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Investigating language and ideology: A presentation of the ideological square and transitivity in the editorials of three Kenyan newspapers

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This article examines the application of two approaches from discourse analysis, that is, the ideological square from Critical Discourse Analysis and transitivity which is a component of Systemic Functional Grammar in the analysis of data extracted from the Kenyan print media. These two approaches are used to illustrate how different newspapers' editorials portrayed various political groups in the run — up to the general elections in 1997 in Kenya. Thus attempts are made to show the role of newspapers editorials in articulating conflicting ideological positions in election reporting. In this paper an analysis is provided on how the Kenya print media represented and constructed political parties in the 1997 elections. The aim of this representation and construction is to show how political groups in the sense of us vs them and the representational processes of transitivity construct ideological discourse. The paper further illustrates how the concepts of ideological square and transitivity assist in making overt the mediation processes and practices that are generally, covertly, often unconsciously used in the construction and evaluation of participants in a political process.
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Keywords: EDITORIALS; IDEOLOGICAL SQUARE; IDEOLOGY; KENYA; TRANSITIVITY

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: December 1, 2007

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