Positive and Negative evaluative Language: A comparative study on British News Reports of the ISIS Conflict in Iraq and Syria using Appraisal Theory – Zeen Al-Rasheed

For an enlarged version, click on the poster or download the file:

Abstracts page

Bios page


1. As explained in the outcome, I have classified the targets either under good or bad group. Can you suggest any other names for the groups?

2. Under which groups can Kurds &  Peshmerga forces, also, Iraqi and Syrian governments be classified, based on the outcomes?


  • Kate Kavanagh

    Hi Zeen, thanks for your poster! Here are my thoughts for your questions:
    1. The patterns that you’ve used to identify your ‘Good’/’Bad’ groups make me think more of terms like ‘Victim’/’Bully’ or ‘Oppressed’/’Oppressor’ – they seem to be about power or lack of it, in addition to the intentions of ‘good’/bad’ that Propriety suggests.
    2. Maybe a scale could be helpful rather than a dichotomy?

  • Lucy Chrispin

    Hi Zeen, this is a very interesting topic. I like what Kate has suggested with oppressed/oppressor, or similarly persecutor/persecuted although this might not match the tone as well (?).
    Could you introduce a new category to show the cross-over and difficulty in binary categorisation? Or even show from a prototype theory perspective how Kurds & Peshmerga forces / Iraqi & Syrian governments might be on the ‘outskirts’ of either category?

  • Zeen Al-Rasheed

    Hi Kate, thank you very much for your thoughts! You are right as I have also read some of the articles using such terms. With regard to using scale, this can be a good way to solve the problem of classification with those targets. Thanks again!

  • Zeen Al-Rasheed

    Hi Lucy, thank you very much for your kind suggestions. I think this is a good idea suggesting to show the cross-over and difficulty in binary classification. As for your second thought about the prototype theory perspective; I will for sure take it into consideration and hope this could help me to categorise both Kurds & Peshmerga forces/ Iraq and Syrian governments.

  • Kate Barber

    Hi Zeen
    I like how you have managed to summarise a lot of information here whilst keeping it easy to navigate through your poster. Did you look at all the newspaper articles as one corpus or did you notice any interesting differences in the way each newspaper described these conflicts and identities?

  • Amanda Potts

    Hi Zeen! Thanks for the interesting poster. I think the struggle here is that the framework is positive/negative on the basis of language features whereas readers associate ‘good’/’bad’ with moral evaluations. I would try to stick with saying that certain SA are more frequently correlated with positive/negative rather than mixing up terms. You might try to construct discourse prosodies alongside these to show a range of methods. Good luck with the work!

  • Keighley Perkins

    Hi Zeen,

    Thanks for sharing your work. It’s incredibly interesting to read about your work! I’d be very interested to hear about your findings.

    I like Kate’s idea of using Oppressed/Oppressor to describe the two groups :)

  • Zeen Al-Rasheed

    Hi Kate,
    Thank you very much for taking time reading through the poster and I am glad that it was easy to follow with sufficient information. Regarding your question, as I have mentioned in the poster that the corpus is divided into two sets of news reports about the ISIS conflict: one set is related to Iraq and the other to that in Syria. What I have found is that comparing the news reports within the same set, the evaluation patterns show similarity to a great degree except for very few features. And when comparing the two sets, the outcomes demonstrate differences though slightly. For instance, the evaluative pattern of freedom related to the target Christians appears only in the Syrian press set. I hope I answered your questions; many thanks!

  • Zeen Al-Rasheed

    Hi Amanda, thank you very much for taking time to read through my poster and enlightening me via your suggestions as how to deal with the issue I have regarding the classifications. I will for sure take them into consideration. Many thanks!

  • Zeen Al-Rasheed

    Hi Keighley,
    First of all, I would like to welcome you for your very kind participation in our virtual CLCR conference 2020.
    And thank you very much for taking time to read through my poster; I am so pleased that you are interested that much in my topic, and I am more than happy to share my findings with you in the near future I hope. Thanks again for confirming about what Kate has thankfully suggested previously i.e., “using Oppressed/Oppressor to describe the two groups”. Many thanks :)

  • Chris Heffer

    Hi Zeen
    I’m probably too late here but, if not, I just wanted to say keep up the good work.
    Best Chris

  • Zeen Al-Rasheed

    Hi Dr Chris, Thank you very much! sure I will.
    I highly appreciate your kind opinion and support.
    Best wishes.

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