Veiled trails of threat in the language of advertisements: a discourse analysis of a military job advertisement


Biook Behnam


Azarbaijan University of Tarbiat Moallem, Tabriz, Iran


Davud Kuhi


Islamic Azad University, Maragheh, Iran


The discourse employed in military job advertisements usually resorts to persuasive strategies that are absent in other job advertisements. Lack of public interest for military jobs, especially due to the potential risks inherent in them, obliges the sponsors and producers of such advertisements to create a pleasant atmosphere of the job awaiting the candidates. However, the political situation of the world we are living in sometimes influences the strategies and content of the discourse dominating these advertisements and instead of such a pleasant atmosphere, the portrayed picture becomes that of instability, fragility, and insecurity. Threat replaces pleasure, and warning replaces invitation. The sample data analyzed in this paper is representative of such a situation. The analysis has mainly resorted to pragmatic frameworks to describe the strategies used by the writer. Later, a wider interpretative framework has been used to highlight the fact that due to unstable international situation, military job advertisements may sometimes utilize a threatening discourse to oblige the readers to volunteer; otherwise, they should wait for the negative consequences of their negligence and reluctance.


speech act; cooperative maxims; conversational implicature; IFD; face; FTA

Publication Date

June 1, 2008


Volume 2, Issue 1

Citation information

Behnam, Biook, and Davud Kuhi. 2008. “Veiled trails of threat in the language of advertisements: a discourse analysis of a military job advertisement.” Language. Text. Society 2 (1): e55-e72. (Journal title at the time of publication: SamaraAltLinguo E-Journal.)


author = {Behnam, Biook and Kuhi, Davud},
title = {{Veiled trails of threat in the language of advertisements: a discourse analysis of a military job advertisement}},
journal = {Language. Text. Society},
year = {2008},
volume = {2},
number = {1},
pages = {55–72},
url = {},


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