Volume 10, Issue 2
  • ISSN 2213-1272
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Linguistic analysis of the interpersonal patterning of threatening communication is a means of uncovering the attitudes, ideological orientation, and hostile intentions of perpetrators of violence in terrorist discourse (Gales 20102011). Corpus analysis focused on attitudinal meaning also offers a diagnostic for characterizing the personal and relational identities (Bednarek 2010) manifest in such texts. This paper explores discursive patterns of authorial identity in terrorist communication in a set of post-9/11 terrorist public statements made by former al-Qaeda leader, Osama bin Laden. It draws on the Appraisal framework (Martin and White 2005), a model of evaluative language developed within Systemic Functional Linguistics (SFL), to investigate the interpersonal component in this dataset. Specifically, patterns of provide evidence of relational and actional attitude, and personal and relational identities. Negative was found to characterize the encoded attitude in terms of (i) construing aggression and conflicting moral values (e.g., underpinning a perceived personal duty) and (ii) enacting the author’s aggressive and aloof identity, and violent actional attitude.


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Keyword(s): aggression; attitudinal meaning; conflict; identity; terrorist discourse
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