Configurative Rapport: The “Existential Fabric” of War

  • Annabelle Lukin
Part of the The M.A.K. Halliday Library Functional Linguistics Series book series (TMAKHLFLS)


In this chapter, the primary data set is a two week sample of news reports of the invasion of Iraq from the ABC TV nightly news bulletin (n texts = 123; n words = 43, 441). The corpus has a high frequency for the lexical item war (the normalised frequency is 7918 pmw, compared with 276 pmw in the BNC). This news corpus, despite being focused on the reporting of a specific war, maintains the separation of war from violence found in the BNC, with the lexical item violence being associated with anti-war protests rather than the lethal actions being taken by Coalition forces. A keyword analysis shows the ABC TV corpus favouring lexis construing geopolitical entities over the personal and embodied experience of the violence of war. Grammatical analysis of the colligational affordances of war, of the construal of the delegated perpetrators of the violence (troops, forces, soldiers, marines), and of key transitive processes of war (assault, strike, invade, attack, bomb and kill), is conducted. The analysis shows a consistency across diverse linguistic features and functions towards a neutralizing semantics in which war is insulated from its terrible and predictable human consequences.


Lexical Items Clause Rank Violent Juxtaposition Categorial Grammar York Times Corpus 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Annabelle Lukin
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of LinguisticsMacquarie UniversitySydneyAustralia

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