The meanings of "war": From lexis to context

Annabelle Lukin*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    6 Citations (Scopus)


    In this paper I interpret findings from a project investigating media coverage of the 2003 "Coalition" invasion of Iraq, drawing on a corpus of news reports from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation TV news. The findings reported are evidence of a consistency that reflects the unconscious working of an ideology about "war", with ideology considered in linguistic terms as a "configurative rapport" (Whorf 1956). To trace some dimensions of this ideology, I explore the meanings of "war", its linguistic reactances, and its consequences for the creation of text with respect to registers of news discourse. I consider "war" from the point of view of lexis: its referential meaning, its relation to other related signs, (Saussure 1974), its denotative and connotative meanings (Hasan 2003) and its collocation and colligational potentials (Firth 1937[1964], 1962). I then consider it from the point of view of text-in-context (e.g. Halliday & Hasan 1985). The paper extends the 30 year interest in the relations of language, mind and society that have characterised studies of ideology in critical linguistics/CDA.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)424-444
    Number of pages21
    JournalJournal of Language and Politics
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 2013


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