Strength for Today and Bright Hope for Tomorrow

Volume 8 : 12 December 2008
ISSN 1930-2940

Managing Editor: M. S. Thirumalai, Ph.D.
Editors: B. Mallikarjun, Ph.D.
         Sam Mohanlal, Ph.D.
         B. A. Sharada, Ph.D.
         A. R. Fatihi, Ph.D.
         Lakhan Gusain, Ph.D.
         K. Karunakaran, Ph.D.
         Jennifer Marie Bayer, Ph.D.



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Tenor in Electronic Media Political Discourse in BBC News -
A Functional Analysis of English-Arabic Translation

Qays Amir Kadhim, (Ph.D.)


The study examines tenor in electronic media discourse in BBC News texts. Tenor is one of the register variables identified by Systemic linguistics. The study looks at how translators use their social role to relate with their audience in such media discourses as the Internet. The translator is usually the dominant writer so he determines how his imaginary audience will respond to his message. Being the sole translator, this increases his power to control the political discourse. He uses mainly direct and narrative texts to elicit responses from his imaginary reader. Whichever electronic media used, the personal tenor of the discourse is that of the translator as the knower/expert, while it has the pragmatic force of persuasion, exhortation and challenge for the reader.


This study focuses on a form of political discourse, which is channeled through the electronic media. It looks at one of the three variables of situational features (identified by Halliday (1978: 32) that determine registers - tenor (the two others being field and mode). The data for this study was drawn from BBC News by the Internet. All of the English original messages (ST) were rendered in Arabic. The major focus in the analysis is the role structure into which the participants in the discourse fit and how this determined how they made and interpret meaning in the political discourse.

This study presents a study of the Arabic translation of English news from the view of the functions of the news texts especially in terms of field, tenor and mode as conceptualized in Halliday and Hasan (1985). This study also considers the texts in terms of their communicative functions as viewed in Hatim (1997) and in terms of Fishman's (1972) sociolinguistic view that language is to a large extent a reflection of the society which uses it. It aims to answer the research question : "What is the extent of the sustenance of the messages in the Arabic translation in terms of field, tenor and mode as well as in terms of the communicative and societal functions as compared to the same terms in the original messages of the ST?

A comparative method will be adopted paying attention to the context of situations, namely field, tenor and mode, its communicative functions and how it fits the society which uses it. The differences and similarities of grammatical features, texture, structure and generic features representing the textual meaning of the text will be examined. Towards that end, we have chosen eleven examples of English BBC news and their corresponding Arabic translation. This study will analyze 4 types of data and their Arabic translations in terms of field, tenor and mode, since those article have taken from BBC News texts by the Internet

Functional Analysis Model

Halliday and Hasan's theory of functions (1985), relates to the stylistic, sociolinguistic and rhetorical aspects of language. They are more general and at the same time more restrictive in their theory of functions. They are more general in the sense that they suggest three functional categories of language: the ideational (i.e., experiential), the interpersonal and the textual. They are more restrictive in the sense that their explanation of the systematic realization of the context of situation is confined to three, namely, field, tenor and mode, through the three functional components of the semantic system mentioned above respectively.

In the ideational function, Halliday and Hasan's theory relies on and departs from the text to detect the real meaning. It must refer to our experience of the real world. For them, the interpersonal meaning to the language functions as a way of acting, a progression from the semantic meaning to the pragmatic one and to text as a communicative intercourse vehicle. As for the textual meaning of the text, they recourse to grammatical features, texture, structure and generic features of language.

In this study, we will focus our analysis of the messages of the Arabic translation of English news only on the three realization of the context of situation, namely field, tenor and mode. The term field refers to "…what is happening, to the nature of the social action that is taking place, while tenor has to do with who are taking part in the transaction as well as the nature of the participants, their status and roles, and mode concerns with "…what it is that the participants [of a transaction] are expecting language to do for them in that situation." Halliday and Hasan (1985:12).

This is only the beginning part of the article. PLEASE CLICK HERE TO READ THE ARTICLE IN PRINTER-FRIENDLY VERSION.

Evaluation of English-Manipuri Bilingual Dictionaries | Internet Projects of Language Learning - A Student-Centered Approach | Skype Voice Chat - A Tool for Teaching Oral Communication | Noun Classification System in Mizo | How Authority and Leadership Evolve - A Study of Leadership Functions and Authority in the New Testament Community | Trends and Spatial Patterns of Crime in India - A Case Study of a District in India | Problems of Visually Challenged With Special Reference to School Children in Coimbatore District, Tamilnadu | Tenor in Electronic Media Political Discourse in BBC News - A Functional Analysis of English-Arabic Translation | Materials Development in English as a Second language in India - A Survey of Issues and Some Developments at the National Level | An Eyewitness Account of the Third Indian National Congress in 1887 at Madras - Excerpts from Dr. Henry Lunn's Book A Friend of Missions in India | HOME PAGE of December 2008 Issue | HOME PAGE | CONTACT EDITOR

Qays Amir Kadhim (Ph.D)
Universiti Utara Malaysia
06010, Sintok, Kedah

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