Reporting land conflict in Uganda: appraising via metaphors, anecdotes, and proverbs

TitleReporting land conflict in Uganda: appraising via metaphors, anecdotes, and proverbs
Publication TypeJournal
Year of Publication2015
AuthorsMugumya, L, Visser, M
News reporting studies have largely been confined to the Western cultures and languages, yet news reporting in other languages has proliferated throughout the world (Thomson et al. 2008; Thomson & White 2008). This article explores news reporting in Runyankore-Rukiga, an agglutinating Ugandan Bantu language, focusing on land conflict. Assuming the influential discourse-linguistic framework of Appraisal theory and genre theory (Thomson et al. 2008), the article investigates the linguistic expressions of evaluative language in Runyankore-Rukiga across government-oriented and private newspapers. It also examines the properties that constitute Runyankore-Rukiga hard news reports. Although the genre analysis reveals that the structure of Runyankore-Rukiga hard news reports resembles the satellite structure of the English hard news reports as proposed by White (1997), some differences are identified. Not only does the news report unfold in a chronological order, it exhibits a distinct discursive feature that is characterized by anecdotes, metaphors, grim humor, or proverbs in the lead paragraph. This type of introduction does not necessarily capture the gist of the entire report but rather seeks out the reader’s attention. The article further explicates the nature of lexicogrammatical properties of evaluative language that news writers invoke to express attitudes in the news events. The appraisal exploration also examines instances of graduation in which different figures of speech and non-core lexis are invoked to amplify attitudinal values. The article thus extends Appraisal theory analysis to one of only a few African languages examined within this framework, and contributes to the understanding of news reporting in these languages and cultures. 
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