A Study Of Ideological Embedding In The Guardian And Daily Trust Editorials

Project and Seminar Material for English Language

A Study Of Ideological Embedding In The Guardian And Daily Trust Editorials


This work is a study of ideology and its workings in two Nigerian Newspapers: The Guardian and Daily Trust using Modality as the analytical element. Modality as a property oflanguage use is generally exploited by language users and its role in newspaper editorials is of importance in that editorial writers tend to make use of it to establish either a positive comment or bias in a text to manipulate their readers’ opinions. Through Critical Discourse Analysis of the selected editorials culled from The Guardian and Daily Trust, the present study firstly aimed at identifying the linguistic manifestations of modality employed in the two newspapers and secondly embarked on some elaborate descriptions of the implications of the cited data.

Modals such as “can”, “could”, “may”, “must” and “should” were specifically isolated and fully characterised to account for the orientations of the newspapers. An analysis of the two papers shows that modals were employed as ideological devices. Also, a comparison – in terms of how modals were employed – suggests that The Guardian made more use of modals of obligation and necessity, while Daily Trust preferred mainly predictive auxiliary modals to the other kinds of modals. The higher number of the predictive modals in Daily Trust thus suggests the idea that identifying what would happen in the future is the main concern of the editorial writers, while The Guardian is more concerned with strongly prescribing steps for the government to follow.

Chapter One


1.0 Preamble

Language is a critical part of existence that is fundamental to human life and living; one of the chief attributes that separate humans from other creatures. It is an embracing form of human activity that has a resultant effect on every aspect of life, the property of which we build, demolish and rebuild individual and social identities in the society. Language differentiates man from other creatures and seems to be his unique impact in biological evolution, according to Corcoran (1979). We communicate, transact business, bond with others, show love, persuade, educate, gossip, alienate and prevaricate, principally using the mode of spoken and written language. We speak, read and think with language. Language is one of the important cords that bind a society together and Pavlov (1927/1960) places emphasis on its importance in society when he asserts: “it is nothing other than words which has made us human”, Harley (2003: v).

“Language is an instrument of control as well as communication”, Kress and Hodge (1979:6). People can be both informed and manipulated by language and can in turn inform and manipulate others. Thus, language has the fundamental advantage of being utilised not only for communication, but for changing the opinions of others and shaping ideas in the minds of those who listen or read. Linguistic forms often allow meaning to be conveyed or to be distorted. Thus, hearers can be both manipulated and informed, or even manipulated while they erroneously think they are being informed (Kress and Hodge: ibid).

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