (2018) Contemporary Stylistics: Language, Cognition, Interpretation. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.

Hart, C. (2010) Critical Discourse Analysis and Cognitive Science: New Perspectives on Immigration Discourse. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

Jeffries, L. and McIntyre, D. (2010) Stylistics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Mayer, R. C., and Davis, J. H. (1998) ‘The effect of the performance appraisal system on trust for management: A field quasi-experiment’, Journal of Applied Psychology 84(1): 123-136.

Rotter, J. B. (1967) ‘A New Scale for the Measurement of Interpersonal Trust’, Journal of Personality 35(4): 651–665.

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274 | Qijun Song

Ideological mediation: metaphor shifts in translating CPC’s centenary discourse

By applying the Ideological Square Model, this paper conducts a corpus-based investigation of the metaphor shifts in translating the Communist Party of China’s centenary discourse. The primary questions are (1) do the metaphors kept in the TT (target text) show significant quantitative differences compared with those in the ST (source text)? Why or why not? (2) what types of metaphors are shifted in the TT compared with those in the ST and why are they shifted via translation? To answer those questions, Charteris-Black’s metaphor identification approach (2004) aided by ParaConc (a parallel corpus software) has been adopted. The process was triangulated by two bilingual analysts familiar with cognitive metaphor theories. The significance test of difference was conducted with fisher’s exact test. The results demonstrate that (1) most of the metaphors are kept in the TT, indicating insignificant differences that may have to do with China’s contemporary publicity strategy of preserving Chinese culture-specific expressions, but the shifts do occur in the six types of metaphors identified, namely the journey metaphor, war metaphor, building metaphor, body metaphor, cause metaphor, and illness metaphor; (2) the linguistic and cultural aspects are mediated by the ideological kernel to account for the shifts; (3) the Chinese traditional philosophy of ‘he’ (harmony) underpins the model in interpreting metaphor shifts in Chinese political translation. The study argues that political translation is more of an interest-oriented activity than simply the ST-oriented one, where metaphor shifting is a strategy that conforms to the interests of a nation. It contributes to expanding van Dijk’s contention ‘positive about us and negative about them’ (van Dijk, 2006, p. 126) with an underpinning ground of harmony: the translation team’s weakening negative sides about others through metaphor shifts is likely to be motivated by a harmony-influenced mentality for Chinese’s interests.

References (abstract):

Charteris-Black, J. (2004). Corpus Approaches to Critical Metaphor Analysis. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

van Dijk, T. A. (2006). Ideology and discourse analysis. Journal of Political Ideologies. 11(2), 115–140.

310 | Irina Diana Madroane

Diasporic Protesters as Rhetorical Tricksters: Discursive Strategies of Countering Shame in Alternative Media

This study has been occasioned by the protest of the Romanian diaspora, held in Bucharest on 10 August 2018 and broadly aimed at social reform in the country of origin. While the protest stood out due to its brutal stifling by the riot police, my interest here lies in the symbolic struggles and acts of dissent leading up to the demonstration. Specifically, I will be looking at the Romanian migrants’ tactical reversal, on Facebook and in the alternative publication Vice, of the shaming attempts targeted at them by certain politicians and public intellectuals.

The theoretical framework I work with integrates the following concepts: shame as a moral emotion that can unjustly marginalize and exclude (Nussbaum, 2004; Sayer, 2005), considered within transnational dynamics and power relations (Levitt & Glick Schiller, 2004) between migrants, non-migrants and institutional actors in the country of origin; the formation of counterpublics through the identification and problematization of exclusion in discourse (Asen, 2000; see also Fraser, 1992; Warner, 2002), the alternative media being an important arena for their emergence (Atton, 2015; Harcup 2011); the rhetorical dimension of citizenship (Kock & Villadsen, 2012, 2017) manifest, among others, in rhetorical agency, seen here as the dissenting citizens’ “capacity to act” through speech (Campbell, 2005; Hoff-Clausen, 2018). The main research question(s) the present study will seek to answer are: (1) How do migrants use alternative media resources to “bring shame” to “discursive consciousness” and to negotiate or reject it? (2) How does collective agency take shape through their acts of dissent and symbolic resistance?

The corpus is small and exploratory (due to late retrieval of data from social media). It is made up of 17 migrants’ self-presentations on the Diaspora Românească Facebook page (one of the protest organizations), retrieved either from their newsfeed or from the Vice Romania magazine, and of a Vice article written from the perspective of a journalist with migrant parents. The analytical framework employs tools from positioning theory (Bamberg, 1997; De Fina, 2003, 2013), critical discourse analysis (Fairclough 2003; Fairclough and Fairclough 2012; Van Leeuwen 2008; Wodak et al. 2009) and rhetorical agency studies (Campbell, 2005; Hoff-Clausen, 2018) to look into modes of discursive self-identification and performance. Preliminary findings show that irony is used in self-presentations as the chief mode of expressing opposition to the public shaming of (low-skilled) migrants. In their reactions, most contributors seemingly accept the shameful categorizations only to expose and reverse them, by referring to their employment status and achievements, incredible effort and personal resources, work ethic, and upward social mobility in host countries. I interpret such discursive strategies as the migrants’ performance of rhetorical trickstering (Ivie, 2005; Villadsen, 2017) in order to re-authorize their devalued selves, legitimize their protest and build solidarity with non-migrant citizens, by tapping into a repository of shared civic and moral values. Another relevant discursive mode of counteracting shame, reconfiguring identities and belongings, and performing civic solidarity in the corpus is the personal narrative.

The study is intended as a contribution from a discourse and rhetorical perspective to the analysis of symbolic resistance and diasporic counterpublic formation in (progressive) alternative media. It further reflects upon the norms specific to alternative media, inherently different from mainstream journalism, and the potential they have for the empowerment of marginalized social categories.

311 | Yunana Ahmed & Chuka Fred Ononye

“Rome wasn’t built in a day”: Nation building-as-a-Journey Metaphor in Nigerian Independence Anniversary Discourse

Drawing on Musolff’s (2016) political metaphor analysis and Ngugi’s (2009) decolonial methodologies, this paper explores the discursive functions of the metaphor ‘nation building as a journey’ in selected Nigeria’s independence-day presidential addresses. With data drawn from five of Nigeria’s heads of state and presidents from 1960 to 2021, the paper argues that the leaders’ conceptualisation of nation building can be represented as a journey. These are manifest in the texts through two source domains, viz. the path (e.g., “our long march to nationhood”) and destination (e.g., “we are not there yet”) domains. Paradoxically, instead of invoking a strong, teleological faith in the actual existence of an independent nation, the use of journey metaphors by these leaders re-affirms a heritage of struggle that constantly constructs nationhood as a desire. A critical analysis of these texts reveal that Nigeria, is enmeshed in a state of becoming rather than being which represents the colonialist’s logic of modernity of trying to catch-up with Europe forever. This colonial mentality has constructed the present nationhood in the post-colony as a phantasmagoria and malaise. Hence, under such representations, the paper observes that the post-colony has failed to replace colonial structures with workable economic and political systems.