Emotive language: Linguistic depictions of the three year-old drowned refugee boy in the Greek journalistic discourse

Nikoletta Tsitsanoudis-Mallidis, Eleni Derveni


The media and journalists play a central and powerful role in influencing both policy-making and societal opinion on migration and refugees. In recent years, there has been growing attention to media representations of refugees and migrants, with various studies examining news sources to identify dominant frames of refugee reporting. As hate speech and stereotypes targeting migrants and refugees proliferate across Europe, balanced and sensitive media reporting is needed more than ever. Integrating various theories within the field of Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA) this article distinctively attempts to analyze the linguistic presentation of the images of the drowned child refugee by the Greek media, whose body washed ashore in Turkey in 2015 and critically examines how emotive language is selected, systematized as well as framed in the form of both general beliefs and of ideological constructs. Based on a content analysis of twenty newspaper headlines and articles published online on September 2015 in Greece, this paper endeavours to show the relationship between emotion and language. The results of the study indicated that the media language prompted emotional responses during that period as well as a sympathetic and compassionate coverage.


Emotive language, Linguistic Depiction, Journalistic Discourse

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.6667/interface.6.2018.52


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