Representation of Major Religious Orientations in American Discourse: A Corpus-based Analysis
Keywords:Corpus-based sociolinguistics, COCA, Critical discourse analysis, Religious orientations, Representation, American discourse
AbstractThis study outlines how the aid of both corpus-based sociolinguistics and principles of Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA) can help expose the subtle value-laden ideological representations of major religious orientations in American discourse. To do this, COCA (Corpus of Contemporary American English) and Van Dijk’s Discursive Strategy Framework (2004) were employed. Results indicated that the most highly used strategy was Lexicalization. It was further revealed that this discursive strategy was utilized to convey certain positive or negative connotations in the audience’s mind regarding different religious and belief systems. Accordingly, the most politicized religion was Islam, while Buddhism was the least politicized one. Its representation was also not as ideologically-loaded compared to other belief systems. Christianity was politicized, too, but mostly in terms of religious and historical-religious issues and events. Shifts in ideological representation of Judaism have been completely palpable. Finally, atheism has been depicted in COCA as a long-running belief system highly attributed to bona fide scientists, progressive-minded people, and the LGBTQ community.
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