Home / Regular Issue / JTAS Vol. 29 (3) Sep. 2021 / JSSH-8169-2021


Exploring Ideologies of Function Words in George Orwell’s Animal Farm

Ayman Farid Khafaga

Pertanika Journal of Tropical Agricultural Science, Volume 29, Issue 3, September 2021

DOI: https://doi.org/10.47836/pjssh.29.3.30

Keywords: Animal Farm, frequency analysis, manipulation, modality, persuasion, pronouns

Published on: 27 September 2021

The main objective of this paper is to explore the extent to which function words, such as pronouns and modals go beyond their semantic functionality towards particular ideological meanings. To this end, the paper attempts to present a computer-aided critical discourse analysis to decipher the ideological weight of both pronouns and modality as carriers of persuasion and/ or manipulation in the discourse of George Orwell’s Animal Farm. Analytically, the focus is on two types of pronouns: the first person singular I and the first person plural we. Also two types of modals are discussed in this article: the truth modal will and the obligation modals must and should. In doing so, this paper draws upon two analytical frameworks: critical discourse analysis (CDA) and the computer-aided text analysis manifested in a frequency distribution analysis via concordance. Two main findings are reported in this study: first, pronouns and modality in the discourse of the selected novel go beyond their grammatical functions towards further pragmatic functions constituting persuasion and/or manipulation; second, the frequency analysis shows that despite the high frequency of the pronouns and modals investigated in the discourse of the selected novel, only few occurrences are indicative in generating both a persuasive and/or manipulative discourse. This, in turn, accentuates the relevance of employing a computer-aided critical discourse analysis to decipher specific interpretative meanings of the linguistic units in corpus and text linguistics in general and literary texts in particular.

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