A Critical Linguistic Study of the Representation of Islam and Muslims in the Discourse of the New York Times Op-Eds

Rachid Acim

Abstract


The present paper aims at studying the ideological discourse of the New York Times (and henceforth NYT) Op-Eds (originally short form for “opposite the editorial page”, latterly known as “opinion editorial”) written on Islam and Muslims, through the examination of linguistic structures that are embedded in this opinion discourse. The linguistic analysis is based on the theoretical framework of Critical Linguistics. Indeed, this analytical tool puts much emphasis on the fundamental role and centrality of ideology in articulating certain views and perceptions about Islam and Muslims. The data collected follows non-random sampling and is retrieved from the NYT database after three months of digital subscription. Within this journalistic discourse, language is viewed more than a vehicle for communication; it is a carrier of ideology, a site of struggle and an energy that transforms human experience into expression, or say simply opinion. The inclusion and exclusion of certain linguistic structures such as passive and active forms, the excessive use of quasi-synonymous terms and lexical items, as well as the (re)occurrence of a whole plethora of nominal constructions, suggest that a process of selection is particular if not exclusive to the opinion discourse of the New York Times Op-Eds addressing Islam and Muslims.

 


Keywords


The New York Times, Islam, Discourse, Op-Eds, Ideology.

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