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Title: Nominalizations, agentless passives and social actor mystification : newspaper editorials on the Greek financial crisis
Author: Lingle, William Alan
ISNI:       0000 0004 7426 1713
Awarding Body: University of Birmingham
Current Institution: University of Birmingham
Date of Award: 2018
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Nominalization and agentless passives have attracted sustained attention in critical linguistics and Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA), where, it is argued, they 'mystify', i.e., reduce reader comprehension of, the role of social actors in depictions of events, particularly in news media discourse. Yet the capacity of readers to generate inferences automatically from textual cues and background information has not been adequately reflected in CDA accounts of reader cognition. The question of whether particular instances of nominalization or agentless passives actually reduce reader comprehension of social actors' agentive roles was put to an empirical test by asking volunteer readers to identify social actors deleted from newspaper editorials by the addition ofnominalization and agentless passives. While readers accurately inferred the missing actors in a majority of cases, textual constraints and background knowledge appeared to affect inference accuracy in ways generally consistent with the predictions of the idealized reader (IR) framework presented in O'Halloran (2003). It is argued that robust models of reader cognition should be incorporated more widely into CDA studies to prevent researchers from overestimating the capacity of textual features to mystify social actors to readers.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: P Philology. Linguistics