Ideology and linguistic indices: One incident, multiple interpretations


Manizheh Alami


Tabriz Azad University, Tabriz, Iran


Language is a crystal being shaped by the society, one of the mechanism through which society reproduces and regulates itself. In fact, language is not simply a tool of communication or a means of passing on information. It is the means of controlling people through imposing dominant ideologies. In other words, ideology can be materialized in language. So the main aim of Critical Linguistics Analysis (CLA) is to examine the ideologies underlying the texts. CLA by using appropriate linguistic tools and referring to relevant historical and social contexts brings ideology, normally hidden through habituating of discourse, to the surface for inspection. Kress (1993:173) claims that “all texts equally encode the ideological positions of their producers. But they don’t reveal or mask their ideological provenance to the same degree”. This paper is an attempt to go behind the superficial meaning and underlying ideology of the headlines and opening texts of 4 English newspapers published in Iran: Iran Daily, Iran News, Tehran Times and Kayhan International to show how the same incident appeared differently in different papers. The present study applies Halliday’s Systemic-Functional Grammar as the methodological source to unmask ideological uses of linguistic features. The ideational metafunction within which transitivity model is applied is a means of investigating how the linguistic structures of a text effectively encode a particular world-view/ideology. This type of analysis helps the readers to read texts differently, to be careful and pay more attention to the hidden message and ideas between lines.


critical linguistic analysis; systemic-functional grammar; ideology; ideational function; transitivity; press


This paper was presented at the 30th International Systemic-Functional Linguistics Congress (Lucknow, India, 15-17 December 2003).

Publication Date

December 20, 2007


Volume 1, Issue 2

Citation information

Alami, Manizheh. 2007. “Ideology and linguistic indices: One incident, multiple interpretations.” Language. Text. Society 1 (2): e1-e25. (Journal title at the time of publication: SamaraAltLinguo E-Journal.)


author = {Alami, Manizheh},
title = {{Ideology and linguistic indices: One incident, multiple interpretations}},
journal = {Language. Text. Society},
year = {2007},
volume = {1},
number = {2},
pages = {1–25},
url = {},


Asher, Ron E., and J. M. Y. Simpson, eds. 1994. The Encyclopedia of Language and Linguistics. 1st ed. Oxford; New York: Pergamon Press.

Brown, Gillian, and George Yule. 1983. Discourse analysis. Cambridge textbooks in linguistics. Cambridge ; New York: Cambridge University Press.

Carter, Ronald, Angela Goddard, Danuta Reah, Keith Sanger, and Nikki Swift. 1997. Working with Texts: A Core Introduction to Language Analysis, 1st ed. London: Routledge.

Coulthard, Malcolm, ed. 1994. Advances in Written Text Analysis. London; New York: Routledge.

Crystal, David. 1997. The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Language. 2nd ed. Cambridge; New York: Cambridge University Press.

Fairclough, Norman. 1989. Language and Power. Language in social life series. London ; New York: Longman.

Fowler, Roger. 1986. Linguistic Criticism. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Fowler, Roger. 1991. Language in the news: discourse and ideology in the press. London; New York: Routledge.

Fowler, Roger, and Gunther Kress. 1979. “Critical Linguistics.” In Language and Control, edited by Roger Fowler, Robert Hodge, Gunther Kress, Tony Trew. London; Boston: Routledge & Kegan Paul.

Green, Keith, and Jill LeBihan. 1996. Critical Theory and Practice. London: Routledge.

Halliday, Michael A. K. 1968. “Notes On Transitivity And Theme In English Part 3.” Journal of Linguistics 4 (2): 179-215.

Halliday, Michael A. K. 1970. “Language Structure and Language Function.” In New Horizons in Linguistics, by John Lyons, 140-165. Harmondsworth: Penguin.

Halliday, Michael A. K. 1979. Language as Social Semiotic: The Social Interpretation of Language and Meaning. Repr. London: Arnold.

Halliday, Michael A. K. 1994. An introduction to functional grammar. 2nd ed. London: Edward Arnold, 1994.

Halliday, Michael A. K., and Ruqaiya Hasan. 1985. Language, context and text: Aspects of language in a social-semiotic perspective. Waurn Ponds, Vic.: Deakin University: distributed by Deakin University Press.

Hart, Andrew. 1991. Understanding the Media: A Practical Guide. London: Routledge.

Hatch, Evelyn Marcussen. 1992. Discourse and language education. Cambridge language teaching library. Cambridge [England] ; New York: Cambridge University Press.

Hodge, Bob, and Gunther R. Kress. 1988. Social semiotics. Ithaca, N.Y: Cornell University Press.

Hoover, Stewart M., and Knut Lundby, eds. 1997. Rethinking media, religion, and culture. Thousand Oaks, Calif: Sage Publications.

Kress, Gunther R., and Bob Hodge. 1979. Language as ideology. London; Boston: Routledge & Kegan Paul.

Lee, David. 1992. Competing Discourses: Perspective and Ideology in Language. London: Longman.

Lotfipoor Saaedi, K. 1992. An Introduction to Principles of Translation: A Discoursal Approach. Tehran: SAMT Publications.

Lyons, John. 1981. Language and linguistics: an introduction. Cambridge [Cambridgeshire] ; New York: Cambridge University Press.

Malmkjær, Kirsten, ed. 1991. The Linguistics Encyclopedia. Routledge Language Reference Series. London: Routledge.

Martin, J. R, Christian M. I. M. Matthiessen, and Clare Painter. 1997. Working With Functional Grammar. London: Edward Arnold.

Nunan, David. 1993. Introducing Discourse Analysis. London: Penguin Books.

Orwell, George. 1983. Nineteen Eighty-Four. London: Longman.

Pêcheux, Michel. 1982. Language, Semantics and Ideology. London: Palgrave Macmillan UK.

Price, Stuart. 1993. Media Studies. London: Pitman Publishing.

Reah, Danuta. 1998. The Language of newspapers. London and New York: Routledge.

Schiffrin, Deborah. 1994. Approaches to discourse. Blackwell textbooks in linguistics 8. Oxford, UK; Cambridge, Mass.: B. Blackwell.

Simpson, Paul. 1993. Language, ideology, and point of view. Interface series. London; New York: Routledge.

Sinclair, John McHardy, and Malcolm R. Coulthard. 1980. Towards an analysis of discourse: The English used by teachers and pupils. London: Oxford University Press.

Therborn, Göran. 1980. The Ideology of Power and the Power of Ideology. London: New Left Books.

Thompson, Geoff. 1997. Introducing Functional Grammar. New York: Hodder Arnold.

Van Dijk, Teun Adrianus. 1998. Ideology: A Multidisciplinary Approach. London: SAGE Publications.

Wodak, Ruth, ed. 1989. Language, Power and Ideology: Studies in Political Discourse. Vol. 7. Critical Theory. Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing Company.

Yule, George. 1985. The study of language: an introduction. Cambridge [Cambridgeshire]; New York: Cambridge University Press.

زکریایئ محمد علی)(1378) کوی دانشگاه به روایت رسانه ها تهران انتشارات کویر