Attitudinal Meaning toward Extremism as Constructed by Social Media Users

Proceedings of The 4th International Academic Conference on Research in Social Sciences

Year: 2021


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Attitudinal Meaning toward Extremism as Constructed by Social Media Users

Sami Abdullah Hamdi



Language users normally start off with a topic and, consciously or unconsciously, express their evaluative- attitudinal meaning toward that topic. When the topic has an abstract term or is controversial, language users and learners may not be able to discern the implicit meaning. This study applies semantic/discourse prosody to identify implicit evaluative aspects using the topic of extremism as an example. A corpus of about 10,000 tweets was collected from Twitter using two Arabic keywords “تطرف” and “متطرف” corresponding to extremism and extremist. After processing the data, the Extended Lexical Unit (ELU) model was used as an analytical tool to identify discourse prosody. Instances of the corpus were analyzed to demonstrate the construction of the keywords and collocational relations. The results showed an overall unfavorable prosody toward extremism based on subjective evaluation of the events related to extremism such as associating them with a particular religion or social group. Language users seem more judgemental with opposing arguments and, accordingly, reveal more evaluative aspects. The application of discourse prosody to language learning was explicated in light of the results.

keywords: discourse prosody, semantic prosody; corpus linguistics; social media; extremism.