What is it about?

Terrorist groups use language, in their discourse, like any other weapon deployed on the battlefield. This study explores the linguistic operations ISIS carries out to load texts targeting Arabic and Western followers. Given the availability of original Islamic sources in Arabic, ISIS persuades Muslim followers of radical thoughts through recommendations and advise. On the contrary, ISIS resorts to twisting transliteration and customizing definitions of Islamic concepts to radicalize Western Muslims.

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Why is it important?

This study manifested the efficiency of FrameNet in investigating Pratt's (2009) linguistic operations involved in war-making. Furthermore, corpus tools highlighted the chronological changes in the radicalization process and the changing centrality of far and near enemies, according to the studied discourse.


I was passionately interested in conducting this study because it explores the intersection of language and politics that are, now more than ever, affecting our everyday life. It was a great pleasure to co-author a specialist in translation whose expert eye could accurately detect and sufficiently interpret the contrastive use of rhetorical tactics.

Esra' Abdelzaher
Debreceni Egyetem

I guess this interdisciplinary work concertizes that linguistics and translation can prove instrumental in exploring hidden agendas and social phenomena. I hope that we can venture this effort into digitization and automation by introducing a user-friendly software application for the identification of persuasive tactics.

Bacem Essam

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This page is a summary of: Weaponizing words, Journal of Language and Politics, September 2019, John Benjamins, DOI: 10.1075/jlp.18048.abd.
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