Analysing intersubjective resources in Persian and English newspaper opinion/editorials

Hossein Shokouhi 1  and Fatemeh Akbarzadeh 2
  • 1 Deakin University, Melbourne, Australia
  • 2 Chamran University of Ahvaz, Ahvaz, Iran
Hossein Shokouhi and Fatemeh Akbarzadeh


This study is to uncover the persuasive means of inviting or restricting alternative voices in Iranian and American press. About 10,000 engagement tokens were gathered from 216 newspaper opinions/editorials written between 2005 and 2010 on the Iranian nuclear program in two Persian newspapers, Iran and Aftab-e-Yazd, two English newspapers written by Persian writers–Tehran Times and Keyhan International–and two American newspapers written by American writers– New York Times and Washington Post. The Appraisal theory based on “contract” and “expand” linguistic features (Martin and White 2005) was used to compare the lexico-grammar of the engagement tokens. Central to their engagement are the dialogic heterogloss which acknowledges the diversity of voices in discourse and the undialogized monogloss which disregards the diversity. The investigation has revealed that whereas the op/eds written in Persian took the lead in using “endorse” and “counter”, two micro linguistic features of “contract”, (e.g., terms such as although, never, etc.), the American op/eds opted for “entertain” micro linguistic feature of “expand” (e.g., perhaps, argue, etc.). Interestingly, the op/eds written in English by the Persians stood in the middle, between the Americans and those written in Persian. However, when using terms that involve national interest, the latter group echo the Persian writers’ voice.

  • A’Beckett, L. 2008. “Political myths of the Ukrainian orange revolution in Russian public discourse”. Monash University Linguistic Papers 6(1). 3–18.

  • A’Beckett, L. 2009. “Appraisal in the Russian press: The characterization of the Ukrainian leaders”. Revista Electronica de Linguistica Applicada 22(1). 102–119.

  • Ansary, H. and E. Babaii. 2009. “A cross-cultural analysis of English newspaper editorials: A systemic-functional view of text for contrastive rhetoric research”. RELC Journal 40(2). 211–249.

  • Arrese, J.M. and B.N. Perucha. 2006. “Evaluation and engagement in journalistic commentaries and news reportage”. Revista Alicantina de Estudios Ingleses 19(1). 225– 248.

  • Audit Bureau of Circulation. 2010. <>

  • Badii, N. 2003. “Meyarhaye rooznemenegari-e matloob dar Iran” [Desirable criteria for newspapers in Iran]. <>

  • Caldwell, D. 2009. “Working your words: Appraisal in the AFL post-match interviews”. Australian Review of Applied Linguistics 32(2). 1–18.

  • Cotter, C. 2001. “Discourse and media”. In: Schiffrin, D., D. Tannen and H.E. Hamilton. (eds.), The handbook of discourse analysis. Oxford: Blackwell. 416–436.

  • Fairclough, N. 2010. Critical discourse analysis: The critical study of language. (2nd ed.) London: Routledge.

  • Hyland, K. 2001. “Bringing in the reader: Addressee features in academic articles”. Written Communication 18(4). 549–574.

  • Hyland, K. 2005. “Stance and engagement: A model of interaction in academic discourse”. Discourse Studies 7(2). 173–192.

  • Izadi, F. and H. Saghaye-Biria. 2007. “A discourse analysis of elite American newspaper editorials: The case of Iran’s nuclear program”. Journal of Communication Inquiry 31(2). 140–165.

  • Jahani C. 2000. “Expressions of indirectivity in spoken modern Persian”. In: Johanson, L. and B. Utas (eds.), Evidentials: Turkic, Iranian and neighbouring languages. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter. 185–207.

  • Lihua, L. 2009. “Discourse construction of social power: Interpersonal rhetoric in editorials of China Daily”. Discourse Studies 11(1). 59–78.

  • Martin, J.R. and P.R. White. 2005. The language of evaluation: Appraisal in English. London: Palgrave.

  • Oktar, L. 2001. “The ideological organization of representational processes in the presentation of us and them”. Discourse and Society 12(3). 313–346.

  • Richardson, J.E. 2007. Analyzing newspapers: An approach from critical discourse analysis. New York: Palgrave McMillan.

  • Shokouhi, H., C. Norwood and S. Soltani. 2015. “Evidential in Persian editorials”. Discourse Studies 17(4). 449–466.

  • Shokouhi, H. and R. Moazed. 2017. “Linguistic representation of ideological strategies in two Iranian newspapers written in English”. Australian Journal of Linguistics 37. 127–155.

  • Swain, E. 2007. “Getting engaged: Dialogistic positioning in novice academic discussion writing”. In: McCabe, A., M. O’Donnell and R. Whittaker (eds.), Advances in language and education. London: Continuum. 291–317.

  • van Dijk, T.A. 1992. “Analyzing racism through discourse analysis. Some methodological reflections”. In: Stanfield, J. (ed.), Race and ethnicity in research methods. Newbury Park, CA: Sage Publications Inc. 92–134.

  • van Dijk, T.A. 1995a. “The mass media today: Discourses of dominance or diversity?” Javnost/The Public (Ljubljana) 2(2). 27–45.

  • van Dijk, T.A. 1995b. “Ideological discourse analysis”. New Courant (English Dept, University of Helsinki) 4, 135–161.

  • van Dijk, T.A. 1996. “Opinions and ideologies in editorials”. Available online at <>.

  • van Dijk, T.A. 1998. “Opinions and ideologies in the press”. In: Bell, A. and P. Garrett (eds.), Approaches to media discourse. Oxford: Blackwell. 21–63.

  • White, P.R. 2003. “Beyond modality and hedging: A dialogic view of the language of intersubjective stance”. Text 23(2). 259–284.

  • White, P.R. 2006. “Evaluative semantics and ideological positioning in journalistic discourse: A new framework for analysis”. In: Lassen, I., J. Strunck and T. Vestergaard (eds.), Mediating ideology in text and image: Ten critical studies. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. 37–67.

  • White, P.R. 2009. “Media power and the rhetorical potential of the hard news report – attitudinal mechanisms in journalistic discourse”. Vasa 36(3). 30–49.

  • Windfuhr, G.L. 1982. “The verbal category of inference in Persian”. In: Morgenstierne, G. (ed.), Monumentum Georg Morgenstierne II (Acta Iranica, vol. 22). Leiden: Brill. 263–287.

Purchase article
Get instant unlimited access to the article.
Log in
Already have access? Please log in.

Journal + Issues

Poznan Studies in Contemporary Linguistics publishes high-quality articles representative of theory-based empirical research in contemporary synchronic linguistics and interdisciplinary studies of language from various perspectives. The journal serves as a forum for modern developments and trends in linguistics, with contributions from the world’s leading linguistic labs.