How do Saudi Females Contextualize Male Ancestors? A Corpus-based Investigation

Hisham Alkadi, Mohammad Almoaily


The current study attempts to explore the representation of male ancestors in Arabic texts written by Saudi female journalists. These texts appeared in Saudi daily newspapers as daily/weekly columns, which were subsequently put together in a one-million-word corpus. Sketch Engine was used to extract the contexts of eleven Arabic entries for male ancestors, that is, father(s) and grandfather(s), in different linguistic forms (e.g., definite, indefinite, singular, and plural). The total number of tokens for these targeted entries within the corpus was 361, and in each context of these tokens, we determined whether the context was positive, neutral, or negative. Additionally, the contexts were categorized into six groups: upbringing, family relations, guardianship, politics, daily issues, or other. The data show that both the categories of the context and the type of ancestor (father vs. grandfather) can be a determiner for the positive or negative representation of male ancestors within Arabic texts. Overall, there seems to be a negativity towards fathers and positivity towards grandfathers within the corpus. One implication of the study is that the contextualization process employed by female writers tends to be practice-specific instead of portraying a stereotypical picture of male ancestors. A second implication is that the discourse topic seems to be a determiner of the positivity and negativity towards male ancestors. Future research is needed to compare these outcomes with the representation of female ancestors within the same corpus.


Corpus, Newspapers, Gender, Females, Males, Saudi, Discourse Analysis

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