A systemic functional approach to analysing and interpreting ideology: an illustration from French editorials

Alice Caffarel, Elizabeth Rechniewski

Abstract

This article proposes a methodology for the analysis of ideology drawing on systemic functional theory and using as a case study two French editorials. Editorials - which offer an interpretation of key events intended to give an overall direction to the reader’s understanding of the world - are a privileged site for the construal of opinion and therefore for the analysis of ideology and evaluative language in journalistic discourse. In this article we undertake an analysis of appraisal resources and transitivity in two editorials from French newspapers of contrasting political orientation, Le Figaro and Libération, to highlight how they construe ideology through the foregrounding of particular patterns of linguistic choices. We will show how these patterns interact in the text to convey the ideology of each newspaper and to persuade the reader to adopt its perspective on the event (the kidnaping of two French journalists) and on the action/position that should be taken.

Keywords

Discourse analysis; Journalistic discourse; Persuasion; Ideology; Newspapers; Political orientation; Editorials



DOI: https://doi.org/10.14198/raei.2009.22.03