Butt, D., Lukin, A. & Matthiessen, C. Grammar-the first covert operation of war.
Discourse and Society, 15 (2), pgs. 267-290.
The intent of the article is to analyze post 9-11 political discourse by closely examining
Bush’s second state of the union speech and a pre-Iraq invasion speech to the troops by
Political Discourse had the effect of legitimizing hereto illegitimate acts-
1. Pre-emptive strikes (talk about as non-abhorrent acts)
2. Circumvention of UN
Effects of 9-11
9-11 (according to authors) affected System of different orders
“Explosion of discourses”- created in the wake of 9/11
Discourse created by 9/11 included
1. news reports, commentaries, political statements, media-analysis, formal and
informal conversations (water-cooler talks)
2. discourse became intertextual-discourses became part of system of meanings
What is the role of linguists?
Examination of political discourse using CDA-Looking at 2 different registers (related
Power of Language
1. Construe our experience of social world (Society as Social System)
2. Create higher order of complexity (Society as culture)
Directions: SFL allows for contextual and linguistic analysis. To better understand the
terminology introduced in this article, it may be beneficial to identify how the terms are
used in the Bush SOU speech.
A. Contextual Analysis
1. What are the contextual parameters of this text?
2. What are the agentive roles?
3. Who are the participants?
4. Identify the Three Functional Domains of Language as used here
Ideational, Interpersonal, and Textual
B. Linguistic Analysis
1. What is transivity? How is used (for what effect?)?
2. What is mood? Modality?
3. For what effect are variations in nominal groups employed?
C. Other terms for discussion-analysis
1. What are temporal, spatial, and concrete circumstances?
2. What is irrealis?
3. What are appraisals and motifs?
4. What is habituation?