Publication details [#56993]

Lukin, Annabelle. 2013. The meanings of “war”: From lexis to context. Journal of Language and Politics 12 (3) : 424–444.
Publication type
Article in journal
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Place, Publisher
John Benjamins
Journal DOI


This paper interprets findings from a project investigating media coverage of the 2003 “Coalition” invasion of Iraq, drawing on a corpus of news reports from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation TV news. The findings reported are evidence of a consistency that reflects the unconscious working of an ideology about “war”, with ideology considered in linguistic terms as a “configurative rapport” (Whorf 1956). To trace some dimensions of this ideology, the paper explores the meanings of “war”, its linguistic reactances, and its consequences for the creation of text with respect to registers of news discourse. It considers “war” from the point of view of lexis: its referential meaning, its relation to other related signs, (Saussure 1974), its denotative and connotative meanings (Hasan 2003) and its collocation and colligational potentials (Firth 1937[1964], 1962). It then considers it from the point of view of text-in-context (e.g. Halliday & Hasan 1985). The paper extends the 30 year interest in the relations of language, mind and society that have characterised studies of ideology in critical linguistics/CDA.