The Metaphors on International Intervention: A Discourse Analysis of the Sri Lankan English Newspaper Editorials

Jeyaseelan Gnanaseelan


The metaphors used in the Sri Lankan English newspaper editorials during the peace talk time (2001-2007) commenting on the international intervention in the Sri Lankan ethnic conflict reveal community based ideological and attitudinal positions of the newspapers published in Sri Lanka. Metaphors literally contribute to our understanding of reality. The frames and scripts used for legitimization and de-legitimization of the issues related to international intervention and facilitation in the peace talk, peace process and monitoring the ceasefire bring out certain realities comfortable to certain people, groups or communities. The binary positions projected in the editorial discourse are identified. Discourse constitutes power in constructing ideational, textual and interpersonal constructs which are ideological. It can transmit and even legitimize power in society. During the peace talk time, the editorials are expected to develop constructive discourse on conflict intervention and resolution to make a positive impact on legislative changes but they display ‘ethno-nationalist’ tendencies. The study analyzes whether the media has been a part of the problem or a part of the solution. Since newspaper and editorial discourses are the constructions of journalists and editors of the elites, the biased ideologies are “hidden or subtle in expressions and often revealed in mild forms”. This study takes up selected editorials of the Sri Lankan English newspapers which appeared mainly during the Memorandum of Understanding between the Sri Lankan government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eezham during that period, to relate the discourse themes with rhetorical and metaphorical features.


Metaphorical discourse analysis, social construction, ethnic conflict, international relations and intervention

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