Linguistic Approaches to Ideology: Review of Work between 1979 and 2010

Gibreel Sadeq Alaghbary, Murad Alazzany, Ohood Al-Nakeeb


The closing year of the 1970s saw the publication of two seminal books (Fowler, Hodge, Kress, & Trew, 1979; Kress & Hodge, 1979/1993) heralding a new direction in the investigation of textual ideologies. This methodology, called Critical Linguistics (henceforth CL), was language-oriented and drew its analytical apparatus from Halliday’s Systemic Functional Grammar. Its aim was to “explore the value systems and sets of belief which reside in texts; to explore, in other words, ideology in language” (Simpson, 1993, p. 5 [original emphasis]). Ten years later, Fairclough (1989) took CL to a new plane where linguistic analysis became one of three levels of analysis, the other two focusing on interpreting language as a response to a particular social situation, and explaining this response in the constraining context of social and institutional structures. This approach was called Critical Discourse Analysis (henceforth CDA) and its linguistic component continued to be inspired by Halliday’s model. The twenty years that followed produced a plethora of theories of CDA, divergent in their theoretical underpinnings but bound by a concern with investigating the reproduction of ideology in language. In 2010, Jeffries brought the linguistic component back to the forefront with the introduction of Critical Stylistics (henceforth CS). CS draws extensively, but not exclusively, on the linguistic components of CL and CDA. The present paper offers a critical survey of the three-decade developments (1971 through 2010) in the application of linguistic constructs and theories to the investigation of textual ideologies.



Textual ideology, critical linguistics, critical discourse analysis, critical stylistics

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