Murder in the Consulate: The Grammar of Transitivity in the Headlines of News Reports about Jamal Khashoggi

May Samir El-Falaky


The present study explicates the nature of the lexicogrammatical choices made in journalistic discourse about the death of the Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi. The case is internationally represented in the mostly circulated newspapers. The online versions of the four newspapers Arab News (Kingdom of Saudi Arabia), Hürreyat Daily News (Turkey), New York Times (United States of America) and Tehran Times (Iran) are selected for the study. Proceeding within the framework of the transitivity system, the paper intends to expound how the four newspapers express the stances and viewpoints about the case. The analysis positions the newspapers writing technique within an ideological bifurcation of the legitimized US and the delegitimized THEM. The use of the transitivity system as an approach for analysis of the headlines unveils how journalists’ attitudes steer readers toward the opinions preferred by the national policies of their countries.


Transitivity, Ideology, Headlines, Functional Grammar, Metafunctions, Social Practice, Discourse, News Reports

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