[Ling] Conducting a CDA

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[Ling] Conducting a CDA

Postby Richard » 25 Mar 2020 11:14

In the handout for CDA, I include the following text from the National Rifle Association in response to the latest mass shooting at a US school. What linguistic features are there in this text that could be meaningfully analysed from a critical perspective?

Politicians pass laws for gun free school zones, they issue press releases bragging about them. They post signs advertising them. And, in doing so, they tell every insane killer in America that schools are the safest place to inflict maximum mayhem with minimum risk.
How have our nation’s priorities gotten so far out of order. Think about it. We care about our money, so we protect our banks with armed guards. American airports, office buildings, power plants, court houses, even sports stadiums are all protected by armed security.
We care about our president, so we protect him with armed Secret Service agents. Members of Congress work in offices surrounded by Capitol Police officers. Yet, when it comes to our most beloved, innocent, and vulnerable members of the American family, our children, we as a society leave them every day utterly defenseless, and the monsters and the predators of the world know it, and exploit it.
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Re: [Ling] Conducting a CDA

Postby Jatopon P. » 11 Apr 2020 12:38

From reading the text, I rather feel that the writer seems to have quite opposing view against the laws for gun free school zones, and perhaps those politicians who approve the laws. In the first paragraph, the sentence ‘they tell every insane killer in America that .…’ sounds paradoxical and confusing to me when it is associated with the rest of the sentences in the same paragraph. However, I guess, this paradoxical sentence is intentionally written to express satire against the laws and the politicians. Some hyperbolic meanings in sentence also sensationalize readers to the serious effect of passing the laws.

Conducting opposing ideology against the politicians may be represented by the use of pronouns (Representation of social actors). Maybe, using ‘they / them’ to refer to the politicians implies that the political people who approve the laws do not belong to the writer’ s group, which opposes the law. The sense of belonging to the writer’ s group can be represented through the pronoun ‘we/us/our’ whose sense also allows general readers to be the part of the group.

Presupposition and assumption against the laws and the politicians may be triggered by the question word ‘How’ (have our nation’s priorities…’). This is presupposing that there used to be more recognition on the nation’s priorities as well as triggering the readers to assume that the nation’s priorities have been demeaned by the laws and the politicians. Then through the mood clause ‘Think about it’, the clause starts to draw attention from the readers (may also include the politicians) to what the writer is proposing, and supposes that the readers are listening to the propositions.

Obviously, maximizing moral senses in the writers’ proposition against the laws and the politicians can be observed through some lexical choices. For example, the pronoun ‘we’ is used in association with the verbs (with positive connotation) ‘care’ and ‘protect’.
Jatopon P.
 
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Re: [Ling] Conducting a CDA

Postby Richard » 18 Apr 2020 06:25

A couple of points to add to Jatupon's excellent analysis.
There is extensive use of engagement strategies trying to involve the audience in the text - 'Think about it', the use of 'we' etc.
The text has absolutely no hedging; everything is said with 100% certainty - there are no other possible interpretations allowed.
Lexical choice is very strong and definitive while also dividing actors into 2 clear groups: 1. insane killer, maximum mayhem, utterly defenseless, monsters, predators; 2. beloved, innocent, vulnerable.
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