Item Details

“As hard as it gets”: A preliminary analysis of news reports of the internal conflict in the Colombian press

Issue: Vol 4 No. 1 (2008)

Journal: Linguistics and the Human Sciences

Subject Areas: Writing and Composition Linguistics

DOI: 10.1558/lhs.v4i1.5


The turn of the century marked an escalation of the violence of the Colombian conflict by both Marxist guerrillas and right wing paramilitaries. However, popular perception of each group contrasts sharply with the statistics on responsibility for criminal acts. Since the press is one of the main sources of information on the conflict for the general population, analyzing the way in which it reconstructs these events may provide some insights into this phenomenon.

Thus, as an initial step in this process, two pieces of news on violent acts perpetrated by each group reported in ‘El Tiempo’, the leading Colombian newspaper, in December 1998 are analysed. Within a Systemic Functional Linguistics framework, it will contrast who the participants are in each text and how they are nominated, what types of processes they carry out, and how explicitly causation is attributed. The analysis shows how despite having the same context, the experiential meanings realized in the lexicogrammatical selections of each text construe a remarkably different semiotic space.

Author: Alexandra Isabel Garcia

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