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Title: A corpus-based study of the collocational behaviour and idealogical usage of political terms in the Arabic news discourse of pre-revolutionary Egypt
Author: Mohammed, Safwat Ali Saleh
Awarding Body: Lancaster University
Current Institution: Lancaster University
Date of Award: 2012
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Studies of Arabic collocation have to date been highly influenced by the intensional approach (Evert, 2005: 16), where collocations are regarded as phraseological units which are semantically opaque and have a degree of fixedness. However, no studies have approached Arabic collocation from the neo-Firthian perspective, where collocations are seen as the co-occurrence of words within a certain distance, a directly observable and quantifiable phenomenon. This thesis investigates Arabic collocation from that perspective, in terms of textual meanings and discursive usage in media discourse. Doing this entails two interdependent levels of analysis. A) At the micro-level of analysis, collocations are investigated textually, using corpus linguistic methods, and applying Sinc1air's model of the Extended Lexical Unit (ELU). According to the ELU, a given lexical item is characterized syntagmatically and paradigmatically at different linguistic levels: lexical (collocation), syntactic (colligational patterns) semantic (semantic preferences), and pragmatic (semantic prosody). B) At the macro-level of analysis, collocations are taken beyond the boundaries of the text to a wider context of discourse, in order to decode the ideological meanings encoded in collocational and lexical choices. At this level, ideological uses of collocations are described and interpreted in the light of the underlying socio-political context, using Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA) methods and a framework of several discursive strategies to discover ideologically-motivated representati ons. The analysis is based on a nearly 100 million word tagged and lemmatized corpus, derived from the Egyptian newspaper Al-ahram and covering 10 years from 2000 to 2009. Two political abstract nouns are analyzed as a case study (huwiyya 'IDENTITY' and diimuqraaTiyya 'DEMOCRACY'), to explore their collocational behaviour and ideological usage in the media discourse in pre-revolutionary Egypt The analysis reveals that both huwiyya 'IDENTITY' and diimuqraaTiyya 'DEMOCRACY' have three meanings in this corpus: social, individual and conceptual for huwiyya, and political, social and conceptual for diimuqraaTiyya. Each meaning is textually realized in particular colligational patterns, and has distinct semantic preferences for particular lexical fields of collocates. Pragmatically, the two lemmata have positive and negative semantic prosodies as deduced from the co-textual collocates. The social meaning of huwiyya is associated with a positive prosody evoked from positive actions taken by a community or a group of people towards their identity, contrasting with a negative prosody when the identity is depicted as being lost or wiped out. The individual meaning has a negative prosody, as it is typically used in contexts relating to reporting accidents and investigating crimes. As for diimuqraaTiyya, it has a predominantly positive prosody, i.e. a collective moral/ideal value, as well as a negative prosody of unreality and allegation. By going beyond the microanalysis to explore the construction of ideology in discourse, the macro-analysis reveals that the Arab, national, Islamic and Jewish identities have negative prosodies and negative ideological representations, in contrast to the largely positively-presented Egyptian identity. Similarly, when democracy is referred to in co-texts including Mubarak, Egypt, the thenruling National Democratic Party, it is portrayed extremely positively; conversely democracy is derogated ideologically in co-texts including Islamists, opposition, America and Israel. This overall picture can be understood in the light of the identity of the Al-ahrarn newspaper as a pro-regime publication that propagandizes in accord with the ruling regime's policies and interests. The positive and negative portrayal of particular groups and ideals is in accord with the political preferences of Mubarak's regime. This thesis advances the study of collocation in Arabic theoretically and methodologically through: a) demonstrating the applicability the model of the Extended Lexical Unit (ELU) to Arabic collocation, with some required modifications due to the nature of Arabic morphosyntax, by exploring the collocational profile and textual meaning(s) of given lemmata in empirical data; and b) combining corpus linguistic and CDA methods in discovering the covert ideological meanings of overt collocations, and interpreting them contextually. It is a real advance for Arabic collocation study to use these methods to gain insights into collocational behaviour, as a linguistic phenomenon in real usage.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available